Ashleigh Barty vs Lyudmyla Kichenok, Fed Cup Preview

Fed Cup WG 2: Australia vs Ukraine, Rubber 1
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Ashleigh Barty vs ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Lyudmyla Kichenok

Ashleigh Barty and Lyudmyla Kichenok will go head-to-head in the opening rubber of the world group 2 tie between Australia and Ukraine on Saturday. The tie will be held on a purpose built grass court in Canberra. On paper this is a gigantic mismatch, world number 16 up against world number 883. Barty will be keen to make a statement in the opening rubber to set the tone for tie in Canberra. Interestingly, this will be the first tennis at the highest level played on grass in 2018.

Ash Barty spearheads Australiaโ€™s quest to return to World Group 1. Barty had a good Australian summer, reaching the final at the Sydney International and the third round at the Australian Open. Barty and the rest of the Australian team have been practising on the purpose built grass court in Canberra for about a week. Barty is extremely comfortable on a grass court, Barty won the junior title at Wimbledon and last year reached the final on grass in Birmingham.

Lyudmyla Kichenok has not played a competitive singles match in over 5 months. Instead, the 25-year-old has been focused on her doubles career where she has a decent ranking of 45 in the world. Kichenokโ€™s doubles results during the Aussie summer were poor. Kichenok has a small amount of fed Cup experience having played in 5 ties. The last time Kichenok played a Fed Cup singles rubber was back in 2014.

The only previous match between the pair took place at Wimbledon in 2014, Barty won 6-3 7-5 in the final round of the qualifying draw.

Ashleigh Barty vs Camila Giorgi, Australian Open R2 Preview

Australian Open ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ R2 Preview
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ (18) Ashleigh Barty vs ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Camila Giorgi

Ash Barty got through a difficult opening round test at Melbourne Park, coming past Aryna Sabalenka in 3 sets. Barty will face another potentially difficult assignment on Thursday where she will take on Italyโ€™s Camila Giorgi. Barty brought good form into the first Grand Slam of the year having reached the final of the Sydney International last week. Barty is growing in confidence and will look to equal her best run in Melbourne with a win over Giorgi.

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Ash Barty came through an extremely tough opening round match with Aryna Sabalenka on Tuesday night. The Aussie was ambushed in the opening set by red-hot Sabalenka. Barty kept her composure and eventually out-lasted Sabalenka, claiming a 6-7 6-4 6-4 victory. Barty successfully mixed up the play from the baseline with blocked returns, slice and higher balls to draw errors from the racquet of Sabalenka. Barty will face a similar test against Giorgi, another ultra-aggressive player.

Camila Giorgi also brought good form into Melbourne having reached the semi-final stage in Sydney last week. Giorgi won 6 matches in a row in Sydney after coming through the qualifying draw to reach the final 4. At her best, Giorgi is a very dangerous opponent. The Italian showed that last week with straight set wins over Sloane Stephens, Petra Kvitova and Agnieszka Radwanska. Giorgi started her Australian Open campaign with a 6-4 6-3 win over Anna Kalinskaya.

The only completed match between the pair ended in a 6-3 6-0 win for Barty on clay in Strasbourg last year.

Ashleigh Barty vs Aryna Sabalenka, Australian Open R1 Preview

Australian Open ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ R1 Preview
(18) ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Ashleigh Barty vs ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡พ Aryna Sabalenka

A blockbuster opening round match at Melbourne Park on Tuesday sees two of the tours most promising young prospects go head-to-head for the very first time. Barty and Sabalenka both ended 2017 in the best form of their respective careers, both have started 2018 in good form. Barty reached the final in Sydney last week whilst Sabalenka reached back-to-back quarter-finals in Shenzhen and Hobart. Barty and Sabalenka both posses powerful games, it will be fascinating to see who comes up on top here.

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Ash Barty will be competing at the Australian Open as the number 1 ranked Australian woman for the first time. A lot of pressure and expectation comes with this title, it will be interesting to see how Barty handles herself. Barty brings good form into her home Grand Slam having reached the Sydney International final last week, Bartyโ€™s first final on Australian soil. Barty claimed wins over Cepede Royg, Perez, Strycova and Gavrilova before succumbing to Kerber in straight sets in the final.

Aryna Sabalenka is a player on the rise. At the age of 19, Sabalenka has already caught the attention of the tennis world over the last few months. Sabalenka has made a good start to the season, reaching back-to-back quarter-finals. The Belarussian beat Niculescu and Kovinic in straight sets before losing to Simona Halep in straight sets in Shenzhen. In Hobart, Sabalenka beat Bouchard and Zhang in straight sets before succumbing to Lesia Tsurenko in an uncompetitive 2 set loss. Sabalenka has a huge game, her best is extremely good but she is still trying to find the right balance on court.

This will be the first meeting between the pair.

Angelique Kerber vs Ashleigh Barty, Sydney Final Preview

Sydney International ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿฆˆ Final Preview
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บย Ashleigh Barty vs ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ชย Angelique Kerber

Ashleigh Barty and Angelique Kerber will do battle in a blockbuster final at the Sydney International on Saturday evening. Barty and Kerber both enter this final in awesome form, particularly Kerber who has won her first 8 matches to begin 2018. Ash Barty will have the support of the home crowd. Barty is the first Aussie into the final at the Sydney International since Aussie duo Alicia Molik and Samantha Stosur contested the 2005 championship. Can Kerber silence the crowd and complete the perfect start to her 2018 campaign?

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Ash Barty made a poor start to the season in Brisbane with an opening round loss but has rebounded strongly in Sydney. The Aussie number 1 started the event in nervy fashion with unconvincing straight set wins over Veronica Cepede Royg and Ellen Perez. Barty produced her most impressive performance of the week at the quarter-final stage where she trashed Barbora Strycova 6-3 6-0. The 21-year-old confirmed her spot in her first final on home soil with a 3-6 6-4 6-2 win over Daria Gavrilova in what was a scrappy match.

Angelique Kerber continues to impress. Gone is the unmotivated 2017 Kerber, the German is resembling the player that took the tour by storm in 2016. Kerber arrived in Sydney full of confidence having won all 4 of her singles matches at the Hopman Cup last week in straight sets. Kerber started her Sydney campaign with tough 3 set wins over Lucie Safarova and Venus Williams. Kerberโ€™s performances have improved towards the business end of the event, beating Dominika Cibulkova 6-3 6-1 before confirming her spot in a second Sydney final with a 6-2 6-3 win over an in-form Camila Giorgi. Kerber turned a 0-3, 15-40 deficit into a 6-3 set victory in the second set against Giorgi.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece, both matches were in 2017. Kerber defeated Barty in Brisbane in 3 sets at the start of the season whilst more recently Barty defeated Kerber 6-3 6-4 at the season ending event in Zhuhai. Who will win their all important third meeting and head to Melbourne on the ultimate high?

Barbora Strycova vs Ashleigh Barty, Sydney QF Preview

Sydney International ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿฆˆ QF Preview
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Barbora Strycova vs ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Ashleigh Barty

An interesting quarter-final match-up at the Sydney International sees Barbora Strycova take on Ashleigh Barty. Strycova and Barty have had contrasting pathways through to the final 8 in Sydney. Strycova has had a tough draw, defeating Kasatkina and Makarova whilst Barty has had a very favourable draw having beaten Cepede Royg and Perez on route to the quarter-finals. The head-to-head record is split at 1 win apiece, who will edge ahead and reach the semi-finals in Sydney?

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Barbora Strycova has made a decent start to the 2018 season, reaching back-to-back quarter-finals in Auckland and Sydney. Strycova started her Sydney campaign with a difficult 3 set victory over Daria Kasatkina, a 7-5 1-6 6-4 victory. The 31-year-old was more comfortable in her second round match, beating Ekaterina Makarova surprisingly comfortably 6-4 6-1. Strycova will be keen to replicate her run to the semi-finals in Sydney last year.

Ashleigh Barty has started to gain some much needed momentum at the Sydney International. Barty started her 2018 season with a shocking opening round to Lesia Tsurenko last week in Brisbane and arrived in Sydney under great pressure to get some victories under her belt. Barty has not been at her best this week in Sydney but she has competed well enough to claim straight set wins over Veronica Cepede Royg and Ellen Perez. Barty was fortunate enough to receive a relatively easy draw this week, her toughest test thus far will come on Thursday against Strycova.

The head-to-head between these two is split at 1 win apiece. The most recent match between the pair took place on grass in Birmingham last year, Barty claimed a 6-3 3-6 6-1 victory. Strycova won their only previous match on a hard court, 6-1 6-3 at the US Open in 2014.

Ashleigh Barty vs Veronica Cepede Royg, Sydney R1 Preview

Sydney International ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿฆˆ R1 Prediction
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Ashleigh Barty vs (Q) ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡พ Veronica Cepede Royg

Ashleigh Barty will be desperate for a good week in Sydney after a shock first round loss in Brisbane last week. Barty will begin her Sydney campaign on Monday with a first round clash against Paraguayan qualifier Veronica Cepede Royg. This will be the first career meeting between Barty and Cepede Royg. The Australian will enter this match as a strong favourite but the 21-year-old is under pressure after her loss in Brisbane last week. Conversely, Cepede Royg is confident and match hardened having come through the qualifying draw. Can Cepede Royg cause a big upset?

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There are more expectations on Ash Barty than ever before heading into the Australian summer. Barty enters the 2018 Australian summer as the top ranked Australian having ended 2017 in superb form. However, Barty started her 2018 season in a shocking manner. Barty was comfortably beaten in her opening match at the Brisbane International, defeated 6-3 6-2 by Lesia Tsurenko. Barty looked uncoordinated and rusty in her opening defeat in Brisbane, Barty will be keen to recapture her 2017 form in Sydney before heading down to Melbourne.

Veronica Cepede Royg did well to get through a tough qualifying draw in Sydney. Cepede Royg won 3 matches in the qualifying draw, 3 wins over decent opponents: Maria Sakkari, Kateryna Bondarenko and Lara Arruabarrena. The 25-year-old will enter the main draw with nothing to lose and a lot to gain, a dangerous formula for opponents early in the tournament.

CoCo Vandeweghe vs Ashleigh Barty, Zhuhai Semi-Final Preview

WTA Elite Trophy, ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐ŸŒน๐Ÿ‰ Zhuhai Preview + Prediction
SF #2: (2) ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ CoCo Vandeweghe vs (9) ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Ashleigh Barty

Saturdayโ€™s second semi-final in Zhuhai sees CoCo Vandeweghe and Ashleigh Barty go head-to-head for the first time. Vandeweghe and Barty both went undefeated in their groups to advance to the semi-finals, both are in good form heading into this intriguing semi-final clash. Barty has arguably been the form player thus far in Zhuhai, the Aussieโ€™s serving has been particularly impressive. Vandeweghe has also been serving well this week and can match Barty from the service line. This will be an exciting clash between two powerful opponents, who will emerge victorious in the first meeting between the pair?

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Angelique Kerber vs Ashleigh Barty, Zhuhai Group Stage Preview

WTA Elite Trophy, ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐ŸŒน๐Ÿ‰ Zhuhai RR Preview + Prediction
(8) ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Angelique Kerber vs (9) ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Ashleigh Barty

Top spot in the rose group and progression to the semi-final stage in Zhuhai is up for grabs when Angelique Kerber comes up against Ashleigh Barty on Thursday. If Kerber is to progress to the semi-final stage she needs to win this match in straight sets, Barty just needs to win 1 set to confirm her spot on top of the rose group. Barty was in sensational form in her Zhuhai debut, comfortably defeating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets, can the Aussie bring a similar level here and advance to the final four in Zhuhai?

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Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs Ashleigh Barty, Zhuhai Group Stage Preview

WTA Elite Trophy, ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐ŸŒน๐Ÿ‰ Zhuhai RR Preview + Prediction
(4) ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs (9) ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Ashleigh Barty

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova kickstarted her 2017 Zhuhai campaign off in style when she defeated Angelique Kerber in three sets on Tuesday evening. Pavlyuchenkova can confirm her progression into the semi-finals when she comes up against Ashleigh Barty on Wednesday at the WTA Elite Trophy. The Russian has won the two previous matches between the pair but Barty has improved greatly since their most recent match and the Aussie will looking to make a strong start in her Zhuhai debut.

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Ashleigh Barty vs Aliaksandra Sasnovich, U.S Open R2 Preview

US Open, ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ—ฝ๐Ÿš• R2 Preview + Prediction
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Ashleigh Barty vs ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡พ Aliaksandra Sasnovich

Ashleigh Barty made an impressive start to her 2017 U.S Open campaign on Monday, Barty came from a set down to defeat the 21st seeded Ana Konjuh 4-6 6-0 6-1. Barty has been in great form over the last couple of months claiming wins over the likes of Garbine Muguruza and Venus Williams. Barty will be back in action at Flushing Meadows on Wednesday evening where she takes on Belarusโ€™s Aliaksandra Sasnovich. This section of the draw is very open after the elimination of Johanna Konta in the first round, there is a good opportunity for Barty to go on a deep run in New York.

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Continue reading "Ashleigh Barty vs Aliaksandra Sasnovich, U.S Open R2 Preview"