Simona Halep vs Anastasija Sevastova, Cincinnati R3 Preview

Western & Southern Open, ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐ŸŒ‰ Cincinnati R3 Preview + Prediction
(2) ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ด Simona Halep vs (15) ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ป Anastasija Sevastova

Simona Halep continues her Cincinnati campaign on Thursday morning with a third round clash against the 15th seeded Anastasija Sevastova. Halep looms as one of the favourites to win the title this week and heads into this third round clash full of confidence given her recent domination of Sevastova. Halep has won the last three matches between the pair, all in straight sets, dropping a combined 7 games throughout three comfortable wins.

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Elina Svitolina vs Lesia Tsurenko, Cincinnati R2 Preview

Western & Southern Open, ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐ŸŒ‰ Cincinnati R2 Preview + Prediction
(5) ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Elina Svitolina vs ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Lesia Tsurenko

The 5th seeded Elina Svitolina begins her 2017 Western & Southern Open campaign against fellow Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko on Wednesday evening. Svitolina arrives in Cincinnati as number 1 on the U.S Open series leaderboard after winning her 5th title of the year last week at the Rogers Cup in Toronto. Svitolina will look to keep the positive momentum going in Cincinnati as she builds towards New York.

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Karolina Pliskova vs Natalia Vikhlyantseva, Cincinnati R2 Preview

Western & Southern Open, ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐ŸŒ‰ Cincinnati R2 Preview + Prediction
(1) ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Karolina Pliskova vs (LL) ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ Natalia Vikhlyantseva

World number 1, Karolina Pliskova will begin her 2017 Western & Southern Open campaign on Wednesday night when she comes up against Russian lucky-loser Natalia Vikhlyantseva. Pliskova is the defending champion in Cincinnati this week and will be hoping for another strong tournament before heading to New York where she will be aiming to claim her first Grand Slam title. After receiving a bye through to the second round, Pliskova will start as a strong favourite when she comes up against Vikhlyantseva in her first match of the tournament.

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Angelique Kerber vs Ekaterina Makarova, Cincinnati R2 Preview

Western & Southern Open, ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐ŸŒ‰ Cincinnati R2 Preview + Prediction
(3) ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Angelique Kerber vs ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ Ekaterina Makarova

Angelique Kerber will be out for revenge when she comes up against Ekaterina Makarova in the second round of the Western & Southern Open on Wednesday. Kerber was defeated by Makarova in straight sets in the opening round of Roland Garros earlier this year. These two have a long history, this will be the 13th meeting between the pair, Kerber holds a 7-5 record over Makarova but it the Russian who heads into this clash with form on her side.

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Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Yulia Putintseva, Cincinnati R2 Preview

Western & Southern Open, ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐ŸŒ‰ Cincinnati R2 Preview + Prediction
(8) ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ Svetlana Kuznetsova vs ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Yulia Putintseva

Svetlana Kuznetsova will begin her 2017 Western & Southern Open campaign on Wednesday with a second round encounter against Kazakhstanโ€™s Yulia Putintseva. As the 8th seed, Kuznetsova received a bye through to the second round in Cincinnati. The Russian will be keen to start the event strong as she looks to rebuild momentum after a disappointing first round loss at the Rogers Cup last week. Interestingly, Putintseva won the only previous match between the pair earlier this year at St. Petersburg.

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Jelena Ostapenko vs Aleksandra Krunic, Cincinnati R1 Preview

Western & Southern Open, ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐ŸŒ‰ Cincinnati R1 Preview + Prediction
(12) ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ป Jelena Ostapenko vs (Q) ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ธ Aleksandra Krunic

Jelena Ostapenko made a disappointing start to her U.S Open series campaign last week in Toronto. The reigning Roland Garros champion suffered a shock three set loss to Varvara Lepchenko in the opening round of the Rogers Cup, the Latvian will be keen to have a much better week in Cincinnati. Ostapenko will begin her Western & Southern Open campaign on Tuesday with an opening round clash against Serbian qualifier Aleksandra Krunic.

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Agnieszka Radwanska vs Julia Goerges, Cincinnati R1 Preview

Western & Southern Open, ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐ŸŒ‰ Cincinnati R1 Preview + Prediction
(10) ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ Agnieszka Radwanska vs ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Julia Goerges

Agnieszka Radwanska showed signs of a form reversal in Toronto last week and will be hoping to continue to gain momentum in Cincinnati. Radwanska will begin her Western & Southern Open campaign on Tuesday with a tough opening round clash against an in-form Julia Goerges. Radwanska holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Goerges but it is the German who has generally been playing the better tennis of late, it will be interesting to see if Radwanska is still able to maintain her winning ways over Goerges.

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Mirjana Lucic-Baroni vs Carla Suarez Navarro, Cincinnati R1 Preview

Western & Southern Open, ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐ŸŒ‰ Cincinnati R1 Preview + Prediction
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท Mirjana Lucic-Baroni vs ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Carla Suarez Navarro

Mirjana Lucic-Baroniโ€™s form has severely dropped away towards the second half of the year after a brilliant start to the year that saw her make history by reaching the semi-finals at the Australian Open. Lucic-Baroni has lost 7 of her last 9 matches and will be looking to reignite her season in Cincinnati, starting with a difficult first round clash against Carla Suarez Navarro. The Spaniard has won both of the previous matches between the pair and will like her chances of continuing her unbeaten record over the Croatian.

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Taylor Townsend vs Monica Puig, Cincinnati R1 Preview

Western & Southern Open, ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐ŸŒ‰ Cincinnati R1 Preview + Prediction
(Q) ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Taylor Townsend vs (Q) ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ท Monica Puig

Monica Puig has had an extremely disappointing season, time is running out for Puig to turn things around in 2017. The 2016 Rio Olympics show that Puig can turn things on at any moment, Puig comes up against Taylor Townsend in the opening round of the Western & Southern Open on Monday. Townsend and Puig both reached the main draw in Cincinnati by progressing through a tough qualifying draw. This will be the first career meeting between Townsend and Puig.

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Serena Williams vs Simona Halep, Cincinnati Final Preview

Cincinnati Final: (1) Serena Williams vs (3) Simona Halep

We are left with a blockbuster final at the 2015 Western & Southern Open. The current world number 1 and defending champion Serena Williams will take on the soon to be world number 2 Simona Halep. It could be argued that Simona is currently Serenaโ€™s biggest threat on the tour, it will be interesting to see how far the Romanian can push Serena on Sunday.

Serena Williams cruised through her opening two matches in Cincinnati, picking up routine straight set victories over Tsvetana Pironkova and Karin Knapp. However the American was far less convincing in her victory over Ana Ivanovic in the quarter-finals, making a sluggish start before eventually coming back to win from a set and a break down. Serena made another slow start in her semi-final victory over Elina Svitolina, the American eventually fought her way to a 6-4 6-3 victory. Serena will be looking for a much more consistent performance in the final.

 

Simona Halep has defied the critics this week to reach her fifth final of the year. The Romanian was forced to retire in the final of the Rogers Cup last week and arrived in Cincinnati with question marks surrounding her fitness. The Romanian has shown incredible resistance this week, picking up hard fought victories over Kristina Mladenovic, Andrea Petkovic and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Simona secured the number 2 ranking and moved into the final with a commanding 6-1 6-2 thumping of Jelena Jankovic on Saturday night. Simona was far too powerful and disciplined for a hapless Jankovic.

Serena and Simona have built up an exciting rivalry over the past year. Simona famously smashed Serena 6-0 6-2 in Singapore last year, the Romanianโ€™s first and only victory over Williams. Since then Serena has won their only two encounters, including an extremely hard fought 6-2 4-6 7-5 victory in Miami earlier this year. Serena holds an overall 5-1 head to head advantage over Simona.

Serena will be wary of the threats Simona possess and will still be looking to punish Simona for embarrassing her in Singapore last year. In Serenaโ€™s last match before the U.S Open I expect the American to be very fired up and determined to win yet another title. Serena is almost unbeatable in finals and should too strong for a tiring Halep.

Prediction: Serena Williams to defeat Simona Halep in 2 sets