The field is a mess, and the Williams sisters and anyone else who has to play twice tomorrow are threatened to slip up or go down with injury at the Family Circle Cup. In the case of Wozniacki and Jankovic, the fact that they play only one match tomorrow against underdog opponents Voegele and Bouchard bodes very well for those two former champions of this tournament. I predict Venus will not be able to overcome Lepchenko’s precise game of late and in fact, I think Varvara will win twice tomorrow.
Serena Williams d. Burdette
Safarova d. Cirstea
Serena Williams d. Safarova
Lepchenko d. Venus Williams
Mattek-Sands d. Keys
Lepchenko d. Mattek-Sands
Jankovic d. Bouchard
Wozniacki d. Voegele
Five Former Family Cup Champions to Cure the Upset Stomach in Round of 16
Mallory Burdette, Jessica Pegula and Eugenie Bouchard have enjoyed a fantastic ride in Charleston and delighted fans with their strong performances in upset wins this week.
But it really is time to restore some order at the Family Circle Cup.
This afternoon, Burdette will face prohibitive favorite Serena Williams on BJK Stadium Court while Jess Pegula gets Jelena Jankovic on Althea Gibson Court. Tonight, Genie Bouchard will be under the lights of BJK Stadium when she battles Sam Stosur. Upsets at the Family Circle Cup aren’t likely to rear their head today, but anything is possible. If even one of the underdogs advance, it would mark a career-high moment for them.
With 5 former Cup champions still in the mix–Wozniacki, Stosur, Serena Willams, Venus Williams, and Jankovic, this tournament doesn’t really offer much more room for upsets.
How’s your bracket? Mine was destroyed when Sloane Stephens and Carla Suarez-Navarro went down.
UPDATE: Andrea Petkovic
Second Seed, Caroline Wozniacki (WC), has received a Walkover due to Andrea Petkovic (WC) withdrawing due to a right calf injury.
Petkovic states, “I’m very happy that I came here – it is a very beautiful tournament and I loved every part of it here, so I hope to come back again under better conditions. I’m really sorry that I had to pull out but it was just too dangerous and I don’t want to risk anything.”
RESULTS – APRIL 03, 2013
Singles – Second Round
 [WC] C Wozniacki (DEN) d S Soler-Espinosa (ESP) 61 61
 S Stosur (AUS) d M Erakovic (NZL) 61 62
 L Safarova (CZE) d M Lucic-Baroni (CRO) 75 61
 J Goerges (GER) d O Govortsova (BLR) 62 06 63
[Q] M Burdette (USA) d  S Lisicki (GER) 36 76(5) 75
[Q] E Bouchard (CAN) d  L Robson (GBR) 64 36 61
M Keys (USA) d [Q] G Min (USA) 64 63
[WC] A Petkovic (GER) d [Q] V King (USA) 75 64
Doubles – First Round
 J Goerges (GER) / Y Shvedova (KAZ) d A Groenefeld (GER) / J Husarova (SVK) 36 76(6) 12-10
A Barty (AUS) / A Rodionova (AUS) d N Grandin (RSA) / V Uhlirova (CZE) 62 62
ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, APRIL 04, 2013
BILLIE JEAN KING start 11:00 am
[WC] A Petkovic (GER) vs  [WC] C Wozniacki (DEN)
Not Before 1:00 PM
 S Williams (USA) vs [Q] M Burdette (USA)
 V Lepchenko (USA) vs  V Williams (USA)
 S Cirstea (ROU) vs  L Safarova (CZE)
Not Before 7:00 PM
[Q] E Bouchard (CAN) vs  S Stosur (AUS)
 A Hlavackova (CZE) / L Huber (USA) or [Alt] M Erakovic (NZL) / J Pegula (USA) vs H Chan (TPE) / O Govortsova (BLR)
ALTHEA GIBSON start 11:00 am
[WC] B Mattek-Sands (USA) vs M Keys (USA)
S Voegele (SUI) vs  J Goerges (GER)
[Q] J Pegula (USA) vs  J Jankovic (SRB)
 J Goerges (GER) / Y Shvedova (KAZ) vs M Moulton-Levy (USA) / S Zhang (CHN)\
Sloane Stephens rocked. Kalamazoo winner Dennis Novikov got by Jerzy Janowicz. Querrey won as expected. Roddick, Venus and Serena won, but they took out Americans Rhyne Williams, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Coco Vandeweghe respectively in the process. Jesse Levine let a two-set-and-a-break lead slip away in five. Vania King and Irina Falconi were upset. Thank god for the doubles victories yesterday.
Christina McHale was the saddest story of the day for the US, though. Although her match was announced as a possible move to Arthur Ashe stadium and it was available, they made McHale wait seemingly forever on Grandstand. She was ready to play by noon but wasn’t able to get on Grandstand until evening. After her three-set loss, a USOpen.org contributor gave her a parting kidney punch with the headline, “No. 21 seed crashes in first round McFail”. That’s right! The USTA’s own tournament website insults one of their own marquee trainees!
So, American tennis had a middling day at best. Caroline Wozniacki’s was worse. She looked bothered from the outset of her match against Irina Camelia-Begu. Begu won her first Grand Slam match in nearly five years. After Wozniacki’s 2011 semifinal appearance at the Open, she’s poised to drop out of the top ten with a Bartoli victory. I suspect the Danish press will be less harsh on her than their New York counterparts are on McHale.
The New Haven Open brings together a small but powerful field and the last chance for some players to get momentum and seeding ahead of Flushing Meadows. The best part for the players here is that they can perform the final adjustments to their game only 80 miles from the George Washington Bridge. If you’ve never seen the Stadium at Yale, you’ve never seen Battlestar Galactica. The seating capacity equals that of Centre Court at Wimbledon and ties it as the fourth largest tennis stadium “IN THE WORLD!” The media center and the players lounge are nestled deep within the sterile, “Logan’s Run” landscape of the behemoth Stadium.
First Round Matches of Note
Marion Bartoli vs. Laura Robson
Bartoli has had an up and down summer, but will Laura Robson see a precious medal impact? Like Andrea Hlavackova, who also won Olympic Silver, there was a confidence bump in her singles game. There could be an upset brewing for the Brit.
Sloane Stephens vs. Tamira Paszek
Easily the most unpredictable match of the tournament, both are poised to strike at the US Open. Paszek’s poise and experience may make the difference here, but Stephens will continue to own american crowds.
Lucie Safarova vs. Varvara Lepchenko
This is another that match could give us a sense of the culmination of the summer effort of both of these players, who are seemingly poised for respectable runs in NYC. Safarova should pull through this one with some difficulty.
Nothing to see here. While Peer/Kirilenko and Andrea Petkovic’s comeback beginning against a qualifier are interesting matches, there are no great first rounders in this half. Radwanska has a bye and only needs to beat a qualifier to enter the quarterfinals. After that, she would see either Shahar Peer, Maria Kirilienko, Daniela Hantuchova or Mona Barthel.
Wozniacki starts her fourth consecutive New Haven title defense against Ekaterina Makarova. She could be looking at Petkovic or Cibulkova in the quarters.
This is the action side of the draw. All three first round matches highlighted above are in this group. Petra Kvitova, fresh off of her Cincinnati drubbing at the hands of Anglelique Kerber, has earned a bye here in New Haven. Like Aga, all she needs to do is beat one qualifier to head to the quarters. Her possible opponents there are Zheng, Safarova, Lepchenko and Pironkova. Pironkova looked sluggish in practice yesterday, so I think it is down to Zheng to give Petra her biggest hurdle.
Dark Horse: Tamira Paszek
Anyone outside the top eight seeds can lay claim to the mantle of Dark Horse this close to a Grand Slam. Why not Tamira? She’s once again demonstrated her ability to win this summer. She has two tough matches ahead. If she can conquer Sloane Stephens today, she’ll see the winner of Bartoli and Robson on Tuesday.
Radwanska d. Kirilienko
Wozniacki d. Cibulkova
Kvitova d. Safarova
Paszek d. Errani
Wozniacki d. Radwanska
Paszek d. Kvitova
Wozniacki d. Paszek
Wozniacki has been fiercely hitting with Daniela Hantuchova over the weekend. As a defending four-time champion of this event, and with her champion boyfriend Rory McIlroy in town, she wants to show him how she gets it done in New Haven. Unlike the majors, this is Caro’s tournament to lose. The fans appreciate the longevity of her run here and have adopted her as a New Havenian.
There’s a little more wildcard drama than usual at this year’s Family Circle Cup, since it’s been rumored that Maria Sharapova and/or defending champion Caroline Wozniacki might very well take that last spot if they get the call.
Matt Sodo from ESPN explained the confusion a couple of weeks ago in his perfectly titled article ‘Star Security Backfiring on WTA?’.
The long and short of it is that Wozniacki may or may not be eligible, according to Sodo. But it’s very probable that she is hungrier for rankings points now than she has been in over a year. Sharapova, too, could use every point she can earn in the event of a sputter by Azarenka this year. Bartoli just gave her hope as the future President de la Republique handed Azarenka her first loss of the year tonight.
According to FamilyCircleCup.com, 45 players are pictured in their Qualifying Player Field Gallery, meaning that there could be up to three more entrants. Their Main Draw Gallery shows 55 players or spots (with 1 Wild Card and the 12 Qualifiers place-held), leaving possibly one extra wild card.
We reached out to the Family Circle Cup, but haven’t heard a word from them as of this posting.
Tennis East Coast is on the story and will drop our mustard-sauced barbeque sandwich, a South Carolina delicacy, as soon as news breaks. Let me remind you that my family soup contains West Virginia, Western North Carolina, Tennessee and Louisiana ingredients. So this ancestral Southerner awaits with great anticipation both the wild card announcements and a chance to see the Best Tennis Town in the USA up close and personal during the region’s biggest tennis event of the year.