🇫🇷 Roland Garros, R4 Preview 🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇧🇪 (16) Elise Mertens
The top seeded Simona Halep continues her quest for an elusive maiden Grand Slam title on Monday with a fourth round clash against the 16th seeded Elise Mertens. The Belgian looms as a decent test for Halep as we enter the second week in Paris. Mertens has an awesome 14-1 record on clay in 2018, her only loss was at the hands of Halep in Madrid.
Halep made a nervous start to her Roland Garros campaign but has looked more solid in her last couple of matches. After coming from a set down to defeat Alison Riske in the opening round Halep was reasonably untroubled in her next couple of matches. Halep defeated Taylor Townsend 6-3 6-1 and Andrea Petkovic 7-5 6-0 to book her spot in the round of 16.
Elise Mertens is into the second week in Paris for the first time having smashed her previous Grand Slam best in Melbourne earlier this year where she reached the semi-finals. Mertens also came through a tough opening round match where she was forced to come from a set down to defeat Varvara Lepchenko. Mertens has certainly improved her level as the tournaments has gone on, the 16th seed defeated Heather Watson 6-4 6-3 in the second round followed by an impressive 6-3 6-1 demolition of the 24th seeded Daria Gavrilova.
The only previous match between the pair took place in Madrid earlier this year, the match ended in a comfortable 6-0 6-3 win for the Romanian.
To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here
Roland Garros, R3 Preview 🇧🇪 (16) Elise Mertens to defeat 🇦🇺 (24) Daria Gavrilova
Elise Mertens and Daria Gavrilova will renew hostilities when they meet at the third round stage at Roland Garros on Saturday. Mertens has proven to be a real nemesis for Gavrilova in recent times, the Belgian has won the last two matches between the pair, both at the Grand Slam level, including a straight set win in Melbourne earlier this year. Gavrilova will be keen for revenge here as both players seek to reach the second week in Paris for the first time.
Elise Mertens has not been at her best through her first few matches in Paris, but she still managed to claim two hard-fought wins without a great level of tennis. Mertens started the event with a surprisingly long 6-7 7-6 6-0 win over Varvara Lepchenko. Mertens produced a slightly more consistent performance in the second round to defeat Heather Watson 6-3 6-4 but overall it was another unconvincing performance from the 16th seed. Mertens has made a real habit out of winning tough matches, she doesn’t need to play her best to win the majority of her matches, which is a good thing, but she will need to step it up to stay alive in Paris.
It has been a roller coaster ride to the third round for Daria Gavrilova. The Aussie came from a set and a break down in each of her first two victories in Paris. In the opening round Gavrilova defeated Sorana Cirstea 4-6 7-6 6-3 in a rain interrupted match. Gavrilova’s second round win was even more dramatic, a 5-7 7-5 6-3 win over Bernarda Pera. Gavrilova led 5-2 in the opening set before losing 8 straight games, Pera led 5-2 in the second set before losing 5 straight games, two huge collapses. Gavrilova was too solid in the deciding set, coming from 0-2 down to win quite comfortably. Gavrilova certainly isn’t playing great tennis but one can’t question her determination.
Mertens holds a 2-1 H2H record over Gavrilova. The Belgian has won the last two matches between the pair, a 7-6 1-6 6-4 win at Roland Garros last year and a 7-5 6-3 win at the Australian Open earlier this year. Will Mertens make it 3 in a row over the Aussie?
To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here
Mutua Madrid Open, R2 Preview 🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇧🇪 Elise Mertens
A blockbuster second round clash in Madrid sees the two-time defending champion take on one of the form players on tour right now as Simona Halep comes up against Elise Mertens. Halep has won her last 13 matches in Madrid whilst Mertens is on an 11-match winning streak having arrived in Madrid fresh off winning back-to-back title in Lugano and Rabat. All is set for an exciting encounter in what will be the first career meeting between the pair. Can the in-form Mertens stop Halep’s magical run in Madrid?
Simona Halep made the perfect start to her title defense in Madrid. The world number 1 crushed Ekaterina Makarova 6-1 6-0 in just 51 minutes in what was a near-flawless performance by Halep. Halep is clearly the player to beat this week, the Romanian is extremely comfortable in Madrid, the quick clay courts suit her game perfectly. Halep is bidding to become the first player to win the Mutua Madrid Open on three occasions, the early signs are good for the top seed but Mertens will provide her first real test on Tuesday.
Elise Mertens is arguably the form player on tour right now. Mertens arrived in Madrid fresh off winning back-to-back title on clay, wins in Lugano and Rabat saw her reach an equal tour level high off 3 titles to her name in 2018 and rise to a career high ranking of 16 in the world. Mertens had little time to prepare for Madrid having arrived from Rabat a day before her first round match. Nevertheless, Mertens was solid enough to claim a 6-4 6-4 win over compatriot Alison Van Uytvanck, Mertens was too strong at the critical stage of each set.
It will be interesting to see how this match-up pans out in what will be the first career meeting between the two. Expect a high quality match between two in-form and confident opponents.
To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here
Australian Open, 🇦🇺 Semi-Final Preview
🇩🇰 (2) Caroline Wozniacki vs 🇧🇪 Elise Mertens
Caroline Wozniacki and Elise Mertens will meet in the first semi-final of the day on Thursday at Melbourne Park. Wozniacki is now one step away from reaching her first Australian Open final, her third Grand Slam final overall and is two steps away from finally claiming a maiden Grand Slam title. In Wozniacki’s way is an in form Elise Mertens who will be competing in her first Grand Slam semi-final in what is her first ever appearance in the main draw at Melbourne Park. Whilst on paper this may look like an easy match-up for Wozniacki, Mertens is playing the best tennis of her life at the moment, if the Belgian can carry her quarter-final form into this match she will be a huge threat to the Dane.
Caroline Wozniacki has never had a greater opportunity to win her first Grand Slam title. The Dane has improved her game in all area’s and may finally be ready to step up and make the most of this opportunity. Wozniacki received a second life in the tournament in the second round where she saved match point and came from 1-5 down in the deciding set to beat Jana Fett. Since that match, Wozniacki has been much improved. The world number 2 defeated Kiki Bertens and Magdalena Rybarikova in straight sets before confirming her spot in the semi-finals with a 6-0 6-7 6-2 win over Carla Suarez Navarro.
Elise Mertens is riding a huge way of momentum, the Belgian has now won 10 matches in a row having arrived in Melbourne fresh off a title run in Hobart. Mertens has stormed into her first Grand Slam semi-final without dropping a set at Melbourne Park. Mertens strolled through to the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time with straight set wins over Viktoria Kuzmova, Daria Gavrilova and Alize Cornet. In the fourth round Mertens came through a nervy clash against Petra Martic before producing her best performance of the tournament thus far to thrash Elina Svitolina 6-4 6-0 in what was the best match the Belgian has played in her career. Mertens executed an ultra-aggressive game against Svitolina, playing a huge percentage of point inside the baseline, consistently punishing Svitolina with her powerful, dynamic game.
It was Wozniacki who won the only previous match between the pair, a hard-fought 7-5 4-6 6-2 victory on clay in Bastad last year. That match showed that Mertens does have the game to really challenge Wozniacki, if Mertens can bring her best tennis to Thursday’s semi-final match in Melbourne she may well cause another big upset.
Australian Open 🇦🇺 Quarter-Final Preview 🇺🇦 (4) Elina Svitolina vs 🇧🇪 Elise Mertens
Elina Svitolina and Elise Mertens will both be aiming to reach a Grand Slam semi-final for the first time when the pair collide at quarter-final stage of the Australian Open on Tuesday. Svitolina and Mertens have had similarly impressive starts to the season. Svitolina arrived in Melbourne fresh off winning the Brisbane International title whilst Mertens entered the first Grand Slam of the year on the back of winning the Hobart International title. Who will keep their winning streak going and move one step closer to winning a maiden Grand Slam title?
Elina Svitolina has been criticised for not having the Grand Slam results to match her lofty ranking. The Ukrainian has a major opportunity to change this in Melbourne. Svitolina has reached her third Grand Slam quarter-final, her first away from Roland Garros. The Ukrainian started the week with a comfortable win over Ivana Jorovic before coming from a set down to defeat Katerina Siniakova. The 4th seed has cruised into the final 8 with comfortable straight set wins over Marta Kostyuk and Denisa Allertova. There is a big opportunity for Svitolina to reach the final from here, Svitolina is a strong favourite against Mertens and will fancy her chances against either Caroline Wozniacki or Carla Suarez Navarro in the semi-finals.
Elise Mertens will be no pushover. Mertens is competing in the main draw of the Australian Open for the first time. It was been an outstanding couple of weeks for Mertens. This time last year Mertens was unable to compete in the qualifying draw because she was still in the Hobart draw. 12 months later, Mertens successfully defended her Hobart title and is now into her first Grand Slam quarter-final. Mertens has reached the final 8 in Melbourne without dropping a set. The 22-year-old has claimed straight set wins over Viktoria Kuzmova, Daria Gavrilova, Alize Cornet and Petra Martic.
It was Svitolina who won the only previous meeting between the pair. A 6-2 6-4 victory in the Istanbul final last year on clay.
Australian Open 🇦🇺 R4 Preview
🇭🇷 Petra Martic vs 🇧🇪 Elise Mertens
An unexpected fourth round match-up at Melbourne Park on Sunday sees Petra Martic take on Elise Mertens. This is a huge opportunity for Martic and Mertens, both ladies will be playing to reach the quarter-final stage of a Grand Slam for the very first time. To add to the tension, this will be the first career meeting between Martic and Mertens.
Petra Martic has made a good habit of saving her best tennis for Grand Slam events. Martic came through the qualifying draw to reach the round of 16 at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon last year and now finds herself at the round 16 stage at Melbourne Park for the first time. Martic started the event with a couple of tough straight set wins over Alison Van Uytvanck and Irina-Camelia Begu. Martic confirmed her spot in the round 16 with a 6-3 3-6 7-5 win over Lesia Kumkhum. The final set of Martic’s win over Kumkhum was one of the most entertaining sets of tennis of the tournament thus far. The pair remained on serve until 5-5 where Martic finally broke the Kumkhum serve before she successfully served out the match. Martic kept her cool under pressure very impressively in the final set against Kumkhum.
Elise Mertens is in awesome form. Mertens arrived in Melbourne on a high having successfully defended her Hobart title. Mertens has cruised through to the round of 16 in Melbourne without dropping a set, the first time she has reached this stage of a Grand Slam. Mertens started the event with wins over Viktoria Kuzmova and Daria Gavrilova before securing her spot in the round of 16 with a 7-5 6-4 win over Alize Cornet in brutally hot conditions.
This will be the first career meeting between the pair.
Australian Open 🇦🇺 R3 Preview
🇧🇪 Elise Mertens vs 🇫🇷 Alize Cornet
Elise Mertens and Alize Cornet have been presented a golden opportunity to reach the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park, both have never reached the quarter-final stage of a Grand Slam. Mertens and Cornet will meet at the third round stage on Friday, the winner of this match will play either Lesia Kumkhum or Petra Martic for a spot In the quarter-finals. Clearly this is a very favourable draw, a unique opportunity, which of these two will step up and grab this opportunity?
Elise Mertens arrived at Melbourne Park full of confidence after winning the singles and doubles titles at the Hobart International. Mertens is competing in the main draw of the Australian Open for the first time. Mertens cruised through her first main draw match in Melbourne, beating Viktoria Kuzmova 6-2 6-1. The Belgian secured her spot in the third round with a 7-5 6-3 victory over Daria Gavrilova on Rod Laver Arena. Mertens found herself down 0-5 in the opening set but managed to save 8 set points on route to winning the next 7 games to take the first set. Mertens is clearly in great form right now having won 7 matches in a row.
Alize Cornet advanced to the third round courtesy of a huge upset victory over Julia Goerges, Cornet defeated the German 12th seed 6-4 6-3. Cornet entered the second round match as a huge outsider. Goerges entered the match on 15-match winning streak and a perfect 5-0 record over Cornet. However, it was the Frenchwoman that stepped up and played the better tennis on the night, one of the biggest wins for Cornet in recent times. In the opening round Cornet defeated Xinyu Wang 6-4 6-2.
This will be the first career meeting between Mertens and Cornet.
Hobart International 🇦🇺🌧️ Final Preview
(2) 🇧🇪 Elise Mertens vs 🇷🇴 Mihaela Buzarnescu
Elise Mertens will have the opportunity to defend her Hobart International title on Saturday when she comes up against the unheralded Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu. The Hobart International is the longest running WTA tournament to have never had a repeat winner. Elise Mertens has a good opportunity to break this record. Mertens won her first and only WTA tournament in Hobart last year where she came all the way through the qualifying draw. The Belgian rising-star will fancy her chances in Saturday’s final against Buzarnescu.
Elise Mertens has made a very good start to the 2018 season, just as she did in 2017. Mertens had a good week at the Hopman Cup where she won 2 out of 3 matches before heading down to Hobart. In Hobart Mertens cruised through her opening couple of matches against Kurumi Nara and Beatriz Haddad Maia in straight sets. Mertens booked her spot in Saturday final with a 6-4 1-6 6-2 win over Heather Watson. Mertens showed good maturity to rebound strongly after being outplayed in the second set by Watson.
Mihaela Buzarnescu has reached the final in Hobart without dropping a set. This time last year, Buzarnescu was ranked outside the top 500. Now at the age of 29, Buzarnescu will enter the top 50 for the first time and will contest in her first WTA level final on Sunday. Buzarnescu advanced to the final 4 in Hobart with wins over Alize Cornet, Anna-Lena Friedsam and Alison Riske. Buzarnescu’s most comfortable win came at the semi-final stage where she comprehensively outplayed a lacklustre Lesia Tsurenko to win 6-2 6-2.
Elise Mertens has won the two prior meetings between the pair, both in 2015 on clay at the ITF level. A lot has changed this then, both have dramatically risen up the rankings. Saturday’s match is huge for both ladies, who will make the most of this golden opportunity?
Hobart International 🇦🇺🌧️ SF #2 Preview
(2) 🇧🇪 Elise Mertens vs (Q) 🇬🇧 Heather Watson
Two former champions will go head-to-head at the semi-final stage in Hobart on Friday when defending champion: Elise Mertens takes on 2015 champion: Heather Watson. The Hobart International is the longest running WTA tournament that has not had multiple time winners, either Mertens or Watson will reach Saturday’s final and have a chance to break this record. This is should be a highly competitive match between two fairly evenly matches opponents.
Elise Mertens has started 2018 in superb form. Mertens had a good week at the Hopman Cup where she won 2 of her 3 matches, beating Daria Gavrilova and Eugenie Bouchard, in defeat Mertens was gallant as she pushed Angelique Kerber more than any other player in Perth. Mertens claimed her first career title in Hobart last year, doing it the hard way having come through the qualifying draw. The 2nd seed seemingly has a good chance to defend her title this week, Mertens started the event with straight set wins over Kurumi Nara and Beatriz Haddad Maia before securing her spot in the semi-finals courtesy of Monica Niculescu handing the Belgian a walkover.
Like Mertens, Heather Watson always loves playing in Hobart. The 2015 Hobart International champion has already won 5 matches this week having come through the qualifying draw. In the main draw, Watson has claimed 3 impressive wins in straight sets. Watson eliminated the 3rd seeded Sorana Cirstea in the opening round before beating Jaimee Fourlis comfortably 6-2 6-2. Watson booked her spot in the final 4 with a 6-0 6-4 win over Vekic. Watson was generally in full control of the match, dominant until 6-0 5-0. It was a nervy finish but Watson eventually got over the line.
The only previous match between the pair took place in Luxembourg last year, Mertens won that match 6-4 6-4. Will Mertens repeat that result and step closer to defending her title?
Hopman Cup Preview, Australia vs Belgium
🇦🇺 Daria Gavrilova vs 🇧🇪 Elise Mertens
Daria Gavrilova made an impressive start to her 2018 Hopman Cup campaign, the Aussie comfortably defeated Eugenie Bouchard in straight sets, 6-1 6-4. Gavrilova, a former champion at the Hopman, will be back in action on Wednesday when she comes up against Belgium’s Elise Mertens. This should be a close, entertaining contest between two very evenly matches players.
Daria Gavrilova is becoming a bit of a Hopman Cup specialist. The 2016 Hopman Cup champion clearly enjoys playing in Perth, the quick hard courts and home crowd support seem like a perfect environment for Gavrilova. The adopted Aussie improved her Hopman Cup record on Sunday, claiming a comprehensive 6-1 6-4 win over Eugenie Bouchard. Gavrilova will face a tougher test when she takes on Belgium’s Elise Mertens on Wednesday.
Elise Mertens may have been defeated in her Hopman Cup debut on Monday evening but there was little shame in the way she played. Mertens pushed Angelique Kerber all the way in a high quality, entertaining encounter, ultimately succumbing 6-7 6-7. Mertens had her chances in both sets but her level did drop in critical moments, something the 22-year-old will have to work on.
The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. Most recently It was Mertens who claimed a 7-6 1-6 6-4 victory at Roland Garros in 2017, Gavrilova beat Mertens 6-2 6-1 in Marrakech a few weeks earlier.