Agnieszka Radwanska vs Jelena Jankovic, Indian Wells R4 Preview

Indian Wells R4: (3) Agnieszka Radwanska vs (19) Jelena Jankovic

A fascinating fourth round clash on Tuesday at the BNP Paribas Open sees former finalist Agnieszka Radwanska come up against former champion Jelena Jankovic for a spot in the quarter-finals. Radwanska and Jankovic both head into this match full of confidence after recording very impressive third round victories on Sunday, this promises to be a highly competitive clash.

Agnieszka Radwanska survived an epic second round encounter in her first match of the tournament. The Pole came from 2-5 down in the final set against Dominika Cibulkova, saving a match point in the process to record a memorable 6-3 3-6 7-5 victory. Radwanska produced a much more consistent performance in her third round match, playing some stunning tennis on route to a 6-2 6-1 victory over Monica Niculescu. Radwanska did very little wrong in that match and played multiple trademark trick shots. Aga will be confident heading into her match with Jankovic given her positive record over the Serb.

 

Jelena Jankovic seems to save her best tennis for Indian Wells, the Serb enjoys the desert conditions and again looks dangerous at the BNP Paribas Open in 2016. Jankovic has dropped just 5 games in her opening 2 matches of this year's event. Jankovic started the week with a 6-1 6-3 victory over Carina Witthoeft before destroying CoCo Vandeweghe 6-0 6-1 in an emphatic performance. 

Radwanska has generally dominated Jankovic in the past. The Pole holds a 6-2 head-to-head record over the Serb and has won all 4 of their previous meetings on a hard court. Radwanska claimed a hard-fought 7-5 6-4 victory in the third round at Wimbledon last year in their most recent match.

I expect this to be a really tight match between two players that are generally quite evenly matched, especially on a slower, bouncier surface like the one at Indian Wells. I’m leaning towards a Radwanska victory given she has never lost to Jankovic on a hard court and given her solid recent from. Aga is generally more solid and has more variety from the baseline which is usually an important factor in this match-up 

Prediction: Agnieszka Radwanska to defeat Jelena Jankovic in 3 sets


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Serena Williams vs Jelena Jankovic Preview – W&S Open Quarter-Final

(1) Serena Williams vs (8) Jelena Jankovic

Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic will contest the first quarter-final at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati on Friday afternoon. Serena and Jelena have a long and colorful history; their matches are often filled with drama.

After a tough second round victory over Sam Stosur, Serena’s third round victory over Flavia Pennetta was much more straightforward. Serena cruised to a 6-2 6-2 victory over the Italian number 1. Serena’s victory over Flavia was one of her cleanest victories since her shock loss at Wimbledon to Alize Cornet. Courtesy of reaching the quarter-finals in Cincinnati, Serena now has an insurmountable lead at the top of the Emirates U.S Open series leaderboard.

Jelena Jankovic progressed to the quarter-finals in Cincinnati with a tight straight set victory over American Sloane Stephens. An important victory for the Serb, bringing up her first consecutive victory since Roland Garros. Jelena is one of a very select few to have defeated Serena on numerous occasions. However Jelena will need to raise her level significantly if she is to cause an upset on Friday.

Serena has a 9-4 head-to-head record over Jankovic and has won the last 5 meetings between the pair. Their most recent encounter was earlier this season in Dubai, Serena won comfortably 6-2 6-2, however the match ended on sour note with a confrontation between the two at the net. Despite Serena’s recent dominance over Jelena, their matches are always entertaining. This match promises to be no different, Serena is starting to build some real momentum heading into New York and it's hard to see her being defeated here.

Prediction: Serena Williams to defeat Jelena Jankovic in straight sets

2014 Western & Southern Open Draw Preview & Predictions

The U.S Open series is moving along, Serena reigned supreme in Stanford while Aga overcame her recent form slum to conquer Montreal. Preparations for the final Grand Slam of the season are well underway, with the U.S Open just over two weeks away. The WTA tour heads to the third installment of the Emirates U.S Open series, the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. 19 of the world’s top 20 players will be competing in Cincinnati, for many this will be their last stop before the final Grand Slam of the year in New York.

2013 finalist Serena Williams sits at the top of the draw. The world number 1 enters this event on the back of a shock semi-final loss to older sister Venus in Montreal. Serena has played a lot of tennis in the past couple of weeks, more than any other player in the top 20. Serena will have just a couple of days to regroup for this event; therefore I don't believe she should be considered the raging favourite heading into this event as she usually would be. Just like in Montreal, Serena could potentially face Sam Stosur in the second round. 13th seed, Flavia Pennetta is Serena’s projected third round opponent. Flavia suffered a surprise loss in her opening round match in Montreal, defeated by qualifier Yulia Putintseva. Flavia will be desperate to get a couple of wins on the board here; her draw is quite favorable so I suspect she will progress to the third round

Defending champion Victoria Azarenka and Jelana Jankovic are the other seeded players in this quarter. Vika is a shadow of the player that came from a set down to defeat Serena in last year’s epic final. I expected Vika to take a couple of steps forward in Montreal however that certainly didn't happen. Vika is clearly still struggling with injury; I wouldn't be surprised to see her pull out of this event at some stage. Vika is scheduled to play Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in the opening round. The bottom section of this quarter is stacked; Andrea Petkovic will face Sloane Stephens in the opening round while Garbine Muguruza faces Annika Beck. Andrea Petkovic pulled out of Montreal due to illness, so there are question marks surrounding her fitness heading into this event. I think Sloane will defeat Andrea for a third straight time and go on to have a solid week in Cincinnati. Sloane is my pick to come through this section of the draw.

First Round Match Predictions: Samantha Stosur to defeat Varvara Lepchenko in three sets, (Q) Taylor Townsend to defeat Klara Koukalova in straight sets, (13) Flavia Pennetta to defeat Chanelle Scheepers in straight sets, (10) Victoria Azarenka to defeat Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova in three sets, Sloane Stephens to defeat Andrea Petkovic in straight sets, Garbine Muguruza to defeat Annika Beck in straight sets

Quarter-Final 1 Prediction: (1) Serena Williams vs Sloane Stephens

Montreal champion Agnieszka Radwanska and Angelique Kerber are the top seeds in the second quarter. Aga will have a very limited amount of time to prepare for the Western & Southern Open, however her draw is quite favorable so i'm not going to rule her out. After a first round bye, Aga will face either Kurumi Nara or Romina Oprandi before potentially meeting Sabine Lisicki in the third round for the second week in a row. Sabine faces Roberta Vinci in the opening round before a potential rematch against Sara Errani who she defeated last week in Montreal. I think Aga will defeat Sabine in third round for a second week in a row to come through this section to reach the quarter-finals.

Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber look destined for a third round showdown. After a bye through to the second round, Angie will face either Makarova or Hantuchova in the second round. Makarova is playing quite well at the moment, the Russian reached the semi-finals in both Washington D.C and Montreal. Makarova is certainly capable of troubling Angie. Wozniacki is in the best form she has been in for quite some time; ever since Eastbourne the Dane has really raised her level. Wozniacki pushed Serena all the way in their quarter-final encounter last week in Montreal, just falling short in a tight third set. Wozniacki will play Magdalena Rybarikova in the opening round before playing either Zhang or Watson in the second. On current form the Dane should have no trouble winning her first two matches. I’m picking Wozniacki to come through this section, defeating either Kerber or Makarova in the third round to set up an intriguing clash with Agnieszka Radwanska.

First Round Match Predictions: Kurumi Nara to defeat Romina Oprandi in straight sets, Sabine Lisicki to defeat Roberta Vinci in straight sets, (14) Sara Errani to defeat Yanina Wickmayer in straight sets, (Q) Heather Watson to defeat Shuai Zhang in three sets, Ekaterina Makarova to defeat Daniela Hantuchova in straight sets

Quarter-Final 2 Prediction: (4) Agnieszka Radwanska vs (12) Caroline Wozniacki

Eugenie Bouchard and Petra Kvitova could collide in the quarter-finals in a rematch of this years Wimbledon final. Shelby Rogers upset Genie in her opening round match in Montreal last week. There was so much hype around Genie playing in her home event after her breakthrough results this season. I expect Genie to rebound in Cincinnati. The Canadian receives a bye into the second round where she will face either Camila Giorgi or Svetlana Kuznetsova. Either opponent will be tough but I can’t see Genie losing two in a row. Genie could potentially face 9th seed Ana Ivanovic in the third round. The Serb seems to be struggling with a hip injury so it is not clear how she will go this week. Ana faces good friend Sorana Cirstea in the opening round. With her opening round loss in Montréal, Sorana dropped outside the top 50. Sorana is bound to turn things around eventually.. perhaps this is her chance? Genie will come through this section.

Petra's first tournament since her Wimbledon triumph didn't go to plan for the Czech. Petra was defeated by Makaraova in the third round, losing in three tight sets. Petra Kvitova has a pretty reasonable draw. After her opening round bye she will meet either Lauren Davis or Elina Svitolina in the second round, in the third round she is projected to face Carla Suarez Navarro. Carla produced the upset of the tournament in the Montreal, shocking Maria Sharapova in three sets. Earlier this season Carla defeated Petra in Dubai; Petra would be desperate to avenge that loss if they were to meet in Cincinnati. Petra should come through this section to set up blockbuster quarter-final encounter with Eugenie Bouchard.

First Round Match Predictions: Camila Giorgi to defeat Svetlana Kuznetsova in three sets, (WC) Christina McHale to defeat (Q) Nicole Gibbs in straight sets, Sorana Cirstea to defeat (9) Ana Ivanovic in straight sets, (15) Carla Suarez Navarro to defeat Tsvetana Pironkova in three sets, Casey Dellacqua to defeat Pauline Parmentier in straight sets, Lauren Davis to defeat Elina Svitolina in straight sets

Quarter-Final 3 Prediction: (7) Eugenie Bouchard vs (3) Petra Kvitova

We could see yet another 2014 Grand Slam final rematch as Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep are on track for a quarter-final showdown. Maria Sharapova will be looking for a big week in Cincinnati after a disappointing showing in Montreal. Maria will face a tricky opening match, after receiving a bye through to the second round Maria will face either Alize Cornet or Madison Keys. In the third round Maria is projected to meet Dominika Cibulkova, the Slovakian defeated Maria in their most recent encounter at this year’s Australian open. Dominika Cibulkova faces Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the opening round, a very difficult match to call. Maria was a little rusty in Montréal, which was excusable considering it was her first tournament since Wimbledon. She should be primed and ready for a big week in Cincinnati.

Simona Halep begins her U.S Open series in Cincinnati after deciding to skip Montreal last week. Simona may be a little off her game to begin with, however she should still be able to make her way through a comfortable little section of the draw. After receiving a first round bye the newly crowned world number 2 will play either Polona Hercog or Kirsten Flipkens before a potential meeting with either Lucie Safarova or Venus Williams in the third round. Venus had a stunning week in Montréal winning four three set matches highlighted by her victory over younger sister Serena in the semi-finals. Venus ran out of steam in the final, unable to compete with a determined Agnieszka Radwanska. Venus faces Lucie Safarova in the opening round; I doubt she will have enough time to recover for the match. I’m going for Simona to edge past Lucie in the third round.

First Round Match Predictions: Madison Keys to defeat Alize Cornet in three sets, (WC) Belinda Bencic to defeat (Q) Karin Knapp in three sets, (11) Dominika Cibulkova to defeat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets, (16) Lucie Safarova to defeat Venus Williams in straight sets, (Q) Polona Hercog to defeat Kirsten Klipkens in three setS

Quarter-Final 4 prediction: (5) Maria Sharapova vs (2) Simona Halep

Final Prediction: (2) Maria Sharapova def. (4) Agnieszka Radwanska

Maria Sharapova seems best placed to win the title in Cincinnati. After a disappointing loss to CSN in Montreal, Maria will be desperate for some success in her final tournament before the U.S Open. It is tough to predict who is going to come out of the top half. I don't think Serena will be a threat this week, she has played a lot of tennis in last two weeks and she wont want to risk any complications before her last shot at a Grand Slam in 2014. Aga and Wozniacki are both in good form and are on track for a quarter-final meeting, for me, the winner of that match will make the final.

Rogers Cup – Day 3- 2nd Round Match Previews/Predictions

(1) Serena Williams vs Samantha Stosur

Defending champion Serena Williams begins her title defence at the Rogers Cup on Wednesday evening where she will take on Samantha Stosur for a spot in the third round. After a disappointing couple of months, Serena returned to the winner’s circle at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford last week. Serena overcame a slow start to rocket past Angelique Kerber to claim her fourth title of the season. Conversely, Sam Stosur suffered one of the worst loses of her career last week in Stanford. Stosur was stunned by 16-year-old Naomi Osaka in her opening round match, going down in three sets. Stosur has quickly turned things around with a solid win in her opening round match in Stanford, comprehensibly defeating Monica Puig in straight sets.

Stosur is one of very few that have a reasonable head to head record against the current world number 1. Stosur has defeated Serena on three occasions, most famously in the final of 2011 U.S Open. Since then the two have gone in completely different directions, Serena has dominated the tour whilst Sam Stosur has gradually slipped down the rankings. Serena has won the last two meetings between the two, both in straight sets and will be the raging favourite heading into this match. Despite winning the title in Stanford, Serena still seemed quite vulnerable at certain points in all of her matches. If Stosur turns up and puts in a peak performance she certainly has the weapons to trouble the world number 1. However Serena will be wary of the potential banana skin and will certainly be up for the fight.

Prediction: Serena Williams to defeat Samantha Stosur in straight sets

Venus Williams vs (Q) Yulia Putintseva

Yulia Putintseva claimed her first ever top 30 scalp on Monday when she defeated Flavia Pennetta in straight sets. Despite clearly having potential, Yulia has struggled to break back into the top 100. Another win or two at the Rogers Cup will certainly help her in achieving this. On Wednesday the Kazakh comes up against Venus Williams for a spot in the third round. Venus Williams progressed through to the second round with a come from behind victory over Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Venus came out looking sluggish just like she did in her quarter-final match against Andrea Petkovic last week in Stanford.

Yulia seems to thrive on the big stage. She certainly wont be intimidated by the situation despite this arguably being one of the biggest matches of her career. Yulia is a good returner and a greater mover with the ability to really mix up her shots. Her biggest problem in this match will be her serve. If she gives Venus a look at her second serve too often, she will seriously struggle to hold serve. It feels like a really flat performance is just around the corner for Venus given her recent slow starts. I think Yulia is ready for a breakthrough week in Montreal.

Perdition: Yulia Putintseva to defeat Venus Williams in three sets

(7) Jelena Jankovic vs Sloane Stephens

Jelena Jankovic returns to court for the first time since her opening round loss at Wimbledon. After receiving a bye into the second round, Jelana faces Sloane Stephens for a spot in the third round in Montreal. Sloane Stephens cruised through her opening round match on Monday, comprehensively defeating local hopeful Aleksandra Wozniak 6-3 6-0.

These two match up extremely evenly; the score in their only previous meeting reflects this. Jelena came from a set down to edge past Sloane 3-6 7-5 7-5 in Cincinnati last year. We can expect to see some long, testing rallies between these two but ultimately the winner of this match will be the one who steps up and plays aggressive (without hitting too many errors, of course). I expect Jelena to be a little rusty given this is her first match in over a month. For this reason and I think it will be Sloane Stephens who steps up and takes control of the match.

Prediction: Sloane Stephens to defeat Jelana Jankovic in straight sets

(2) Petra Kvitova vs Casey Dellacqua

In her first match since claiming her second Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, Petra Kvitova faces fellow leftie Casey Dellacqua in the second round at the Rogers Cup in Montreal. The last time the Rogers Cup was played in Montreal, it was Kvitova who claimed the title back in 2012. Inconsistency has been Petra’s biggest problem over the years; she will be desperate to avoid an early exit here after her recent success at Wimbledon. Casey advanced to the second round with an erratic three set victory over Kirsten Flipkens on Tuesday. Dellacqua is having a great season; she will certainly be no pushover on Wednesday night.

Surprisingly, this will be the first career meeting between the two. Petra really should have too much firepower for the Australian. However there is a chance Petra will be slightly rusty in her first match since Wimbledon, Casey could cause Petra some problems. I wouldn't be surprised to see Casey win a set but I cant see her winning the match.

Prediction: (2) Petra Kvitova to defeat Casey Dellacqua in three sets

other Match Predictions:

(9) Ana Ivanovic to defeat Coco Vandeweghe in straight sets

(10) Dominika Cibulkova to defeat Heather Watson in straight sets

(6) Angelique Kerber to defeat Caroline Garcia in three sets

Elena Vesnina to defeat Ekaterina Makarova in three sets

Karolina Pliskova to defeat (14) Carla Suarez Navarro in straight sets

(4) Maria Sharapova to defeat Garbine Muguruza in straight sets

(11) Caroline Wozniacki to defeat Klara Koukalova in three sets

Madison Keys to defeat Sabine Lisicki in three sets

(15) Lucie Safarova to defeat Magdalena Rybarikova in three sets

2014 WTA Rogers Cup Montreal – Draw Preview/Predictions

Preparations for the U.S Open are in full swing as the tour heads to Montréal, the Rogers Cup is the biggest warn up tournament heading into Flushing Meadows. All the big guns will be in action this week in Canada. There are however two notable absentees, world number 2 Li Na and world number 3 Simona Halep. The star attraction at this years Rogers Cup will be the 5th seed Eugenie Boucahrd. This will be the Canadian’s first Rogers Cup competing as a legitimate contender and top 10 player. Defending champion Serena Williams is certainly the one to beat this week, the world number 1 is fit and fiery, coming off her third title in Stanford.

First Quarter – (1) Serena Williams vs (5) Eugenie Bouchard

The first quarter features some mouthwatering potential matches. At the top of the draw is the world number 1, Serena Williams. In her first tournament back after her bizarre exit from Wimbledon, the American was a little rusty but she was as competitive as ever on route to claiming her third title in Stanford. Serena is in great shape at the moment and will be extremely difficult to defeat this week. Serena receives a bye through to the second round where she will face either Sam Stosur or Monica Puig. Sam Stosur is currently going through a rough patch (even by her standards). The Australian number 1 is coming off a disastrous loss to 16-year-old Naomi Osaka in the first round of the Bank of the West Classic.

15th Seed, Lucie Safarova faces last year’s finalist Sorana Cirstea in an important first round match. Given the amount of points Sorana Cirstea has to defend this week she will have an extraordinary amount of pressure on her in Montréal. In the live rankings Sorana has dropped 44 places, all the way down to number 80 in the world. Safarova leads the head-to-head 3-1 and will go into the match as the favourite on the back of her deep run at Wimbledon. However Lucie did lose her first round match in Washington to Kristina Mladenovic and it is certainly a winnable match for Sorana who showed some promising signs in Washington. I don't see anyone in this section troubling the world number 1 who should have no problems advancing to the quarter-finals.

Local favourite, Eugenie Bouchard also features in the top quarter. A potential blockbuster quarter-final looms between the Canadian rising star and world number 1 Serena Williams. After receiving a bye through the first round, Eugenie Bouchard will face either Tomljanovic or Shelby Rogers. The other seed in Genie’s section is 11th seed Caroline Wozniacki, who will come up against Daniela Hantuchova in the opening round. The Dane has an impressive record against Daniela; she has won 6 of their 7 previous matches. Wozniacki will come into this event with a considerable amount of confidence having claimed her first title of the season in Istanbul a couple of weeks a go. Caroline Wozniacki and Eugenie Bouchard are on course for a third round meeting. This would be something to really look forward to, the two have never met and it would be interesting to see how a match between the two would pan out.

First round Predictions: Monica Puig to defeat Samantha Stosur in three sets, Alison Riske to defeat Magdalena Rybarikova in straight sets, (15) Lucie Safarova to defeat Sorana Cirstea in three sets, (11) Caroline Wozniacki to defeat Daniela Hantuchova in straight sets, Kiki Bertens to defeat Klara Koukalova in three sets, Ajla Tomljanovic to defeat Shelby Rogers in straight sets

Quarter-final 1 Prediction: (1) Serena Williams vs (11) Eugenie Bouchard

Second Quarter – (4) Maria Sharapova vs (6) Angelique Kerber

At the top of the second quarter is a resurgent Maria Sharapova. The Roland Garros Champion’s first match will likely be against Garbine Muguruza. Maria was forced to work extremely hard for her victory over the Spaniard in their recent battle in the quarter-finals of Roland Garros, she will need to be ready for a tough opening match if they are to meet in Montreal. 14th Seed Carla Suarez Navarro is Maria’s projected third round opponent. First, Carla will need to get past a tricky opening round match with Bojana Jovanovski. Washington D.C finalist Kurumi Nara also lurks in this section of the draw. For Maria, her biggest threat will be Garbine; if she can get past that hurdle she should have little trouble reaching the quarter-finals in Montreal.

Sixth seed Angelique Kerber arrives in Montreal fresh off a solid week in Stanford, where she reached her fourth final of the season. Unfortunately Angie came up short for the fourth time this year. Despite leading 5-1 and having two set points Angie was unable to close out the opening set and was made to pay by Serena who got better as the match went on. After her first round bye, Angie will face either Karin Knapp or Caroline Garcia in the second round before a potential third round match against Venus Williams. Venus faces a tough opening round match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The head to head between the two stands at 2-2, Anastasia seems to be back in some decent form so it should be an extremely entertaining opening round match. 12th seed Flavia Pennetta will face qualifier Yulia Putintseva in the opening round. Putintseva will be no push over for the Italian. Pennetta hasn't played a match since Wimbledon, whilst Putintseva has already played a couple of tournaments on hard courts. I wouldn't be surprised to see an upset here.

A quarter-final match between Angelique Kerber and Maria Sharapova is on the cards.

First Round Predictions: Garbine Muguruza to defeat Stéphanie Dubois in straight sets, Kurumi Nara to defeat Yanina Wickmayer in three sets, (14) Carla Suarez Navarro to defeat Bojana Jovanovski in three sets, Yulia Putintseva to defeat (12) Flavia Pennetta in three sets, Venus Williams to defeat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets, Caroline Garcia to defeat Karin Knapp in three sets,

Quarter-final 2 Prediction: (4) Maria Sharapova vs (6) Angelique Kerber

Third Quarter – (8) Victoria Azarenka vs (3) Agnieszka Radwanska

Victoria Azarenka and Agnieszka Radwanska could be on track for a rematch of their famous quarter-final match at this years Australian Open. However both ladies have struggled in recent times. Victoria Azarenka is yet to find her a-game after returning from injury a couple of months a go and as a result of that she recently fell outside the top 10 for the first time in over two years. The Belarusian will face either Lauren Davis or Alize Cornet in her opening match before a potential third round match against 10th seeded Dominika Cibulkova. A tricky draw for Vika, but I think she is finally ready for her first deep run since returning from injury.

Third seed, Agnieszka Radwanska arrives in Montreal in the midst of one of her worst form slumps in recent years. The Pole suffered a shock loss in her opening match at the Bank of the West Classic, going down to Varvara Lepchenko in three sets. It was one of Aga's worst performances in recent years, she hit a whopping 42 unforced errors and was a shadow of her usual self. Aga reached the semi-finals here last year and will need another deep run if she is to avoid dropping out of the top 5 for the first time in a while. Aga has been dealt a relatively favorable draw; she will face either Barbora Zahlavova Strycova or Roberta Vinci in the opening round before a projected third round match against Sara Errani. 13th seed Sara Errani will have her work cut out setting up a third round match against the Pole. Errani faces Sabine Lisicki in the opening round and then could face another big hitter in the form of Madison Keys in the second round. I don't see Errani coming through this section. Unfortunately, It is also hard to see Aga having a good week in Montreal.

First Round Match Predictions: Alize Cornet to defeat Lauren Davis in three sets, Heather Watson to defeat Tereza Smitkova in straight sets, (10) Dominika Cibulkova to defeat Francoise Abanda in straight sets, Sabine Lisicki to defeat (13) Sara Errani in straight sets, Madison Keys to defeat Svetlana Kuznetsova in straight sets, Roberta Vinci to defeat Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova in three sets

Quarter-Final 3 Prediction: (8) Victoria Azarenka vs Madison Keys

Fourth Quarter – (7) Jelana Jankovic vs (2) Petra Kvitova

Jelana Jankovic and Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova will be in action for the first time since contrasting performances at SW19. Jelana Jankovic comes into this event having lost three matches in a row but she will be glad to be back on the hard courts in North America. After a bye through the opening round, Jelana will likely face the unseeded Sloane Stephens who also arrives in Montréal having lost three straight matches. Jelana defeated Sloane in three tight sets last year in Cincinnati in what was their first and only encounter. Also in this section of the draw is 9th seed Ana Ivanovic who will likely be the third round opponent of the winner of the match between Sloane and Jelana. Ana Ivanovic pushed Serena all the way in Stanford last week, but a hip injury ultimately hindered her chances. If Ana is fit and ready she should progress through this section into the quarter-finals.

Petra Kvitova returns to action for the first time since her triumph at Wimbledon. The second seed will be looking to back up her second Grand Slam title with a solid North American hard court season. After her first round bye, Petra will face either Casey Dellacqua or Kirsten Flipkens. Dellacqua has defeated Flipkens in both of their previous meetings, both taking place on hard courts in 2014. This section is full of lefties; the unseeded Ekaterina Makarova could be a real test for Petra in the third round. Makarova will likely face the 16th seeded Andrea Petkovic in the second round. Andrea is fresh off a solid week in Stanford where she reached the semi-finals before eventually succumbing to Serena Williams in straight sets. Andrea faces a tough opening round opponent, the Italian Camila Giorgi. Giorgi has defeated Andrea in both of their two previous meeting, both on hard courts in 2014. This bottom section is probably the toughest little section of the draw to predict.

First Round Match Predictions: Sloane Stephens to defeat Aleksandra Wozniak in straight sets, Coco Vandeweghe to defeat Shuai Zhang in three sets, Ana Ivanovic to defeat Timea Bacsinszky in straight sets, Camila Giorgi to defeat (16) Andrea Petkovic in three sets, Ekaterina Makarova to defeat Romina Oprandi in straight sets, Casey Dellacqua to defeat Kirsten Flipkens in straight sets

Quarter-final 4 prediction: (9) Ana Ivanovic vs Camila Giorgi

WTAAddict Final Prediction: (1) Serena Williams def. (8) Victoria Azarenka

I am very confident in picking Serena Williams to go all the way in Montréal. The world number 1 traditionally plays her best tennis on hard courts in North America and in recent seasons has rarely been defeated. I would not be surprised to see Serena go unbeaten during the whole U.S Open series. To me she has regrouped and will come out and play better than ever before. Stanford was the perfect warm up for the American, a fourth title of the season. I think Vika is ready for her first deep run since returning from injury. Petra may well reach the final; she will either lose early or go all the way.

Let me know what you think, please leave a comment below ☺

Wimbledon Draw Analysis

Quarter 1: (1) Serena Williams, (5) Maria Sharapova

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova have once again landed in the same quarter of the draw. The first quarter is undoubtedly the toughest section of the draw, not only because of the seeded players but also because of the presence of some dangerous unseeded players. Fresh off a shock early exit at Roland Garros, Serena Williams faces a potential early test against Christina McHale in the second round before a potential third round match up against Alize Cornet (who defeated Williams in their previous meeting earlier this year in Dubai). Should Serena navigate her way through this section she then faces a potential match against Eugenie Bouchard in the fourth round (wouldn't that be amazing to see). Eugenie Bouchard has a tricky opening round match against Daniela Hantuchova and could potentially run into the in from Andrea Petkovic in the third round. Bouchard has excelled in the first two Grand Slam's of the year, she has shown that she can match it with the very best and will therefore be a threat to any opponent she runs into over the fortnight (including Serena).

Not to be outdone, the bottom section in this quarter is equally as packed. The in form Angelique Kerber and last years semi finalist Kirsten Flipkens are the seeded players in the top half of this section. Both Kerber and Flipkens should be able to navigate their way through their opening round matches to set up a third round showdown. Likewise, Maria Sharapova should have no problems getting through her opening two matches but from there things could get tricky for the Roland Garros champion. Sharapova could potentially face Camila Giorgi or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the third round, both Giorgi and Pavlyuchenkova have defeated Sharapova this year. Also lurking in this section is American Christina McHale.

This means we could see Kerber face Sharapova in the fourth round and Serena Williams take on Eugenie Bouchard, wow.

Predicted quarter-finalists: (1) Serena Williams vs (9) Angelique Kerber

Quarter 2: (3) Simona Halep, (7) Jelana Jankovic

French Open finalist Simona Halep has landed in the tough half of the draw and will have her work cut out navigating her way through this tricky section. At first the draw is quite open for Halep, Suarez Navarro is the other top seed in her immediate section. Apart from a potentially dangerous third round match against compatriot Sorana Cirstea, Halep should ease into the quarter-finals (that is assuming she is fully fit). The draw has not been so kind to Jelana Jankovic, she has stated that her goal is to reach the second week, this wont be easy for the Serb. Jankovic faces Kanepi in the opening round before a potential match with Shvedova in the second round. Jelana could then face Madison Keys in the third round (the American dominated Jankovic In Eastbourne a few days a go). Then Jankovic could face either Sabine Lisicki of Ana Ivanovic who look destined to meet in a blockbuster third round match. Ivanovic has been very consistent this year and comes into this event fresh off her first ever grass court title and will be full of confidence. It's no secret that Wimbledon is Lisicki's favourite tournament, however her form has been poor this year and i don't see her making another deep run this year. It will be very interesting to see who comes through this section of the draw.

Predicted Quarter-finalists: (3) Simona Halep vs (11) Ana Ivanovic

Quarter 3: (8) Victoria Azarenka, (3) Agnieszka Radwanska

The third quarter is headlines by Victoria Azarenka and Agnieszka Radwanska who could set up a rematch of this years Australian Open quarterfinal where Radwanska played arguably the best match of her career. Azarenka seemingly has a much tougher passage to the quarterfinals compared to Agnieszka Radwanska (who has been dealt a very favorable draw). Azarenka could potentially face Garbine Muguruza in the third round in what would be a real challenge for the former world number 1. Dominika Cibulkova and Lucie Safarova also look destined to meet in the third round, a great chance for both of these ladies to have a good run in London. It seems Agnieszka Radwanska really looks forward to Wimbledon, she knows it here that she has her greatest chance to break through and win her first Grand Slam title. Radwanska has come close in the last two years and will be looking to go a step further in 2014. The Pole should breeze through her opening two matches but could face a bit of a test if she comes up against Kuznetsova in the third round. Ultimately Radwanska should ease through to the quarterfinals.

Predicted Quarter-Finalists: (10) Dominika Cibulkova vs (3) Agnieszka Radwanska

Quarter 4: (6) Petra Kvitova, (2) Li Na

Former champion Petra Kvitova and world number 2 Li Na are the highest seeds in the bottom quarter. Both ladies will have their work cut out to reach to reach the second week in London. Petra Kvitova could face fellow former champion Venus Williams in a blockbuster third round match. Also lurking in this section is Sloane Stephens, who as we all know really fires up for Grand Slams. Stephens faces Maria Kirilenko in one of the best first round match ups. Petra Kvitova is always vulnerable to lapses in concentration so it wouldn't be a surprise to see Stephens reach the second week of a Grand Slam once again.

Li Na will be desperate for a deep run in London after her shock first round exit in Paris. The world number 2 has been treated relatively kindly by the draw. This years Australian Open champion should be able to hit past any of the seeded opponents she could come up against in this section, including Elena Vesnina, Samantha Stosur and Caroline Wozniacki. Wozniacki returned to form In Eastbourne; the Dane could meet Samantha Stosur in the third round who she defeated on route to the semi-finals in Eastbourne.

Predicted Quarter-finalists: (6) Petra Kvitova vs (2) Li Na

Final verdict: Serena Williams def. Agnieszka Radwanska

I find it nearly impossible to go past picking Serena Williams whenever she is involved. Serena stated after her shock loss to Muguruza at Roland Garros that she will work hard so that she never loses again, there is no doubt she will be as determined as ever. Serena is always so hard to beat at Wimbledon, despite having a very tough draw she is my pick to claim her sixth Wimbledon title. Radwanska is real chance to claim her first Grand Slam title, the Pole loves playing on grass. Her ability to get low and redirect the ball makes hard to beat on grass. The draw has been kind to Radwanska so with a little luck (Serena getting kicked out early) Aga could go all the way.

let me know if you agree? leave a comment below 🙂

    WTA Eastbourne – Aegon International Preview

    Eastbourne has a attracted a stellar lineup, with 5 of the worlds top 10 players featuring in what is the strongest warm up tournament for Wimbledon.

    The top half of the draw is clearly much tougher than the bottom half. Radwanska and Kerber, who have both had impressive results on grass in the past few years, headline the opening quarter. Both Kerber and Radwanska have been handed dangerous opening round opponents; Kerber will take on Alison Riske whilst Radwanska will face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Ekaterina Makarova and Alize Cornet also lurk in what is the toughest section of the draw. Radwanska has been knocked out in the opening round of this tournament in the past two seasons, however she has still managed reach the later stages at Wimbledon on both occasions.

    The two highest seeds in the second quarter will be desperate to gain some momentum at Eastbourne. We all know about Caroline Wozniacki’s recent troubles, both on and off the court. The Dane seems to be moving with life, spending time with Serena Williams in Miami after Roland Garros before hitting the practice courts in recent days. The draw hasn't been kind to Wozniacki; she will face Sam Stosur in the opening round. Victoria Azarenka will make her much anticipated return from injury at Eastbourne, it will be interesting to see where she is at, hopefully she can get some wins under her belt heading into Wimbledon. Azarenka has also been dealt a tricky first up opponent, Italian Camila Giorgi.

    It is virtually impossible to predict who will come through this half; personally I would love to see Radwanska and Azarenka meet at the semi-final stage.

    The third quarter is probably the weakest section of the draw. Jelana Jankovic and Sara Errani are the two seeded players; they are joined in this section by defending champion Elena Vesnina and Roberta Vinci. This section is wide open for several ladies to come through and reach the semi-final stage. I would fancy Jankovic to come through this section of the draw.

    The final quarter features former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, as well as Flavia Pennetta. Kvitova has drawn fellow Czech leftie Lucie Safarova in the opening round in what will be an interesting encounter. Heather Watson had a great run in Eastbourne last year, the draw has been rather kind to the Britt who could well have another deep run here.

    I fancy Petra to come through this section of the draw, so long as her mindset is right, there is no reasons why she can’t claim her first title of the year at in Eastbourne.

    Day 9 Review

    Day 9 was kind of a let down. Halep vs Stephens promised so much but the match didn't really deliver. It was a lacklustre match, especially at the end. Even the crowd seemed unexcited, you could hear a pin drop after numerous points even towards the end of the match. Halep was just too solid for Stephens who was slightly off, which was a shame because there was evidence that she could have really troubled the Romanian.

    The highlight of the day for me was the first set between Sara Errani and Jelana Jankovic. A drama filled set that lasted for 81 minutes, Jankovic twice serving for the set and blowing a set point. Errani raised her game to an amazing level towards the end of the set, Jankovic just couldn't hit past the Italian. Jankovic had to come up with something spectacular to get past Errani and she did on a number of occasions but it was not enough. Errani seemed to have a commanding lead in the tiebreak when she was up 5-2 but Jankovic came back to level at 5-5. Jankovic played two disappointing points here, succumbing to the pressure of the Italian.

    In the second set Jankovic came out looking very frustrated and impatient. She had seemingly given up on the match after the disappointment of losing such a close opening set. Errani easily took the second set 6-2. The ongoing battle between Jelana's vocal support crew and the rest of the crowd was also quite amusing.

    What's also interesting is that in Errani's press conference she said she didn't believe anything was wrong with Jelana when she took her medical timeout. Errani did seem to be rather annoyed by the situation at the time.

    The petkovic/Bertens match certainly wasn't played at the highest level but with so much on the line the last set was intriguing. Bertens closed to within one game of the quarterfinals and it seemed that the pressure would be too much for Petkovic. The German remained calm and actually raised her level in the last few games.

    Kuznetsova continues to impress. Another solid victory over a dangerous opponent. Kuznetsova seemed to always be in control of the match, Safarova did fight back late in the second set but it was all too late.

    The door is open for an unexpected Grand Slam champion in Paris, the two favourites left Sharapova and Halep are far from unbeatable.

    Roland Garros – Day 9 – 4th Round Match Predictions

    Monday features four fascinating fourth round clashes where some surprise quarterfinalists will be confirmed. 

    (4) Simona Halep vs (15) Sloane Stephens 

    Simona Halep, the highest seed left in the draw will face by far her biggest test of the fortnight when she takes on American Sloane Stephens in the fourth Round on Monday.

    Halep has powered through the opening week, dominating her first three opponents, inflicting three consecutive straight set victories. Sloane Stephens has once again peaked at a Grand Slam. This is the 6th consecutive time the erratic American has reached the second week of a Grand Slam. Stephens is also yet to drop a set, cruising past Ekaterina Makarova in the third round.

    As the highest seed left in the draw, the pressure is on Halep; she has certainly never been in this position at a Grand Slam.

    These two haven’t played since Simona’s rise up the rankings. Stephens thumped Halep in their two previous encounters early in 2013 in Australia. Halep won their only other match, which was on clay in Barcelona in 2012.

    These two ladies are similar in many ways. They are both very good movers, both very good retrievers and both able to attack with big forehands and both at similar stages in their career with Halep obviously slightly ahead at the moment.

    Halep is the strong favourite heading into this match but Stephens is a dangerous opponent and is certainly capable of frustrating Halep and causing an upset.

    Prediction: Sloane Stephens to defeat Simona Halep 4-6 6-4 6-2

    (6) Jelana Jankovic vs (10) Sara Errani 

    Last years semi finalist Sara Errani will have her work cut out when she meets the number 6 seed Jelana Jankovic for a spot in the final 8 at Roland Garros.  

    Both Jankovic and Errani were pushed to three sets in their opening round matches but both seem to be getting better with each match, coming through their last two matches in straight sets. Jankovic was particularly impressive in her straight sets domination of Sorana Cirstea, someone she has had trouble with in the past. 

    Errani has defeated Jankovic on two of the three occasions they have played, including the last two times. The most recent encounter  was a few weeks ago in Rome, Errani victorious in front of a vocal Italian crowd. Her other victory over Jankovic came at last years year end championships, in this match Jankovic had nothing to play for, having already qualified for the semifinals. 

    Both ladies are very comfortable on clay and both have great records at Roland Garros. Errani a finalist in 2012 and a semifinalist in 2013, whilst Jankovic has reached the semi finals in Paris on three occasions. 

    There is a lot of pressure on Errani here in terms of points to defend and in the past she hasn't dealt with pressure very well. I feel the result of this match will depend on Jankovic's attitude. If she is patient and tactically sound she should come through victorious. 

    Prediction: Jelana Jankovic to defeat Sara Errani 7-5 7-5 

    (23) Lucie Safarova vs (27) Svetlana Kuznetsova 

    Former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova once again features at the pointy end of the tournament at Roland Garros. The Russian will face Lucie Safarova, fresh of her upset victory over Ana Ivanovic for a spot in the quarterfinals. 

    Kuznetsova spent over three hours on court in her marvellous third round victory over a determined but erratic Petra Kvitova. Safarova made surprisingly light work of her match with Ivanovic, the Czech seems to match up very well against Ivanovic and she took full advantage of this. 

    These two haven't played each other in over two years, their head to head is split at 3-3. This will be the first time they have played on clay.

    I'm not sure Kuznetsova can play at a high enough level after her three set victory over Kvitova to trouble Safarova. The match will be on Safarova's racquet, if she can control her aggression and limit the number of errors she hits she should be able to win this match. 

    Prediction: Lucie Safarova to defeat Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4 6-2 

    (28) Andrea Petkovic vs (Q) Kiki Bertens 

    Not many, if any would have predicted this fourth round match up when the draw was released. This is a massive opportunity for two ladies at different stages of their careers to reach the quarterfinals on a Grand Slam. 

    Bertens raced through qualifiers and has carried that momentum into the main draw, dropping just one set to Pavlyuchenkova. Her opponent, Andrea Petkovic will be by Bertens biggest test thus far. 

    Petkovic overcame illness and a vocal french crowd to defeat Kiki Mladenovic in the third round. It was a close match but Petkovic was better when it mattered most. Petkovic has worked so hard to be back playing at this level and I really can't se her slipping up here. 

    Prediction: Andrea Petkovic to defeat Kiki Bertens 6-4 6-3

    Jankovic Eases into the Third Round

    6th seed Jelana Jankovic has cruised into the third round at Roland Garros, disposing of Japan's Kurum Nara in straight sets.  Jankovic was far from her best but did what she had to do.

    The first set was a scrappy affair, it really could have gone either way.  The first 10 games of the set went to the server, Jankovic finally broke the trend in the eleventh game. When serving for the set Jankovic raced away to a 40-0 lead but was unable to convert her first three set points. On her fourth opportunity, Jankovic finally converts to take the opening set 7-5.

    The second set was all one way traffic. Jankovic dominated right from the very start when she broke Nara to love. Nara's level of play certainly dropped in the second set, hitting far too many unforced errors and allowing Jankovic to dictate the rallies.

    A solid victory for Jankovic who still has a lot of room for improvement. The draw is open for Jankovic to go deep into the second week.