Petra Kvitova vs Julia Goerges, Fed Cup SF Preview

Fed Cup: Semi-Final – Rubber 1 preview
🇨🇿 Czech Republic vs. 🇩🇪 Germany
🇨🇿 Petra Kvitova vs. 🇩🇪 Julia Goerges

Julia Goerges will be tasked with starting Germany’s ominous task of confronting the Czech Republic in Stuttgart in the 2018 Fed Cup semi-finals. Goerges will come up against Petra Kvitova, the Czech has been one of the most successful players in the Fed Cup in recent times having won the event on 5 of the last 7 occasions, Kvitova has been the star on most occasions. Also in Kvitova’s favour is her strong record over Goerges having won the last 3 completed matches between the pair.

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Petra’s form has stalled over the last month after a hot run of form that saw her win back-to-back titles in St. Petersburg and Doha. Kvitova suffered reasonably early defeats in Indian Wells and Miami and her most recent result was a very disappointing opening round loss in Charleston to Kristyna Pliskova. Nevertheless, Kvitova will head into this tie with confidence, Kvitova has an impressive 28-10 win/loss Fed Cup record in singles and has been part of the successful Czech team that has won 5 of the last 7 Fed Cup titles.

The form of Julia Goerges also cooled off over the Indian Wells / Miami double. Some injury setbacks contributed to early round defeat in both Indian Wells and Miami for Goerges but she was able to regain some momentum more recently as she reached the final in Charleston where she was comprehensively beaten by Kiki Bertens. Goerges does not have a very impressive record in Fed Cup singles matches having amassed a 6/7 win/loss record over the years.

Kvitova holds a 4-1 head-to-head record over Goerges. The pair have met on 2 occasions in 2018: a 7-5 4-6 6-2 win for Kvitova in St. Petersburg and a 6-4 2-1 win on Doha where Goerges retired injured. Kvitova went on to win the title on both occasions.

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Elena Vesnina vs Madison Brengle, Charleston R1 Preview

Volvo Car Open, Charleston R1 Preview
(14) Elena Vesnina vs. Madison Brengle

2016 Charleston runner-up Elena Vesnina will begin her 2018 Volvo Car Open campaign on Tuesday with an opening round clash against America’s Madison Brengle. It was in Charleston in 2016 that the Russian’s career resurgence took place as she came through the qualifying draw to reach the final, certainly one of the most important weeks of tennis in the career of Vesnina.

Vesnina has not had the greatest results in 2018, the Russian has amassed a modest 5-7 win-loss record in 2018 and has seen her ranking slip outside the top 40 for the first time in a while. It was in Indian Wells a few weeks ago where Vesnina lost a large chunk of points as she was eliminated in the third round in her title defense at the BNP Paribas Open. Most recently Vesnina suffered a disappointing opening round exit in Miami where she was beaten by Donna Vekic in 3 sets. Vesnina will be hoping she can ignite her season in Charleston, a special venue for the Russian.

Madison Brengle’s recent results have been typically unspectacular. Brengle suffered opening round defeats in Indian Wells and Miami last month and is still yet to win a main draw match at a WTA tour level event in 2018. Clay is typically Brengle’s least preferred surface so her fortunes are unlikely to change over the next few months.

Vesnina has won both of the previous matches between the pair, both in straight sets, both in 2016. A 6-2 6-3 win at Roland Garros and 7-6 6-4 on grass in Eastbourne.

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Camila Giorgi vs Silvia Soler-Espinosa, Charleston R1 Preview

Volvo Car Open, Charleston R1 Preview
Camila Giorgi vs. (Q) Soler Silvia-Espinosa

Camila Giorgi and Soler Silvia-Espinosa will go head-to-head in an opening round matchup in Charleston that will feature a huge contrast in styles. The ultra-aggressive, powerful game of Giorgi up against the typical clay court grinding game of Silvia-Espinosa. Interestingly, it was the Spaniard who claimed an upset win in their only previous match. Can Giorgi find some form and avoid another upset loss against he Spaniard?

Camila Giorgi started her season in such spectacular fashion in Sydney where she came through the qualifying draw and claimed some big victories over quality opposition such as Stephens, Kvitova and Radwanska. However, it has been downhill since then for Giorgi who has not won a main draw match since her first round win at the Australian Open over 2 months ago.

Silvia-Espinosa booked her spot in the main draw in Charleston thanks to wins over Melichar and Chang in the qualifying draw. The veteran Spaniard will be making her first main draw appearance at a WTA tour level event since Gstaad almost a year ago. The 30-year-old has played the majority of her tennis at the ITF level and is currently sitting just outside the top 200 in the rankings.

Silvia-Espinosa has reason to be confident heading into this match. The Spaniard won the only previous match between the pair, a 3-6 6-4 7-5 win on clay in Strasbourg in 2014. Giorgi is certainly the better player can lose to almost anyone on an off day.

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Sara Errani vs Eugenie Bouchard, Charleston R1 Preview

Volvo Car Open, Charleston R1 Preview
(wc) Sara Errani vs. Eugenie Bouchard

An interesting opening round clash from the Volvo Car Open in Charleston sees two former top 5 players collide when Sara Errani takes on Eugenie Bouchard. Errani and Bouchard have both seen their rankings plummet over the last couple of seasons, different circumstances have contributed to the demise of the pair. This match-up features an interesting contrast in styles and personalities which will make for entertaining match on the green clay.

Sara Errani has had limited opportunity over the last few months because of her lowly ranking. Nevertheless, there were positives signs for Errani as she successfully qualified for the main draw in Dubai and at the Indian Wells 125K event, in Dubai Errani made in to the second round whilst In Indian Wells she went on to win the title which saw her re-enter the top 100. Moving into the clay court season, this is where Errani is at her most dangerous, the Italian has entered a heap of tournaments over the next few months, an important time for the Italian to push back up the rankings.

Eugenie Bouchard continues to disappoint. The 24-year-old had another poor set of result in Indian Wells and Miami. Bouchard suffered an opening round exit in Indian Wells at the hands of Sachia Vickery whilst in Miami she failed to even qualify for the main draw as she was beaten by Rebecca Peterson in the second round of the qualifying draw. It is becoming more and more likely that we have already seen the best of Bouchard.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. In 2013 on clay in Acapulco it was Errani claimed a 7-6 6-2 win, whilst most recently it was Bouchard who defeated Errani 6-3 6-3 on a hard court in Indian Wells.

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Aleksandra Krunic vs Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Charleston R1 Preview

Volvo Car Open, Charleston R1 Preview
Aleksandra Krunic vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Bethanie Mattek-Sands continues her comeback in Charleston this week, the American will begin her Volvo Car Open campaign against Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunic on Monday. Krunic is in poor form having lost 6 of her last 7 matches whilst Mattek-Sands is playing in just her second tournaments since her last victory at Wimbledon last year. Both players will see this is a winnable match.

The last couple of months have been really disappointing for Krunic. The Serbian showed some promising signs at the start of 2018 on the back of a strong finish to the 2017 season. However, Krunic suffered back-to-back opening round defeats in Indian Wells and Miami, beaten by Begu and Sakkari. Unfortunately Krunic continues to be one of the biggest underachievers on tour.

Mattek-Sands made her much anticipated return to the WTA tour last week in Miami. The American’s Miami campaign did not last long as she was beaten by Alize Cornet in straight sets in the opening round. Mattek-Sands infamously suffered a horrible injury at Wimbledon last year but has recovered well, it will be interesting to see what type of level that Mattek-Sands can bring in her comeback.

This will bet the first career meeting between Krunic and Mattek-Sands. A match-up that will feature a good contrast in styles.

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Jelena Ostapenko vs Sloane Stephens, Miami Final Preview

Miami Open, 🇺🇸🌞🐬🌴 Final 🏆 Preview
🇱🇻 (5) Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇺🇸 (13) Sloane Stephens

A blockbuster final at the Miami Open sees a pair of reigning Grand Slam champions collide when Jelena Ostapenko comes up against Sloane Stephens. Ostapenko and Stephens have followed similar paths of late, both struggled early in the year but both have come good in Miami in a big way. Interestingly this will be the first career meeting between Ostapenko and Stephens, it will be fascinating to see how this match-up pans out especially given how well both generally play on the big stage.

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Ostapenko arrived in Miami with a losing record to her name in 2018. The Latvian has really ignited her season in Miami, rocketing her way through to the final without dropping a set. Ostapenko started the event with a couple of hard fought victories over Timea Babos and Beatriz Haddad Maia. The reigning Roland Garros champion made her big move with back-to-back wins over top 10 opponents as she beat Petra Kvitova 7-6 6-3 and Elina Svitolina 7-6 7-6. Ostapenko confirmed her spot in a fourth career final with a hard-fought 7-6 6-3 win over Danielle Collins.

Ostapenko’s ability to raise her level under pressure has been the most impressive part of her run to the final. The 20-year-old has a perfect 5-0 record in tiebreaks in Miami, her brave tennis under pressure has been rewarded just as it was at Roland Garros last year.




Sloane Stephens has been equally impressive on route to the final. In the early rounds Stephens claimed a comfortable straight set win over Ajla Tomljanovic and a hard-fought 3 set over Monica Niculescu. Like Ostapenko, Stephens then claimed back-to-back straight set wins over top 10 opponents, beating Garbine Muguruza 6-3 6-4 and Angelique Kerber 6-1 6-2. Stephens confirmed her spot in Saturday’s Miami Open final with a 3-6 6-2 6-1 win over Victoria Azarenka, Stephens came from a set and a break down, winning 12 of the last 13 games to storm into her first final since the U.S Open last year.

This promises to be an extremely entertaining final, Ostapenko and Stephens have proven to be big game players in the last 12 months, both have played their best tennis of the biggest stages. Who will step up and claim the 2018 Miami Open title?

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Jelena Ostapenko vs Danielle Collins, Miami SF Preview

Miami Open, 🇺🇸🌞🐬🌴 SF Preview
🇱🇻 (5) Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇺🇸 (Q) Danielle Collins

Thursday’s second semi-final from the Miami Open will feature an unexpected match-up as reigning Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko comes up against local qualifier Danielle Collins. Ostapenko has powered through the draw, defeating 2 top 10 opponents in row to reach the final 4 in Miami. Collins has also been impressive, collecting 7 victories on route to the semi-finals having come through the qualifying draw. Ostapenko had never previously won a match in Miami before this event whilst Collins is the first qualifier to ever reach the semi-final stage in Miami, two unlikely semi-finalists.

It has been a frustrating start to the year for Ostapenko but everything is falling into place for the world number 5 in Miami. Ostapenko arrived in Miami with a modest 4-7 win/loss record to her name in 2018 and had not even beaten a top 50 opponent. In Miami the Latvian has beaten 3 top 50 opponents, including 2 top 10 opponents. Ostapenko received a bye through the opening round before beating Timea Babos 6-4 6-4 and Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-2 7-6. Ostapenko has really raised her level in her last couple of wins, a 7-6 6-3 win over Petra Kvitova and 7-6 7-6 over Elina Svitolina. The 20-year-old’s victories over Kvitova and Svitolina were both in difficult windy conditions, Ostapenko showed good mental fortitude to come out on top in all the critical moments in both of those matches.

The rise of Danielle Collins has been gobsmacking. Collins started the month having never won a main draw match of a WTA tour level event. Collins went on to reach the round of 16 in Indian Wells and is now into the semi-finals in Miami, meaning Collins is on the verge of reaching the top 50 in the rankings.

It has been a long journey to the semi-final stage for Collins. It started with straight set wins over Tereza Smitkova and Jana Cepelova in the qualifying draw and a comfortable opening round win over Irina-Camelia Begu. Collins battled through the middle stages of the event with 3 set wins over CoCo Vandeweghe, Donna Vekic and Monica Puig. Collins produced her most impressive performance of the event and indeed her entire career at the quarter-final stage as she easily disposed of Venus Williams, a 6-2 6-3 victory in her first match on the Stadium court. Collins could do nothing wrong, everything she tried worked on the night.

Thursday night’s semi-final will be the first tour level meeting between Ostapenko and Collins. Can Collins keep her dream run alive or will Ostapenko be too strong?

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Sloane Stephens vs Victoria Azarenka, Miami SF Preview

Miami Open, 🇺🇸🌞🐬🌴 SF Preview
🇺🇸 (13) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇧🇾 (wc) Victoria Azarenka

A blockbuster semi-final clash at the Miami Open sees reigning U.S open champion Sloane Stephens take on 3-time former Miami Open champion Victoria Azarenka. Stephens and Azarenka have both played scintillating tennis in their last couple of matches on route to the final 4 stage, both enter this match desperate to reach a big final for the first time in a while. This promises to be a thrilling match, who will prevail?

This has been an important event for both Stephens and Azarenka. Sloane Stephens is into her first semi-final since winning the U.S Open last year whilst Azarenka will be competing in her first semi-final since her title run in Miami back in 2016.

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Sloane Stephens has cruised past two quality opponents in a row to reach the semi-final stage in Miami. Stephens claimed straight set victories over Garbine Muguruza (6-3 6-4) and Angelique Kerber (6-1 6-2), back-to-back wins over top 10 opponents to ensure that Stephens herself will reach the top 10 for the first time when the latest rankings come out next week. Earlier in the event Stephens thrashed Ajla Tomljanovic in straight sets and came from a set down to defeat Monica Niculescu. This is clearly the best tennis Sloane has played since her heroics at the U.S Open last year.

Amazingly Stephens has a 22-5 win-loss record in North American over the past year whilst in any other country she has a 0-9 win-loss record. Clearly the reigning U.S Open champion saves her best tennis for her home continent…

Victoria Azarenka is on an 11-match winning streak in Miami. Alongside the Australian Open it would be fair to say that the Miami Open is the most successful tournament for the 3-time former champion. Like Stephens, Azarenka has ripped through two quality opponents in a row to reach the semi-finals. A 6-2 6-2 win over Agnieszka Radwanska and a 7-5 6-3 win over Karolina Pliskova. Azarenka’s return of serve has been particularly damaging, the Belarussian has consistently been at the top of the return points won standings this tournament.

Azarenka holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Stephen. It was Azarenka who won the first three matches between the pair, all in straight sets at the Australian Open between 2013 and 2015. However, most recently it was Stephens who prevailed 6-1 7-5 just a few weeks ago in Indian Wells. There is certainly an underlying tension between these two, they do not particularly like each other and will both be desperate to win Thursday’s clash in Miami. Expect fireworks.

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Venus Williams vs Danielle Collins, Miami QF Preview

Miami Open, 🇺🇸🌞🐬🌴 QF Preview
🇺🇸 (8) Venus Williams vs. 🇺🇸 (Q) Danielle Collins

The two Americans left in the draw at the Miami Open will go head-to-head in the quarter-finals on Wednesday as 8th seeded Venus Williams takes on Danielle Collins. Williams and Collins have both defied the odds to reach this stage of the tournament. The evergreen Venus Williams continues to prove her critics wrong, defying her age to remain at the top of the game. Conversely, Collins is having unprecedented success, just a few months ago she had never even won a WTA main draw match now she is in the quarter-finals of premier mandator event.

It has been a great month for Venus Williams after a slow start to 2018 in Australia. Venus started the BNP Paribas Open without a tour level win to her name in 2018, Venus went on to reach the semi-finals in Indian Wells and is now into the quarter-finals in Miami. Venus has won 3 tough matches in Miami, starting with a hard-fought 7-5 6-4 win over Natalia Vikhlyantseva, a match where Venus overcame several deficits in each set. In the third round Venus claimed a dramatic 5-7 6-3 7-5 win over Kiki Bertens in a match that lasted close to 3 hours. Amazingly, Venus was able to step on court less than 24 hours after her gruelling win over Bertens and come from a set down to defeat defending champion Johanna Konta 5-7 6-1 6-2.

Danielle Collins has already won 6 matches in Miami, the final qualifier remaining in the draw. Collins has had an amazing couple of months. It all started in February when Collins won the 125K event at Newport Beach. The 24-year-old then reached the quarter-finals at the Indian Wells 125K event and the round of 16 at the BNP Paribas Open where she won her first main draw match at the WTA tour level. In Miami Collins is into her first career quarter-final at the tour level thanks to wins over Irina-Camelia Begu, CoCo Vandeweghe, Donna Vekic and Monica Puig. It must be noted that every single one of Danielle’s opponents in the main draw in Miami took a medical timeout during the match.

This will be the first career meeting between Venus and Collins, a battle between one of the WTA’s greatest and an unheralded opponent who only recently decided to turn pro.

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Elina Svitolina vs Jelena Ostapenko, Miami QF Preview

Miami Open, 🇺🇸🌞🐬🌴 QF Preview
🇺🇦 (4) Elina Svitolina vs. 🇱🇻 (5) Jelena Ostapenko

The two youngest players in the top 10 will collide at the quarter-final stage of the Miami Open on Wednesday as the 4th seeded Elina Svitolina takes on the 5th seeded Jelena Ostapenko. This looms as an extremely exciting clash between two fierce competitors, a matchup that features a great contrast in styles. The ultra-aggressive, powerful game of Ostapenko up against the outstanding movement and all court game of Svitolina.

Elina Svitolina has been typically consistent in 2018. The Ukrainian has already won 2 titles and reached the quarter-finals at the Australian Open. Svitolina arrived in Miami on the back of a disappointing early exit in Indian Wells and with a point to prove given her relative failures at the biggest events of late. Svitolina started her Miami campaign with a big straight set win over the red-hot Naomi Osaka before recovering from a set down to defeat Daria Gavrilova. Svitolina secured her spot in the quarter-finals with a solid 7-5 6-4 win over Ashleigh Barty. Critically it was Svitolina who was able to win the last 5 games of the first set to grab control of the match and confirm her spot in the quarter-finals in Miami for the first time.

Jelena Ostapenko is displaying the best tennis we have seen from her in 2018 over the last week in Miami. Ostapenko has won 3 consecutive matches at an event for the first time in 2018. The Latvian is yet to drop a set in Miami, claiming solid victories over Timea Babos, Beatriz Haddad Maia and Petra Kvitova. Ostapenko’s 7-6 6-3 win over Petra Kvitova was easily the world number 5’s best win of the year, her first victory over a top 10 opponent in 2018, actually it was also her first win over a top 40 player this year. Ostapenko’s serve has been noticeably improved in Miami compared to the rest of the year.

The only previous match between the pair at the tour level took place at Wimbledon last year where Ostapenko claimed a 6-3 7-6 victory. Ostapenko was too strong for Svitolina on grass but on a hard court in Miami things are very different, can Svitolina reverse that result?

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