Eugenie Bouchard vs Angelique Kerber, Hopman Cup Preview

Hopman Cup Preview, Canada vs Germany
🇨🇦 Eugenie Bouchard vs 🇩🇪 Angelique Kerber

Eugenie Bouchard and Angelique Kerber made contrasting starts to their Hopman Cup campaigns. Bouchard was pretty disappointing in a straight set loss to Daria Gavrilova whilst Kerber won a high level encounter over Elise Mertens in 2 tight sets. Interestingly, it is Bouchard who has had a lot of success in this match-up, Bouchard holds a 4-2 head-to-head record.

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Eugenie Bouchard was uncompetitive for the most part in her opening match at the Hopman Cup. Gavrilova defeated Burchard 6-1 6-4, the Aussie made the Canadian look second-rate for the majority of the match. Bouchard is clearly still lacking in confidence, Bouchard has lost 12 of her last 14 matches.

Angelique Kerber made an impressive debut at the Hopman Cup. Kerber got Germany off to a winning start by claiming an impressive 7-6 7-6 win over Elise Mertens. It was a very high quality encounter, Kerber was the tougher of the two in the critical moments, experience seemed to get Kerber over the line. Kerber also won the deciding mixed doubles tie alongside Alexander Zverev.

Bouchard has won 4 of the last 5 matches against Kerber, a surprising record given where these two stand in the game. Most recently, Bouchard led Kerber 6-3 5-0 in Madrid last year before the German retired. Kerber will be determined to turn her poor record against Bouchard again, can she get the better of the Canadian in Perth?

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Daria Gavrilova vs Elise Mertens, Hopman Cup Preview

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.

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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.

Anastasia PAvlyuchenkova vs Belinda Bencic, Hopman Cup Preview

Hopman Cup Preview, Russia vs Switzerland
🇷🇺 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs 🇨🇭 Belinda Bencic

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will take on Belinda Bencic on Tuesday evening at the Hopman Cup. Pavlyuchenkova and Bencic had contrasting starts to the season, Pavlyuchenkova was beaten by Vandeweghe in straight sets whilst Bencic defeated Osaka in straight sets. This should be a quality encounters between two fairly evenly matches players.

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Pavlyuchenkova was no match for Vandeweghe in her Hopman Cup debut. Pavlyuchenkova was beaten 3-6 3-6, another straight set loss to the American on a hard court. Pavlyuchenkova is making a trend of struggling against players that can better her power as it exposes her weaknesses: her movement and poor defense.

Belinda Bencic is on a 16-match winning streak at all level. After ending the 2017 season with 3 titles in a row (2 WTA 125K titles and an ITF 100K title), Bencic kept her winning momentum going in Perth. Bencic claimed an impressive 7-5 6-3 win over Naomi Osaka in what was a high quality encounter.

Bencic holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Pavlyuchenkova. Most recently Bencic won 6-7 6-4 6-2 at the quarter-final stage in St. Petersburg in 2016.

Elise Mertens vs Angelique Kerber, Hopman Cup Preview

Hopman Cup, Belgium vs Germany

🇧🇪 Elise Mertens vs 🇩🇪 Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber will begin her 2018 campaign on Monday against Elise Mertens at the Hopman Cup. Kerber and Mertens will both be competing in Perth for the first time, this will also be the first career meeting between the pair. Kerber and Mertens went in different directions in 2017, Kerber had a disappointing year whilst Mertens had the best year of her career. This should be an entertaining match-up between two players that generally give very little away for free, expect many long rallies.

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After an unbelievable 2016 season that saw Kerber win 2 Grand Slam titles and become world number 1, the German had a lacklustre 2017 which saw her drop to 21 in the world. Kerber was seemingly unable to deal with her new status as a multiple Grand Slam champion, it seemed that Kerber struggled for inspiration having achieved the ultimate highs in 2016. It will be interesting to see if Kerber can rebound in 2018. The Hopman Cup should be an ideal setting for Kerber to start her year, she does not have to worry about ranking points and knows has a guaranteed 3 matches to play.

Elise Mertens had a breakthrough year in 2017, it all started for Mertens during the Australian summer when she came through the qualifying draw to win the Hobart International. 2018 will be a new experience for Mertens, especially in Hobart where she will be a defending champion at an event for the first time. Therefore, it is particularly important for Mertens to gain momentum in Perth before she heads off to Hobart.



It will be interesting to see how this match-up unfolds given it will be the first time the pair have gone head-to-head. Both Kerber and Mertens are great defenders whilst both possess good power and ability to be aggressive when they need to be. Obviously Kerber is the more accomplished of the pair and has more firepower and slightly more versatility to her game. Expect this to be a fairly close match.

Naomi Osaka vs Belinda Bencic, Hopman Cup Preview

Hopman Cup, Japan vs Switzerland

🇯🇵 Naomi Osaka vs 🇨🇭 Belinda Bencic

Japan will take on Switzerland in the second tie of the opening day of action at the 2018 Hopman Cup. Naomi Osaka will be representing Japan in what will be her first appearance in Perth. Belinda Bencic will be playing for Switzerland, alongside Roger Federer for the second year in a row. This should be an exciting encounter between two of the games most promising young talents.

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Belinda Bencic ended a frustrating 2017 season on a high. Bencic won back-to-back 125K events in Hua-Hin and Taipei to ensure she would end the 2017 season in the top 100. Bencic further boosted her ranking by ending her season with victory at the 100K ITF event in Dubai. At her best, Bencic has proved that she is a solid top 15 player, it will be interesting to see the heights Bencic can reach in 2018 if she stays fit and healthy.

2017 was a big year for Naomi Osaka. It is clear that Osaka has a great amount of potential, Osaka has a big game, capable of beating the best players in the world. Osaka claimed some notable victories in 2017, a first round win over Angelique Kerber at the U.S Open and a victory over Venus Williams in Hong Kong.



Belinda Bencic is the more experienced of the two when it comes to representing their country. Firstly, Bencic has previous experience at the Hopman Cup, whilst Osaka does not. Bencic has been a regular part of the Switzerland Fed Cup team over the last few years, helping her nation reach the semi-final stage of the world group in the last two years. Osaka made her Fed Cup debut in 2017, playing at the lower tiers of the event.

The only previous meeting between the pair took place in 2013 at an ITF event. Osaka won 6-3 6-3 on a clay court in Pelham. Clearly this result is mostly irrelevant heading into this match. It will be interesting to see how these two match up against each other.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs CoCo Vandeweghe, Hopman Cup Preview

Hopman Cup, Russia vs USA

🇷🇺 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs 🇺🇸 CoCo Vandeweghe

Russia and the USA will go head-to-head in the first rubber of the 2018 Hopman Cup in Perth on Saturday. Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will take on the USA’s CoCo Vandeweghe in the first match of the day. This should be a very competitive encounter between two players looking to have a big 2018 season. It will be important for both players to make a positive start to the season at the Hopman Cup, gaining momentum before heading to the first Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne.

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Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will be competing in Perth at the Hopman Cup for the first time. The Russian team was initially going to be represented by Svetlana Kuznetsova but the veteran had to pull out due to injury, opening the door for Pavlyuchenkova. Conversely, Vandeweghe is no stranger to the Hopman Cup format having played at the event last year. Vandeweghe saves her best tennis for when she plays for her country. Vandeweghe spearheaded the USA’s winning Fed Cup campaign in 2017, Vandeweghe was involved in all 3 victories in the USA’s 3-2 win over Belarus in the final which was also the case in their semi-final over the Czech Republic.



This is a big year for both Pavlyuchenkova and Vandeweghe, both are at similar positions in their careers, looking to consolidate a spot in the top 10 by seasons end. Both Pavlyuchenkova and Vandeweghe had positive Australian summers in 2017, Pavlyuchenkova made the Australian Open quarter-final whilst Vandeweghe made it to the semi-finals in Melbourne. Both will look to replicate those results in 2018, a strong Hopman Cup will be important for both.

CoCo Vandeweghe leads the head-to-head between the pair, 2-1. The most recent match came towards the end of 2017 where Vandeweghe destroyed Pavlyuchenkova 6-2 6-3.

Hopman Cup Day 2 Preview

Ukraine vs United States: Elina Svitolina vs Serena Williams

Serena Williams will begin her 2016 season on Monday when she comes up against Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine at the Hopman Cup in Perth. Serena dominated the tour in 2016, coming agonizingly close to winning all four Grand Slams. Serena will be determined to once again dominate at the Grand Slam level and claim another Olympic gold medal in Brazil in 2016.

Serena made a sluggish start to her 2015 season at the Hopman Cup, the American used the tournament as a genuine warm-up and ended up losing 3 of her 4 matches at the event. It turned out to be a good preparation for Serena as she went on to win the Australian Open for the first time since 2010. It will be interesting to see if Serena takes a similarly relaxed approach to the Hopman Cup in 2016.

 

Elina Svitolina continued her rise up the rankings in 2015 and is expected to continue to climb in season 2016. This will be the first time a Ukrainian team has taken part in the event for 21 years. Svitolina will see her clash with Serena Williams as a real opportunity to claim her maiden victory over the world number 1.

Serena has won all 3 previous encounters between the pair, including a 6-4 6-3 victory at the semi-final stage in Cincinnati last year in their most recent clash. This looks like a good opportunity for Elina to pick up a victory over Serena given the American’s approach to the tournament last year. Svitolina is the type of players that will always give her all and will be a tough opponent for Serena in her first match of the year. Serena is usually quite rusty in her very first match of the season, an upset looks possible.

Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Serena Williams in 3 sets
Great Britain vs France: Heather Watson vs Caroline Garcia

Heather Watson and Caroline Garcia enter 2016 at a very similar stage in their careers. Both have shown that they have potential to compete with the very best players in the world, however both have been unable to make a major impact at the Grand Slam level and at other big events on a consistent basis. Both Heather and Caroline will be looking to change that in 2016, they will look to use the Hopman cup to gain much needed momentum heading into the first Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne.

Heather Watson has won both of the previous encounters between the pair, including an epic 1-6 6-3 8-6 victory at Wimbledon last year in their most recent clash. However, I think it will be third time lucky for Garcia on Monday, she will finally pick up a victory over Watson.

Prediction: Caroline Garcia to defeat Heather Watson in 3 sets

Hopman Cup Day 1 Preview

The 2016 Hopman Cup will begin on Sunday where both Australian teams will be in action. Serena Williams will be the headline act at the event for the second year in a row, the tournament also features a number of WTA rising stars including Karolina Pliksova, Elina Svitolina, Caroline Garcia and Daria Gavrilova. Unfortunately Poland will not be defending their title 2016 title, a new champion will be crowned.

Australia Green vs Germany: Daria Gavrilova vs Sabine Lisicki

Daria Gavrilova will be representing Australia for the very first time when she contests the opening match of the tournament against German Sabine Lisicki on Sunday.

It will be interesting to see how Gavrilova responds to the occasion, this will be an important moment for Daria. Gavrilova is a passionate character and should thrive in this type of situation, Daria will be keen to impress with a spot in the Australian Fed Cup team up for grabs in 2016.

Sabine Lisicki will be making her first appearance at the Hopman Cup since 2010. Lisicki has struggled at the Australian Open in recent years, failing to get passed in the second round in her last three appearances. Sabine will be hoping a change in preparation will lead to better results in Melbourne, a guaranteed 3 matches is always useful.

This will be the first ever meeting between Daria and Sabine. The two were scheduled to meet in the second round at Roland Garros last year but Daria was forced to hand Sabine a walkover due to injury.

This is an interesting match-up between one of the hardest hitters on the tour and one of the quickest players on the tour. Both have the ability to hurt the other, it will all be about who is able to execute their game in their first competitive match of the year. I think Gavrilova will be extra motivated to pick up a victory in her first match representing Australia. It will be tough for Sabine to come out and hit Daria off the court in her first match of the year.

Prediction: Daria Gavrilova to defeat Sabine Lisicki in 3 sets
Australia Gold vs Czech Republic: Jarmila Gajdosova vs Karolina Pliskova

Both Jarmila Gajdosova and Karolina Pliskova were late entries into the 2016 Hopman Cup. Jarmila Gajdosova is replacing the injured Casey Dellacqua whilst Karolina Pliskova is replacing the injured Lucie Safarova. This promises to be fast paced match between two ladies who prefer to keep rallies as short as possible. 

Jarmila and Karolina are quite experienced when it comes to representing their country, Gajdosova has represented Australia in the Fed Cup world group stage whilst Karolina Pliskova was a crucial member of a triumphant Czech Republic Fed Cup team in 2016.

Karolina Pliskova and Jarmila Gajdosova were both pretty active during the off-season, competing in the IPTL. Karolina’s off-season was particularly busy given she also competed in the Fed Cup final, this could give Karolina an edge heading into this event as she will not be as rusty as her opponents.

Karolina won the only previous encounter between the pair, a 7-6 6-1 victory in Miami 2013 at the qualifying stage. Karolina does most things better than Jarmila and should enjoy the slightly more relaxed atmosphere at the Hopman Cup.

Prediction: Karolina Pliskova to defeat Jarmila Gajdosova in 2 sets