Alize Cornet vs Bojana Jovanovski, Australian Open R1 Preview

Australian Open R1: Alize Cornet vs Bojana Jovanovski

Alize Cornet arrives in Melbourne full of confidence having claimed her 5th WTA title in Hobart last week. Alize will begin her Australian Open campaign on Tuesday with a clash against a disastrously out of form Bojana Jovanovski. Alize is one of the most dangerous unseeded players heading into the first Grand Slam of the year, it will be interesting to see how damage she can cause.

Alize Cornet had a really disappointing year in 2015 but has made a really positive start to the new year. Alize started the season with a good win over Kristina Mladenovic in Brisbane before succumbing to Pavlyuchenkova in a close match in the second round. It was in Hobart that Alize really excelled. Cornet finished the week in great form, dropping just five games in her last 2 matches. Alize’s performance in the final was exceptional, recording a comprehensive 6-1 6-2 victory over Eugenie Bouchard. Cornet adapted to the tricky conditions particularly well, frustrating Bouchard with her defensive skills and ability to mix up the play from the baseline.


Bojana Jovanovski’s lead-up to the Australian Open has been in complete contrast to Alize’s. Jovanovski has suffered back-to-back first round losses to start the season, but it is the manner in which she lost that is particularly worrying. Jovanovski was beaten by Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-0 6-3 in Shenzhen and suffered a humiliating 6-0 6-0 loss to Veronica Cepede Royg in the first round of qualifying in Hobart. Bojana will need a dramatic reversal in form if she is to be competitive in her first round match in Melbourne.

The only previous meeting between Alize and Bojana took place in Eastbourne back in 2014, It was Alize Cornet who prevailed with a 6-3 6-2 victory. Given the recent form of these two ladies, it is impossible to picture anything other than an Alize Cornet victory here. Alize thrives off confidence which she will have gained in Hobart and I suspect she will win this pretty easily.

Prediction: Alize Cornet to defeat Bojana Jovanovski in 2 sets

WTA Citi Open – Washington D.C – Tournament Preview

Whilst the U.S Open series kicks off with a premier event in Stanford, the Citi Open in Washington D.C promises to be an entertaining sideshow. The event has amassed a rather strong field for an International Event with 8 of the world’s top 30 players in action in the nations capital.

Magdalena Rybarikova comes into the Citi Open as the two time defending champion. The Slovakian is currently on a four match losing streak and will have her work cut out defending her title in Washington D.C.

Eugenie Bouchard was set to be the headline act in Washington. The Canadian is having a stellar season having made the semi-finals in Melbourne and Paris and recently making the final at Wimbledon before being blown off the park by Petra Kvitova. Genie decided to withdraw from the event citing a vague medical issue, perhaps a wise move given the amount of tennis her young body has endured already this season. She is now a legitimate Grand Slam contender and doesn't really need to be taking part in events like this.

Sloane Stephens still desperately seeks her first career title, the American has been a little more consistent this season but overall her results haven’t been satisfactory, As a result the American recently decided to split with her coach Paul Annacone. I have a feeling this could be Sloane’s week at last.

A host of other noteworthy players are in action at the Citi Open. The always-entertaining Alize Cornet will be looking for a big American hard court swing after some promising results scattered throughout the season. Cornet has of course defeated Serena Williams twice and also defeated Agnieszka Radwanska on route to her first and only title of the season in Katowice.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Kirsten Flipkens and Sorana Cirstea will also be in action at the Citi Open, these three will be desperate to string a couple of wins together after having disappointing seasons. Pavlyuchenkova started the year off well but has recently been hampered by injury.

Dangerous lefties Lucie Safarova and Ekaterina Makarova will be a threat to any opponents who cross their paths in Washington, both will be looking to for a deep run heading into the U.S Open series. Both ladies had deep runs at Wimbledon. Safarova had a breakthrough tournament, reaching the semi-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career. Makarova reached the quarter-finals before being belted by Lucie 6-3 6-1.

Young American talents Madison Keys, Christina McHale, Lauren Davis and Alison Riske will be looking to take the next step during the American hard court swing. Based on their respective results this season (especially Madison Keys) I wouldn't be surprised to see either one of them achieve some breakthrough results in the next few weeks.

Number 1 seed Lucie Safarova has been dealt a tricky first round match against Kristina Mladenovic. The Frenchwoman has been quite busy over the past few weeks, reaching the semi-finals in Istanbul before reaching the quarter-finals at the Baku Cup. The other seeded player in the top quarter, Madison Keys also faces a tricky first round opponent. The American faces Kurumi Nara who is certainly capable of causing an upset. Despite all this both Lucie and Madison should both proceed to the quarter-finals to set up a third career meeting.

Quarter-Final 1 Prediction: (1) Lucie Safarova vs (7) Madison Keys

Third seed Alize Cornet will take on local wild card Shelby Rogers in the opening round. The American recently had a breakthrough week on clay in Bad Gastein, defeating Sara Errani on route to the final before falling to Andrea Petkovic in straight sets. Alize should be able to make her way through this section of the draw with the out of form Sorana Cirstea being the other seeded player in this quarter. Cirstea faces Kiki Bertens in the opening round; on current form I think Bertens is very capable of defeating the Romanian. The winner of this match will likely face Bojana Jovanovski, I like the Serbs chances of reaching the quarters.

Quarter-Final 2 Prediction: (3) Alize Cornet vs Bojana Jovanovski

The third quarter is perhaps the toughest and features some interesting first round matches. Most noteworthy is the match between fourth seeded Sloane Stephens and compatriot Christina McHale (it will be the first meeting between the two). Sloane is still yet to win a title, with the withdrawal of Eugenie I would say she is now the favourite to go all the way in Washington. The first round match between unseeded players Heather Watson and Kirsten Flipkens is another one to look out for. The winner of that match will face either Kuznetsova or Hercog.

Quarter-Final 3 Prediction: Heather Watson vs (4) Sloane Stephens

The final section features second seed Ekaterina Makarova and fifth seeded compatriot Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Makarova had a brilliant run in London, the Russian is becoming a little more consistent and will be a threat to anyone she comes up against during the U.S Open series. Makarova comes up against two time defending champion Magdalena Rybarikova in the opening round. On current form Makarova should be far too strong. Pavlyuchenkova faces Razzano In the opening round before a likely match up against Alison Riske in the second round. I wouldn't be surprised to see Riske have a deep run in Washington.

Quarter-Final 4 Prediction: Alison Riske vs (2) Ekaterina Makarova

Final Prediction: Sloane Stephens def. Madison Keys:

It will be a fascinating week in Washington, a good chance for a number of ladies to claim a rare title. The spotlight will be on Sloane Stephens to finally claim her first title, on this occasion I don't think she will disappoint. Madison Keys really impressed me in Eastbourne but injury derailed her Wimbledon campaign, assuming she is fit and ready to go she should have a good week in Washington.

Wimbledon – Day 3 – 2nd Round Match Previews/Predictions

The majority of the top seeds managed to see their way through the opening round with ease. The biggest casualties in round one were Jelana Jankovic, Sara Errani and Sam Stosur. However it was not at all surprising to see any of these ladies stumble in the opening round. There are a couple of interesting second round matches on Wednesday where top seeds Agnieszka Radwanska and Petra Kvitova come up against potentially dangerous opponents.

(4) Agnieszka Radwansaka vs Casey Dellacqua

World number 4 Agnieszka Radwanska cruised past Romanian qualifier Andreea Mitu 6-2 6-1 in her opening round match but will face a much tougher task in the second round when she comes up against Australian Casey Dellacqua. A resurgent Casey Dellacqua is playing the best tennis of her career at the moment and is on the verge of reaching the top 30 for the first time. Interestingly these two have never come up against each other on tour despite both being seasoned competitors.

Dellacqua certainly has some weapons that can challenge the world number 4 but i doubt she can sustain a high enough level to take a set of the Pole. In the past Radwanska has run out of steam towards the end of big tournaments because she has been unable to win consecutive straight set matches in the her early round matches.Radwanska will be wary of her potentially dangerous opponent and will want to finish this match off as quickly as possible.

Prediction: Agnieszka Radwanska to defeat Casey Dellacqua 6-3 6-2

(8) Victoria Azarenka vs. Bojana Jovanovski

In the first round Victoria Azarenka defeated Lucic-Baroni to win her first match since january after a long injury layoff. The former semi-finalist was no where near her best but her fighting spirit and determination was enough to get her into the second round. Azarenka's opponents in the second round will be Bojana Jovanovski who defeated Johanna Larson in the opening round.

These two have met on one previous occasion, funnily enough it was in the second round at Wimbledon. Azarenka easily won in straight sets. Azarenka will only improve as the tournament progresses as she gets much needed match time under her belt. Jovanovski is a dangerous opponent, however her recent form isn't very impressive. Jovanovski has lost 6 of her last 7 matches. Azarenka should come through in straight sets.

Prediction: Victoria Aazarenka to defeat Bojana Jovanovski 7-5 6-2

Other Match Predictions:

(2) Li Na to defeat Yvonne Meusburger in straight sets

(30) Venus Williams to defeat Kurumi Nara in straight sets

Barbora Zahlavova Strycova to defeat (32) Elena Vesnina in three sets

(22) Ekaterina Makarova to defeat Misaki Doi in straight sets

(23) Lucie Safarova to defeat Polona Hercog in three sets

(6) Petra Kvitova to defeat Mona Barthel in straight sets

Caroline Garcia to defeat Varvara Lepchenko in three sets

Michelle Larcher De Brito to defeat (WC) Jarmila Gajdosova in three sets

Yanina Wickmayer to defeat (Q) Ana Konjuh in straight sets

(16) Caroline Wozniacki to defeat Naomi Broady in straight sets

Lauren Davis to defeat (12) Flavia Pennetta in three sets

(1) Dominika Cibulkova to defeat Alison Van Uytvanack in straight sets

Maria Kirilenko to defeat Shuai Peng in straight sets

Coco Vandeweghe to defeat (Q) Tereza Smitkova in three sets