Australian Open 🇦🇺 R1 Preview
(5) 🇺🇸 Venus Williams vs 🇨🇭 Belinda Bencic
The pick of the opening round matches at the 2018 Australian Open sees Venus William come up against Belinda Bencic. The 2017 runner-up has certainly been dealt the toughest opening round match-up, Belinda Bencic is the most dangerous unseeded floater in the draw. Bencic is in outstanding form heading into the opening Grand Slam of the year. This looms as an intriguing battle between experience and youth. Venus has won the 4 previous matches between the pair but will have her work cut out to maintain her unbeaten record over the Swiss rising-star.
Venus Williams enjoyed a marvellous 2017 season, unfortunately the 37-year-old just missed out on achieving her ultimate goal of winning another Grand Slam title. A passion to win another Grand Slam will be the drive for Venus in 2018. Venus played just one event in the lead up to the first Grand Slam of the year where she was beaten in her opening match by eventual champion Angelique Kerber 7-5 6-3 6-1 at the Sydney International. Venus showed glimpses of her 2017 form throughout the match but was understandably rusty and her level fell away towards the end of the match. Venus will be better off for the hit and usually does not played many matches before a Grand Slam event.
Belinda Bencic had a hybrid off-season. Bencic’s 2017 season ended late, Bencic won back-to-back WTA 125K titles in Hua Hin and Taipei before winning the 100K ITF title in Dubai. A few weeks later Bencic competed at the Hopman Cup where she helped guide Switzerland to the title alongside Roger Federer. Bencic won 3 of her 4 singles matches, her only defeat came in the final against Kerber. Bencic also competed in Kooyong just last week where she won the women’s championship, coming from a set down to beat Andrea Petkovic in the final. I think Bencic’s scheduling heading into Melbourne has been perfect.
Venus Williams has won all 4 of their previous matches between the pair, all in straight sets. Most recently Venus beat Bencic 6-3 6-4 at the U.S Open in 2015. Can an in-form Bencic claim her first win over Venus Williams or will the evergreen American be too strong?