Christina McHale vs Monica Puig, Acapulco QF Preview

Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, 🇲🇽🍐 Acapulco QF Preview
(5) 🇺🇸 Christina McHale vs (4) 🇵🇷 Monica Puig

Christina McHale and Monica Puig will surprisingly go head-to-head for the very first time at the WTA tour level when they face off at the quarter-final stage of the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL in Acapulco on Friday. This promises to be an intriguing match-up between two very competent baseliners. Both McHale and Puig are starting to build some strong positive moment over the last couple of weeks, this is big match both ladies, both big title contenders this week in Acapulco if they can get through this match.

Continue reading "Christina McHale vs Monica Puig, Acapulco QF Preview"

Kristina Mladenovic vs Heather Watson, Acapulco R2 Preview

Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, 🇲🇽🍐 Acapulco R2 Preview
(2) Kristina Mladenovic vs Heather Watson

An interesting second round clash at the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL on Wednesday sees the second seeded Kristina Mladenovic come up against Heather Watson. Mladenovic is playing good tennis in recent weeks, most notably at the premier level event in St. Petersburg where the Frenchwoman claimed her first career title. Watson is not in such great form having only won 5 of her last 7 matches. Nevertheless, matches between Mladenovic and Watson are usually close and I suspect this one will be no different…

Continue reading "Kristina Mladenovic vs Heather Watson, Acapulco R2 Preview"

Eugenie Bouchard vs Ajla Tomljanovic, Acapulco R1 Preview

Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, 🇲🇽🍐 Acapulco R1 Preview
(6) 🇨🇦 Eugenie Bouchard to defeat 🇦🇺 Ajla Tomljanovic

Ajla Tomljanovic will make her long-awaited return to competitive action on Tuesday when she takes on the sixth seeded Eugenie Bouchard in the opening round in Acapulco. Tomljanovic has not played a competitive match in over a year due to a shoulder injury. It is likely to be a tough return for Tomljanovic, but winning or losing will not be her main concern here, just getting through the match without pain would be a win for the talented Australian. Whilst, it is essential that Bouchard claim a victory here.

Continue reading "Eugenie Bouchard vs Ajla Tomljanovic, Acapulco R1 Preview"

Mirjana Lucic-Baroni vs Belinda Bencic, Acapulco R1 Preview

Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, 🇲🇽🍐 Acapulco R1 Preview
(1) 🇭🇷 Mirjana Lucic-Baroni vs 🇨🇭 Belinda Bencic

Mirjana Lucic-Baroni will be in unfamiliar territory as she enters the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL as the top seed. Lucic-Baroni will be in action for the first time since her extraordinary run to the semi-finals at the Australian Open in January. The 34-year-old may be the top seed but she will be the underdog heading into her first round match where she faces Belinda Bencic, Bencic is on a 6 match losing streak at WTA tour events and will be desperate to reverse that trend in Acapulco.

Continue reading "Mirjana Lucic-Baroni vs Belinda Bencic, Acapulco R1 Preview"

The Future is now for Dominic Thiem, A new Threat to the big four’s Dominance

Over the last 3 weeks Dominic Thiem has proved that he is a legitimate threat to the top players on the ATP World Tour. The Austrian’s trip to South America saw him win 2 titles (on 2 different surfaces, on clay in Buenos Aires and on the hard courts of Acapulco) claiming notable victories over Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer and Grigor Dimitrov in the process. Thiem is now up to a career high ranking of world number 14 and is within touching distance of the top 10. The Austrian now looms as one of the biggest threats to the ‘big 4’ and will undoubtedly make an impact at the biggest events throughout the remainder of the year.

 

Dominic Thiem has shown all the characteristics of a future Grand Slam champion over the last 3 weeks in South America. The Austrian already has such a complete game, a damaging but consistent serve, a monster forehand, a beautiful (and effective) backhand as well as great movement. Dominic still has room for improvement, the Austrian can make some slight changes to make his game more effective on quicker surfaces, including improved volleys. It is clear that Dominic has the game to be win titles on every surface. More importantly, Thiem has shown that he has a superb mentality which will surely see him rise to the top of the men’s game in the not so distant future.

Dominic showed great resilience and reaffirmed his prowess on the dirt by claiming his fourth career title in Buenos Aires. The 22-year-old was forced to go the distance in 4 of his 5 matches in the Argentinian capital, claiming notable victories over Rafael Nadal and Nicolas Almagro, both in deciding set tiebreakers. Thiem’s 6-4 4-6 7-6 victory over Rafael Nadal at the semi-final stage of the event was a huge moment of the Austrian, proving that he has the game to beat the very best in the world. Thiem saved a match point at the later stage of that match with a thunderous forehand winner that clipped the line. Dominic backed-up his momentous victory over Nadal impressively well by winning a gruelling final over Nicolas Almagro 7-6 3-6 7-6. Dominic showed maturity beyond his years to defeat 2 vastly more accomplished opponents under enormous pressure in such close, physical matches to claim the title.

 

Dominic didn’t have much time to celebrate his Buenos Aries title, flying straight to Rio where he continued his impressive form before ultimately running out of gas. Thiem managed to navigate his way through to the semi-final stage in Rio despite the short turnaround from a gruelling week in Argentina. The week has highlighted by a stunning 6-3 6-2 demolition of David Ferrer at the quarter-final stage, one of the best performances of the Austrian’s career and one of the best individual performances by any player in season 2016.

Unfortunately, Dominic finally ran out of steam at the semi-final stage in Rio, suffering a disappointing straight set loss to Guido Pella. Dominic went down fighting and was very classy in defeat, giving due credit to his opponent and refusing to make excuses for his loss. The Australian would strongly the next in Acapulco.

 

After 2 great weeks on clay, Dominic showed that his game can be equally effective on a hard court by claiming the biggest title of his career at the ATP 500 event in Acapulco. Dominic was a little slow to adjust to the conditions in his first few matches of the event (which is very normal) but managed to overcame some tough early challenges including a second round clash with Dmitry Tursunov where Thiem saved break points to stop the Russian from serving for the match in the deciding set.

Dominic’s best performance of the week was a stunning 7-5 6-2 win over Grigor Dimitrov, dominating the Bulgarian in all areas. Dominic continued his form in the semi-finals where he thumped Sam Querrey 6-2 6-2 in a near perfect performance. These two matches were a big deal because Dominic totally outplayed two players who play their best tennis on a hard court.

 

Dominic secured the biggest title of his career and his first title of a hard court with a gutsy 7-6 4-6 6-3 win over Bernard Tomic. The 22-year-old was far from his best in the opening set (and for large periods of the match) but managed to grab a one set lead through guts and determination. Dominic struggled with Tomic’s unorthodox and lethargic play in the second set but was far too strong when it mattered most in the deciding set. It was a great week for Dominic, proving that he can deal with a whole number of different circumstances and come out on top.

The future looks extremely bright for Dominic; the sky is the limit. I look forward to seeing Dominic make a big impact in the coming months, particularly during the clay court season where he will be one of the toughest opponents to defeat.

I will be back for Indian Wells where I will be writing previews for ATP matches for the first time. I’m really looking forward to Indian Wells and the continued support of my ongoing readers, In the mean time I will be adding a couple of posts this week as the WTA tour heads to Kuala Lumpur and Monterrey for International events, I will be adding full match predictions for each event. Thank you 🙂 

Dominika Cibulkova vs Sloane Stephens, Acapulco Final Preview

Acapulco Final: Dominika Cibulkova vs (2) Sloane Stephens

A blockbuster final in Acapulco on Saturday evening sees former champion Dominika Cibulkova come up against American Sloane Stephens. Whilst the draw has fallen apart in Doha and left a bizarre final between Suarez Navarro and Ostapenko, the draw in Acapulco has held up well and we are left us with an extremely exciting final to look forward to between two very evenly matched players. The head-to-head series between Dominika and Sloane is split at 1 win apiece, it will be interesting to see who emerges victorious in Acapulco.

Dominika Cibulkova has maintained her unbeaten record in Acapulco this week, reaching her first final since Kuala Lumpur in 2014 by advancing to the final in Acapulco for a second time. The 2014 Acapulco champion started the week with a bang, thrashing Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-0 6-0 before receiving a walkover in the next round courtesy of Victoria Azarenka’s unfortunate withdrawal from the event. Cibulkova was forced to come from a set down in her quarter-final match with Johanna Larsson, ultimately the Slovakian emerged victorious by claiming a 3-6 6-3 6-3 win. Dominika’s most impressive performance of the week thus far came at the semi-final where she defeated Christina McHale 6-3 6-3. The Slovakian seems to be peaking at the right stage of the event and will be confident heading into Saturday's final.

 

Sloane Stephens has waltzed through the draw in Acapulco after a slow start to the event. The American was extremely close to a first round exit but rallied to record a 1-6 6-3 6-3 win over Louisa Chirico. Sloane has been relatively untroubled since her first round scare, picking up straight set victories over Olga Govortsova, Naomi Osaka and Yanina Wickmayer. Sloane secured her place in Sunday’s final with a dominant 6-2 6-0 victory over Yanina Wickmayer but will undoubtedly face a much tougher test when she comes up against a determined Cibulkova.

The pair have traded victories in their two previous encounters. Sloane defeated Dominika in straight sets in Brisbane back in 2013 whilst Cibulkova won their most recent clash 6-3 6-4 at the Rogers Cup last year. This is a very even match-up on paper between two ladies that have very similar strengths. Both are excellent movers whilst also being extremely powerful given their relatively small height. Experience is on Dominika’s side heading into this final and that may give her a slight edge. Dominika looks extremely determined this week and is always going to be very tough to beat in a big match when she is in such a mood. I suspect Dominika will be good enough to get the victory here in a really close match, her confidence to go for broke on big points will be critical.

Prediction: Dominika Cibulkova to defeat Sloane Stephens in 3 sets


//