Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Christina McHale, Roland Garros R1 Preview

Roland Garros, 🇫🇷🐌 R1 Preview + Prediction
(8) 🇷🇺 Svetlana Kuznetsova vs 🇺🇸 Christina McHale

Former Champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova looms as one of the favourites heading into the second Grand Slam of 2017, one of the most open Grand Slam tournaments in recent memory. Kuznetsova should not take her opening round opponent in Paris lightly, Christina McHale looms as a potentially dangerous first round match-up for Kuznetsova, an opponent that can cause an upset if the Russian is having a poor day.

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Christina McHale vs Annika Beck, Miami R1 Preview

Miami Open, 🇺🇸🌴🐬 R1 Match Preview
🇺🇸 Christina McHale vs 🇩🇪 Annika Beck

Christina McHale and Annika Beck will go head-to-head for the very first time when they meet at the opening round stage of the Miami Open. Both McHale and Beck have been hovering around number 50 in the rankings for a while and both will be looking to make the next step during the 2017 season. Matches like these are critical for both ladies, making this match a high-stake affair.

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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.

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Alize Cornet vs Christina McHale, Brisbane R2 Preview

Brisbane International R2: 🐨
🇫🇷 Alize Cornet vs 🇺🇸 Christina McHale

Alize Cornet and Christina McHale will both head into Tuesday’s second round clash at the Brisbane International full of confidence after claiming significant first round wins to start the season. McHale clinically disposed of Sara Errani in impressive fashion, whilst Cornet fought back from the brink of defeat to battle past Elena Vesnina. Both will head into this match expecting to win, a close contest is to be expected when these two meet for a spot in the third round in Brisbane. 

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Sara Errani vs Christina McHale, Brisbane R1 Preview

Brisbane International R1: 🐨
🇮🇹 Sara Errani vs 🇺🇸 Christina McHale

Sara Errani and Christina McHale will go head-to-head in what should be a tightly contested first round clash at the Brisbane International. Sara Errani has a good record against Christina McHale but the American is improving and the Italian took a dive down the rankings in 2016 for various reasons.

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Serena Williams vs Christina McHale, Wimbledon R2 Preview

Wimbledon 🇬🇧🍓 Second Round Match Preview + Prediction
(1) 🇺🇸 Serena Williams vs 🇺🇸 Christina McHale

Serena Williams continues her quest for a seventh Wimbledon title on Thursday when she comes up against compatriot Christina McHale at the second round stage of the event. Serena has failed to equal Steffi Graff’s record of 22 Grand Slam titles at the last 3 Grand Slams, after 3 disappointments in a row the world number 1 and defending champion can be expected to rebound strongly, as she has throughout her career. 

Serena has undoubtedly felt the pressure of chasing history. The American has come agonisingly close to equalling Steffi Graff’s record on 22 Grand Slam titles at the last 3 Grand Slam events, starting with a semi-final loss at the U.S Open last year and a pair of runner-up finishes at the first two Grand Slam events on 2016. Serena is likely to use these disappointments as inspiration over the next fortnight and the defending champion made a reasonably promising start to her Wimbledon campaign on Tuesday where she recorded a 6-2 6-4 over Amra Sadiković. Interestingly, Serena has not failed at four consecutive Grand Slam events since Wimbledon 2011-Roland Garros 2012.

 

Christina McHale’s form over the last couple of months has generally been quite good. Unfortunately, the American has been unable to translate impressive form into success at the Grand Slam level, Christina has been dealt a couple of really tough draws at Grand Slams in 2016 and being forced to play Serena Williams at the second round stage at Wimbledon is far from ideal. McHale booked her spot in the second with a solid 7-5 6-2 win over Daniela Hantuchova. Christina will enter her second round clash with nothing to lose and will be quietly confident after a couple of tight matches against Serena in 2016.

Serena has won both of her previous matches with McHale, both of those victories came earlier this year and both were reasonably competitive matches. Serena claimed a 6-3 5-7 6-2 win in Miami and a 7-6 6-1 win on the clay in Rome. Thursday’s clash will be the first meeting between the pair on a grass court.

This is a good early round test for Serena and will give us an indication as to where her level of tennis is at. McHale is a very solid player and really forces her opponents to step up and beat her. Serena can be vulnerable in the early rounds of a Grand Slam and I wouldn’t be too surprised to see her drop a set in this match given her close matches with Christina in 2016. Ultimately, Serena will be too good when it matters most and has too many weapons for McHale to deal with, especially on this surface.

Prediction: Serena Williams to defeat Christina McHale in 3 sets

Serena Williams vs Christina McHale, Rome R3 Preview

Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Rome Third Round
(1) 🇺🇸 Serena Williams vs (Q) 🇺🇸 Christina McHale

Serena Williams will continue her quest for her fourth Internazionali BNL d’Italia title on Thursday when she comes up against compatriot Christina McHale in the third round in Rome. This promises to be a good test for Serena given McHale's recent form has been very good, especially on clay. Serena has made one of her poorest starts to a season in a long time, the American arrived in Rome without a title to her name in 2016. 1998 was the last time Serena played in Rome without having already won a title in that same year. 

 

Serena made a decent start to her clay court season on Tuesday evening, securing a relatively comfortable 6-4 6-3 win over Anna-Lena Friedsam. The world number 1 played at a reasonably high level, especially given it was her first competitive singles match since Miami a couple of months ago. It seems pretty important for Serena to win the title this week in order to regain her winning instinct and reassert her dominance on the tour. Serena will not want to arrive in Roland Garros on the back of another disappointment.

Christina McHale’s impressive recent form has continued into the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. The American has won 7 of her last 8 matches and has already won 4 matches in Rome on route to the third round given she had to come through the qualifying draw. McHale’s most impressive victory over the week was her 6-7 6-4 6-1 second round win over Ana Ivanovic. McHale did extremely well to recover from the disappointment of losing such a tight opening set (which she had chances to win), ultimately running away with the match in the deciding set. McHale has been an underachiever for a couple of years but finally seems ready to fulfil her potential. It is becoming clear that clay is McHale preferred surface given her recent success on the surface. 

 

The only previous meeting between Williams and McHale took place earlier this year in Miami, Serena was forced into a decider on that occasion before eventually claiming a 6-3 5-7 6-2 win. Serena was up by a set and break in that match before McHale sparingly fought back. Serena will be wary of McHale given that recent scare in Miami and will likely put together a more consistent performance on this occasion. If Serena is motivated, she should win this match reasonably comfortably. Although, McHale is in great form and is the type of player that will make Serena earn her victory. This should be a good match.

Prediction: Serena Williams to defeat Christina McHale in 2 sets


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Christina McHale vs Irina-Camelia Begu, Madrid R3 Preview

Madrid R3: Christina McHale vs Irina-Camelia Begu

A huge opportunity to reach a rare premier-mandatory level quarter-final will present itself to Christina McHale and Irina-Camelia Begu when the two meet in a fascinating third round match-up at the Mutua Madrid Open on Wednesday. McHale and Begu have both built some decent form over the last couple of months and will both see this as a very winnable match, this should be a very close.

Christina McHale has overcome two difficult opponents in straight sets in order to advance to the third round at the Mutua Madrid Open for the first time in her career. The American started the week with a comprehensive 6-0 6-4 victory over Anna-Lena Friedsam before backing up that win with an even more impressive result: defeating Karolina Pliskova 7-6 6-4. McHale was the steadier opponent at the business end of each set, a good sign for a player that can be prone to becoming tight. It is good to see McHale playing well in Madrid after a significant victory over Sam Stosur in Fed Cup action a couple of weeks ago.

 

Irina-Camelia Begu is one win away from reaching back-to-back quarter-finals in Madrid. Begu has generally made a strong start to the clay court season, reaching the quarter-final in Charleston where she defeated Caroline Garcia and Monica Puig on route to the final 8. The Romanian has defeated another pair of high calibre opponents in Madrid on route to the third round. Begu started her Madrid campaign with a hard-fought 6-4 3-6 6-4 win over Eugenie Bouchard before recording her third career top 10 victory courtesy of a 5-7 7-6 6-3 win over Garbine Muguruza.

This will be the first tour level meeting between McHale and Begu and looms as a difficult match to predict a winner. Clay could be considered both players preferred surface given their results on clay over the last couple of seasons. Both players are in decent form heading into this match having defeated some quality opponents in recent weeks. I’m going to give McHale the slight edge because she is a big more consistent and should do well in this match-up because Begu will struggle to hit through the American. I think McHale’s recent form has been impressive and believe she can grind out a win here.

Prediction: Christina McHale to defeat Irina-Camelia Begu in 3 sets

Agnieszka Radwanska vs Christina McHale, Australian Open R1 Preview

Australian Open R1: (4) Agnieszka Radwanska vs Christina McHale

Agnieszka Radwanska will open her 2016 Australian Open campaign on Monday afternoon with a first round clash with American Christina McHale. Aga has a dominant record against McHale and heads into this match full of confidence given her outstanding recent form.

Aga arrives in Melbourne full of confidence having won a title in the last three tournaments she has entered, including titles in Tianjin and Singapore last year and Shenzhen in the first week of 2016. Radwanska in currently on an 8 match winning streak and is arguably the form player heading into the first Grand Slam of the year. The Pole seems to be positioned better than ever heading into the first Grand Slam of the year, she finally seems to have found the right balance between attack and defence and will have high hopes in Melbourne.

 

Aga’s preparation for the Australian Open has seemingly been perfect. Aga started the season with a good week in Shenzhen where she did not drop a set in her five matches on route to the title. The world number 4 showed signs of improvement in her game, most notably a seemingly improved serve. Aga was scheduled to play in Sydney but decided to withdraw from the event. I think this was a good move, Aga will be fresh heading into the event but also feeling confident given her recent results, a great combination.

Christina McHale arrives in Melbourne deprived of confidence having made a poor start to the season. The American suffered early round exits in Auckland and in Hobart and will have to drastically turn things around if she to advance past the first round at Melbourne Park. However, McHale did enjoy some success in Hobart, claiming the doubles title.

 

Aga has beaten McHale in their three previous encounters, winning all three comfortably in straight sets. McHale has won a combined 7 games in her 3 matches against Aga. Their most recent match took place in Nottingham last year where Radwanska cruised to a 6-3 6-1 victory.

This is clearly a good match-up for Aga, McHale just doesn’t have the game to trouble the world number 4. McHale is a good mover and a pretty consistent player form the baseline but Aga simply does everything better than her and has far more variety and experience, I suspect she will win this quite easily.

How far can Aga go in Melbourne? Let me know what you think 🙂

Prediction: Agnieszka Radwanska to defeat Christina McHale in 2 sets

Caroline Wozniacki vs Christina McHale, Auckland R2 Preview

Auckland R2: (3) Caroline Wozniacki vs Christina McHale

Caroline Wozniacki will continue her quest for a maiden Auckland title on Wednesday night when she comes up against Christina McHale in the second round. With Venus Williams and Ana Ivanovic both suffering shock first round exits on Tuesday, Caroline is now the clear favourite to win the tournament. The Dane will be wary of avoiding a similar slip-up on Wednesday against an opponent that she has lost to on multiple occasions.

Wozniacki made a slow start to her first round match against Danka Kovinic. The Dane quickly found herself trailing 0-4 and in real danger of dropping the first set. However Wozniacki quickly found her groove and started to draw more and more errors from Kovinic’s racquet to win 6 straight games and claim the first set. The second set was tight but Wozniacki was too good when it mattered most, picking up a reasonably comfortable 6-4 6-4 victory to start her season.

 

Christina McHale has had a disappointing couple of seasons and will be hoping for much better results in 2016. The American is clearly capable of achieving much greater results than she has been in recent years. McHale made a positive start to the season by picking up a convincing 6-2 6-4 victory over Misaki Doi in her first round match in Auckland and will be confident heading into her clash with Wozniacki given her record against the Dane.

Wozniacki holds a 3-2 head-to-head record over McHale. The American won 2 of the first 3 encounters between the pair but Wozniacki has won their last 2 meetings. Their most recent clash took place in Madrid last year, it was Wozniacki who prevailed 7-5 6-0. McHale clearly matches up well against Wozniacki, she has troubled the Dane in all of their previous meetings but often struggles to maintain a high enough level to get the victory.

I suspect Wozniacki will ultimately be too strong here, with such an open draw Wozniacki will be extra motivated to perform well. The conditions at night should suit Wozniacki in this match-up, McHale has generally performed better against Wozniacki on quicker surfaces.

Prediction: Caroline Wozniacki to defeat Christina McHale in 2 sets