Ashleigh Barty vs. Anett Kontaveit, Miami SF Preview

🇺🇸🐬 Miami Open, SF #1 Preview
🇦🇺 (12) Ashleigh Barty vs. 🇪🇪 (21) Anett Kontaveit

Ashleigh Barty and Anett Kontaveit will both be playing to reach the biggest final of their careers when they do battle at the semi-final stage of the 2019 Miami Open. Barty and Kontaveit both came through tough quarter-final matches and are seemingly both in great shape heading into this match, expect a close one between two players on the rise.

Ashleigh Barty of Australia in action during her quarter-final match at the 2019 Miami Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

The knock on Ash Barty heading into 2019 was that she didn’t play her best tennis on the biggest stages, that is starting to change for Barty and she is now within touching distance of the biggest title of her career in Miami. Barty cruised through her first couple of matches in Miami with straight set wins over Dayana Yastremska and Sam Stosur. Things got much tougher for Barty in her last couple of matches as she fought past Kiki Bertens and Petra Kvitova in 3 sets. Barty’s 7-6 3-6 6-2 win over Kvitova to book her place in the final 4 was particularly impressive, her first win over Kvitova in 5 attempts.

Anett Kontaveit is having her best tournament of the season thus far as she is through to her first semi-final of the year and the biggest of her career. Kontaveit started her Miami campaign with back-to-back 3 set wins, the Estonian defeated Amanda Anisimova 6-3 1-6 6-4 before battling past Ajla Tomljanovic 7-6 2-6 7-6. Kontaveit benefited from the retirement of Bianca Andreescu in the fourth round and went on to secure her spot in the final 4 with an impressive 3-6 6-2 7-5 win over Su-Wei Hsieh. Kontaveit was in real trouble against Hsieh when she trailed 0-4 in the deciding set but picked her game to storm to victory with 7 of the last 8 games.

The only previous match between the pair took place back in 2014 at the final qualifying round of Wimbledon, it was Kontaveit who won a tight one, 6-7 6-3 6-4. The pair have both improved dramatically since their last meeting, it will be interesting to see how the match-ups pans out this time around.

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Ashleigh Barty vs. Dayana Yastremska, Miami R2 Preview

🇺🇸🐬 Miami Open, R2 Preview
🇦🇺 (12) Ashleigh Barty vs. 🇺🇦 Dayana Yastremska

Ash Barty and Dayana Yastremska will go head-to-head for the very first time in an intriguing second round match-up from the Miami Open in Thursday. Barty has been one of the most consistent players on tour in 2019 but will likely face a tough first-up test against Yastremska in Miami, Yastremska is a player on the rise with a an aggressive game and bold attitude.

Dayana Yastremska of the Ukraine in action during her first-round match at the 2019 Miami Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Barty has made a great start to 2019, highlighted by a run to the final in Sydney and her first Grand Slam quarter-final appearance at the Australian Open. However, Barty arrives in Miami fresh from a bitterly disappointing fourth round loss to Elina Svitolina in Indian Wells. Barty squandered several leads in her loss to Svitolina in what stands as the longest match of the season thus far, it will be interesting to see how Barty responds from that tough loss in Miami.

Yastremska has also made a great start to the season, highlighted by her title run in Hua Hin last month. However, Yastremska has struggled Since winning the title in Hua Hin, suffering opening round exits in Dubai and Indian Wells. Yastremska got back on the winners list in Miami with a fairly comfortable 6-3 6-2 triumph over Ekaterina Alexandrova.

This will be the first meeting between Barty and Yastremska, a match-up with an interesting contrast in styles. The all-court game of Barty up against the extreme baseline power of Yastremska.

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Elina Svitolina vs. Ashleigh Barty, Indian Wells R4 Preview

🇺🇸🌵 BNPPO19, Indian Wells – R4 Preview
🇺🇦 (6) Elina Svitolina vs. 🇦🇺 (12) Ashleigh Barty

Elina Svitolina and Ashleigh Barty will renew hostilities on Tuesday at the BNP Paribas Open with a spot in the quarter-finals up for grabs. Svitolina has dominated this match-up, the Ukrainian has won all 4 of the previous meetings between the pair. Nevertheless, Barty is arguably in the best form of her career and will be very keen to finally grab a victory over Svitolina and more importantly reach the final 8 of a major event.

Ashleigh Barty of Australia in action during her third-round match at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Elina Svitolina will be trying to make the most of her second life in Indian Wells, over the next week, the Ukrainian could have easily been dumped from the tournament in her first match this week where she was forced to come from behind against an in-form Sofia Kenin to claim a 3-6 7-6 6-3 victory. Svitolina was again forced to work hard for her third round victory as she defeated Daria Gavrilova 7-5 6-4 in a tough contest.

Ash Barty is just one win away from securing a place in the top 10 for the first time. Barty has made a great start to the season, amassing a 14/3 win/loss record across all competitions. Barty has fairly comfortably moved through her first couple of matches at the BNP Paribas Open with straight set wins over Tatjana Maria and Jennifer Brady, Svitolina will be much greater test for Barty in the next round.

Svitolina holds a perfect 4-0 record over Barty. Svitolina has won the last 3 matches between the pair in straight sets, including a 7-5 6-4 victory in their most recent match in Miami last year. Can an in-form Barty finally pick up her first career win over Svitolina?

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Petra Kvitova vs. Ashleigh Barty, Australian Open QF Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, Quarter-Final Preview
🇨🇿 (8) Petra Kvitova vs. 🇦🇺 (15) Ashleigh Barty

Two of the form players on the WTA tour will renew hostilities on Tuesday when Petra Kvitova takes on Ashleigh Barty for a spot in the semi-finals at the Australian Open. This will be a rematch of the Sydney International final a few weeks ago where Kvitova outlasted Barty in an epic encounter. Barty is the last Australian left in the singles draw on either side, the hopes of the Nation are with Barty but she will need to defy the odds to get through this one.

Ashleigh Barty of Australia in action during her fourth-round match at the 2019 Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Petra Kvitova has stormed into the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park for the first time since 2012. Kvitova has not dropped a set on route to reaching the final 8, not even close. Kvitova cruised through the first week with wins over Magdalena Rybarikova, Irina-Camelia Begu and Belinda Bencic. Kvitova secured her spot in the quarter-finals with a dominant 6-2 6-1 victory over Amanda Anisimova. Kvitova is now on a 9-match winning streak having won the Sydney International title before arriving in Melbourne.

Ash Barty is through to the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time. Barty has made a fantastic start to the season and is certainly playing the best tennis of her career right now. Barty also cruised through the first week of the tournament with wins over Luksika Kumkhum, Yafan Wang and Maria Sakkari. Barty’s greatest test came at the fourth round stage where she outlasted Maria Sharapova in a really tough battle, a 4-6 6-1 6-4 victory for Barty, one of the biggest wins of her career.

Kvitova holds a perfect 3-0 H2H record over Barty. The last two matches between the pair have gone the distance, Kvitova was forced to come from a set down on each occasion. The most recent match between the pair was a few weeks ago in the Sydney final, Kvitova won 1-6 7-5 7-6.

Can Barty keep her dream run alive in Melbourne or will Kvitova maintain her perfect record over the Aussie?

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Ashleigh Barty vs. Maria Sakkari, Australian Open R3 Preview

Australian Open, R3 Preview
🇦🇺 (15) Ashleigh Barty vs. 🇬🇷 Maria Sakkari

Ash Barty is likely to face her first real test of the tournament when she takes on Maria Sakkari at the third round stage of the Australian Open on Friday. Barty has cruised through her first few matches over inferior opponents that never really posed her much threat, that will not be the case against Sakkari, the Greek number 1 seemingly has weapons that can trouble Barty.

Maria Sakkari of Greece in action during her second-round match at the 2019 Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Barty has made a very strong start to the Aussie summer, Barty arrived in Melbourne fresh off a great week in Sydney where she narrowly lost the final to Petra Kvitova. Barty has quickly found her range in Melbourne as she claimed straight set wins over Luksika Kumkhum and Yafan Wang with little fuss. Barty’s Versatility and power is a unique combination, a combination which many are tipping to take her deep into the tournament.

Maria Sakkari has also made a good start to the season and has made a good start to her Australian Open campaign. Sakkari started the week with a 6-1 3-6 6-2 win over the 22nd seeded Jelena Ostapenko before battling past Astra Sharma 6-1 6-4. Sakkari will be looking to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time with a win over Barty having previously reached the third round at every Grand Slam.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. It was Sakkari who won the most recent match between the two, a 6-4 6-2 win at Indian Wells last year.

Can Sakkari spoil the occasion for the Australian number 1?

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Ashleigh Barty vs. Jelena Ostapenko, Sydney R1 Preview

🦒 Sydney International, R1 Preview
🇱🇻 Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇦🇺 Ashleigh Barty

Ash Barty begins her Sydney International campaign with a potentially difficult opening round clash with Jelena Ostapenko. The top ranked Australian woman heads into this match as a strong favourite. Barty brings good form into this event having ended 2018 really well and having played some good matches in Perth last week, conversely Ostapenko is in awful form and in desperate need of a form reversal before heading to Melbourne.

Ostapenko has lost 6 of her last 8 matches spanning back to the US Open last year. Ostapenko made a messy start to the 2019 season, the 2017 Roland Garros champion was thrashed by Monica Niculescu, Ostapenko managed to win just 2 games in her first round match with the Romanian in Shenzhen and looked very rusty.

On the other hand, Ash Barty is in great form. Barty has won 9 of her last 12 matches having ended 2018 on high by winning the title in Zhuhai. Barty started her 2019 campaign with a solid showing at the Hopman Cup, Barty defeated Alize Cornet and Garbine Muguruza in straight sets before being beaten by Angelique Kerber in straight sets. Barty made the final in Sydney last year and will be hoping to go one step further in 2019.

Can Ostapenko find some decent form in Sydney and Challenge the top ranked Aussie?

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Ashleigh Barty vs. Qiang Wang, Zhuhai Final preview + prediction

🇨🇳 WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai – Final preview + prediction
🇦🇺 (9) Ashleigh Barty vs. 🇨🇳 (11) Qiang Wang

Saturday’s final in Zhuhai sees the 9th seeded Ashleigh Barty take on the 11th seeded Qiang Wang. Barty and Wang will both be playing to win the biggest title of their respective careers and end the 2018 season on the ultimate high. Wang received a second chance in the tournament when Madison Keys withdrew before her semi-final match with Garbine Muguruza, Wang certainly made the most of that opportunity by smashing Muguruza to reach the final in front of an adoring home crowd.

Embed from Getty Images

It was Ash Barty who won the only previous match between the pair, a 7-5 6-4 win for Barty in Strasbourg earlier this year. I expect a very different result here, I’m going to side with Wang. Wang has been extremely impressive over the last couple of months and should have the slight edge here. Wang has significantly improved her serve and that will be key to victory here. If Wang can match Barty’s serving she should win as it is Wang who has the more dynamic game from the baseline, greater endurance and a greater return of serve. Wang has been particularly strong in China this year so it would be a fitting end to the season if she wins here.

Prediction: Qiang Wang to defeat Ashleigh Barty in 3 sets

Caroline Garcia vs. Ashleigh Barty, Zhuhai RR preview + prediction

WTA Elite Trophy – Zhuhai RR preview + prediction
🇫🇷 (8) Caroline Garcia vs. 🇦🇺 (9) Ashleigh Barty

Caroline Garcia and Ashleigh Barty will go head-to-head for just the second time when they do battle in Zhuhai on Thursday. Barty started her Zhuhai campaign a few days ago with a straight set loss to Aryna Sabalenka whilst Garcia will be in action for the first time this week. Barty’s first-up loss means she is virtually eliminated whilst a win for Garcia will set-up a showdown with Sabalenka for a spot in the semi-finals.

Embed from Getty Images

It was Garcia who emerged victorious in the only previous meeting between the pair, a 6-7 7-6 6-2 victory in the Wuhan final last year. This is an interesting match-up because both players are very versatile and love to move up the court where they are very handy at the net. Both have are solid behind their serve and have strong weapons from the baseline. What gives Garcia the edge is her stronger return of serve and greater firepower from the baseline. Expect Garcia to win in a close one.

Prediction: Caroline Garcia to defeat Ashleigh Barty in 3 sets

Aryna Sabalenka vs. Ashleigh Barty, Zhuhai RR Preview

WTA Elite Trophy, Group Stage: 🇧🇾 (3) Aryna Sabalenka vs. 🇦🇺 (9) Ashleigh Barty

The 2018 WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai begins on Tuesday when Aryna Sabalenka takes on Ashleigh Barty. This will be the third installment of this match-up in 2018, the previous two matches were very tight and there is no reason to suggest that this match will be any different. Who will edge ahead into the H2H here?

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in action during the quarter-final at the 2018 China Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Aryna Sabalenka has been one of the form players on tour over the last couple of months and will look to end an outstanding season on a high in Zhuhai. Sabalenka has won 24 of her last 30 matches since a shock loss in the San Jose qualifying. Sabalenka’s hot-streak saw her win titles in New Haven and Wuhan. Most recently Sabalenka did suffer a disappointing quarter-final loss to Timea Bacsinszky in Tianjin, after a few weeks rest Sabalenka should be better positioned physically heading into her first appearance in Zhuhai.

Ash Barty will be competing in Zhuhai for the second consecutive season, Barty made it to the semi-finals in 2017 and will look to go one step further in 2018. Most of Barty’s recent success has again be on the doubles court but she has had some good results of late in singles too. Barty made it to the semi-finals in Wuhan and a little further back she reached the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time in New York. Barty was in Singapore last week competing in the doubles event at the WTA Finals where she was eliminated at the semi-final stage.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. Barty defeated Sabalenka at the Australian Open 6-7 6-4 6-4 whilst more recently Sabalenka won 7-6 6-4 at the semi-final stage in Wuhan.

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Ashleigh Barty vs. Johanna Konta, Wuhan R1 Preview

🐉 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, R1 Preview
🇦🇺 (16) Ashleigh Barty vs. 🇬🇧 Johanna Konta

Ash Barty had her big breakthrough at a major event in Wuhan 12 months ago when she made it all the way to the final. The pressure is on Barty this week to defend her finalist points and she begins her 2018 campaign with a potentially tough opening round clash against Johanna Konta. Barty has won the last couple of matches between the two and will be the favourite to make it 3 wins in a row over the Brit.

Ashleigh Barty of Australia in action during her third-round match at the 2018 US Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Barty and Konta were both in action in Tokyo last week, both suffered disappointing second round losses. Barty was beaten by Victoria Azarenka in straight sets, whilst Konta was beaten by Donna Vekic in straight sets. In general it has been Barty that has been in the much better form over the last few months, highlighted by a semi-final showing in Montreal and a run to the fourth round at the US Open.

Barty holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Konta. The most recent match between the pair took place in the Nottingham final earlier this year, a 6-3 3-6 6-4 win for Barty. Barty also beat Konta in Wuhan last year on route to the final, a match that ended in a third set tiebreak.

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