Petra Kvitova vs Jelena Jankovic, U.S Open R1 Preview

US Open, 🇺🇸🍎🗽🚕 R1 Preview + Prediction
(13) 🇨🇿 Petra Kvitova vs 🇷🇸 Jelena Jankovic

Petra Kvitova and Jelena Jankovic will kick-start proceedings on the Louis Armstrong Arena for the 2017 U.S Open. This is a tough first round match-up between two players that have been close to the top of the game for a long time. These two have a very competitive rivalry, Kvitova holds a slight 4-3 head-to-head record over Jankovic. Both have been struggling with injury and poor form lately, especially Jankovic. It will be interesting to see who can step it up and raise their level for this big first round clash at Flushing Meadows.

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Agnieszka Radwanska vs Jelena Jankovic, Wimbledon R1 Preview

Wimbledon 🇬🇧💂🍓 Day 2, R1 Match Preview:
(9) 🇵🇱 Agnieszka Radwanska vs 🇷🇸 Jelena Jankovic

A fascinating opening round clash on Tuesday at SW19 sees Agnieszka Radwanska face Jelena Jankovic, arguably the toughest first round match-up in the entire draw. Agnieszka Radwanska has long threatened to claim an elusive first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon but has fallen just short on a few occasions. The Pole has a few more chances but brings very poor from into this year’s Championships. Jankovic also brings poor form into this event. This looms as a tight battle between two experienced, desperate competitors.

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Jelena Jankovic vs Yaroslava Shvedova, Miami R1 Preview

Miami Open, 🇺🇸🌴🐬 R1 Match Preview
🇷🇸 Jelena Jankovic vs 🇰🇿 Yaroslava Shvedova

A fascinating opening round match in Miami sees two veterans of the tour go head-to-head, Jelena Jankovic and Yaroslava Shvedova. Both Jankovic and Shvedova have struggled to produce their best tennis in 2017 but both will be hopeful that will change soon, especially after seeing so many of their fellow competitors playing their career best tennis in their 30’s. Jankovic has a dominant record over Shvedova but her recent form suggests that this match is far from a certainty.

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Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs Jelena Jankovic, Doha R1 Preview

Qatar Total Open, 🇶🇦 First Round Match Preview:
🇷🇺 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs (Q) 🇷🇸 Jelena Jankovic

Tuesday’s first match on Centre Court at the Qatar Total Open features Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Jelena Jankovic. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova made a brilliant start to the season having reached the quarter-final stage at the Australian Open for the first time in her career, the Russian who is often plagued with inconsistency will be keen to maintain a high level over the next couple of weeks. Pavlyuchenkova has a great record against Jankovic but the Serb is never easy to overcome and will be better acclimatized to the conditions having won three matches in the qualifying draw.

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Laura Siegemund vs Jelena Jankovic, Australian Open R1 Preview

Australian Open, 🇦🇺 First Round Match Preview
(26) 🇩🇪 Laura Siegemund vs 🇷🇸 Jelena Jankovic

One of the toughest opening round matches on Monday at the Australian Open features the 26th seeded Laura Siegemund and former world number 1 Jelena Jankovic. Siegemund caused a big upset when she eliminated Jankovic from the second round at the Australian Open last year in their only previous meeting. The Serbian veteran will be desperate for revenge but Siegemund is never as easy opponent to beat.

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Eugenie Bouchard vs Jelena Jankovic, Rome R1 Preview

Rome R1: Eugenie Bouchard vs Jelena Jankovic

Another interesting first round clash at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia sees two out of form players go head-to-head when Eugenie Bouchard comes up against Jelena Jankovic on Tuesday. Bouchard and Jankovic have both had interrupted years because of ongoing injury concerns, Rome looms as a critical week for both as they look to gain much needed match fitness and confidence ahead of Roland Garros, both should be desperate to win this match given these circumstances. 

Eugenie Bouchard made a promising start to 2016 but has lost 4 of her last 5 matches heading into Rome. Bouchard suffered a disappointing 3 set loss to Irina-Camelia Begu in the first round of the Mutua Madrid Open last week, a match the Canadian would feel like she should have won given the opportunities that she had throughout the match. Bouchard’s record in Rome is not very impressive, having won just 1 match at the event (in only 2 previous appearances). It has been a frustrating year or so for Bouchard, but I expect her to eventually pull through and return to the top of the game sooner rather than later. 

 

Jelena Jankovic also suffered a first round loss at the Mutua Madrid Open last week, a disappointing straight set loss to Sorana Cirstea, Jelena arrives in Rome on the back of 3 consecutive losses. Jankovic’s recent record in Rome is far more encouraging than Bouchard’s, reaching at least the quarter-final stage of the event in 2 of her last 3 appearances in Rome

Bouchard has a 2-1 head-to-head record over Jankovic. The pair haven’t met since Charleston in 2014, Bouchard won that match 6-3 4-6 6-4.

This is a tough match to call given both players haven’t been playing anywhere near their best in their last couple of events. Both still have ongoing injury concerns, it will be interesting to see who steps up and wins this clash. I suspect Bouchard has the slight edge heading into this match given she has won the last 2 matches between the pair and given she has generally displayed a higher level of tennis throughout 2016. It seems Bouchard is closer to hitting some decent form than Jankovic. 

Prediction: Eugenie Bouchard to defeat Jelena Jankovic in 3 sets


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Dubai DFTC Day 3 Recap

Day 3 at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships was one of the most bizarre days in terms of results we have seen all year on the WTA tour. Almost every single match ended with the underdog emerging victorious. Heading into the quarter-finals there are no seeded players left in the draw, in fact no seeded player won a match this week. The draw is now wide open for any of the remaining 8 players to become an unlikely champion this week in Dubai. After days like this the dedication of the top players has to be questioned as players such as Garbine Muguruza produced a ridiculously poor level of tennis.

 

The day started with 2 strange matches. Both Barbora Strycova and Caroline Garcia came back from a set and a break down to record what seemed like an unlikely victory. Barbora Strycova trailed Julia Goerges by a set and 0-3 before winning 12 of the next 13 games to book her spot in the quarter-finals. Goerges was seemingly cursing to victory playing unbelievably well before suddenly collapsing as Strycova raised her level of play. Strycova was actually in tears after the first set and seemed like she little or no fight left in her which made her stunning end to the match all the more surprising.

Caroline Garcia pulled a similar trick, coming from a set and 4-2 down to advance to the final 8 with a 4-6 6-4 6-3 victory. Suarez Navarro had multiple game points to take a 5-3 lead in the second set but was typically shaky when the pressure was on and committed far too many unforced errors. A rain delay halted proceedings with Garcia serving for the match at 5-3 in the deciding set, Garcia did well to close out the match when play resumed after an awkward wait. It was a good win for Garcia who was not at her best for most of the match but never stopped fighting and was ultimately rewarded for her efforts.

 

When play resumed after a lengthy rain delay the upsets continued. Andrea Petkovic recorded a surprisingly comfortable 6-3 6-2 victory over Jelena Jankovic whilst Sara Errani thumped a hopelessly disappointing Yaroslava Shvedova 6-3 6-0. The Kazakh was a shadow of her best, and a shadow of the player that smashed Errani at Wimbledon in their previous meetings. Shvedova hit far too many reckless unforced errors and pretty much handed Errani a place in the next. Credit to Errani, she was there to take advantage of her opponent’s poor performance.

Sara Errani will face Madison Brengle in the quarter-finals after the American produced yet another upset win by defeating Petra Kvitova 0-6 7-6 6-3. It was a gutsy victory by Brengle considering she was totally outplayed in the opening set. The American also trailed by a break in the deciding set before rallying to win the final 5 games of the match. It was a horrific loss for Kvitova as her season goes from bad to worse. Garbine Muguruza’s season has also gone from bad to worse, the Spaniard hit a whopping 68 unforced errors in straight set loss to Elina Svitolina. Muguruza didn't seem to interested in the match and couldn't have played much worse. Svitolina finished the match with 8 winners and 28 unforced errors but that was good enough to get he win on the night. 

 

Day 3 also saw the defending champion dumped from the event in her opening match of the week. The top seeded Simona Halep was ousted by Ana Ivanovic who recorded a 7-6 6-2 victory over the Romanian. Halep has ahead for almost the entire first set and served for the set at 5-4 where she squandered a set point before eventually being totally outplayed in the tiebreak. Simona offered very little resistance in the second set as Ivanovic ran away with the match and continued her resurgence after a poor start to the year. CoCo Vandeweghe was also victorious on day 3, winning a topsy-turvy three match against Kristina Mladenovic.

With no seeded player left in the day heading into the quarter-finals every player left in the draw should feel as though they have a legitimate chance to win the title. It will be interesting to see who is able to make the most of this rare opportunity.


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Dubai DFTC Day 2 Recap

Day 2 in Dubai was again headlined by upsets as both of last week’s St. Petersburg finalists were dumped out of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in the first round. Roberta Vinci was defeated by Yaroslava Shvedova in 3 sets whilst Belinda Bencic also suffered a 3 set loss, succumbing to Jelena Jankovic.

 

Ana Ivanovic made a huge statement in her opening round match in Dubai. The Serb recorded the biggest victory of her season thus far in what was clearly her best performance of the season thus far, defeating Daria Gavrilova 6-1 6-0 in less than an hour of play. Ivanovic was surprisingly solid and made few unforced errors in a very clean match whilst Gavrilova was a huge disappointment, playing her worst match of the season thus far. Ivanovic’s reward is blockbuster second round clash with defending champion and top seed Simona Halep on Wednesday.

Barbora Strycova and Elina Svitolina also made strong starts to their Dubai campaign on Tuesday. Elina Svitolina won her first match with Justine Henin by her side, Svitolina was a class above Jana Cepelova, earning a reasonably comfortable 6-3 6-1 victory to set up a second round clash with Garbine Muguruza. Barbora Strycova produced an impressive display of all-court tennis to comfortably defeat Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4 6-3. Strycova served reasonably well and was very consistent from the baseline, using the drop shot very well against a slow moving Pironkova.

 

Belinda Bencic and Roberta Vinci were the two form players heading into this event after reaching the final in St. Petersburg last week. However, both ladies were unable to advance past the first round in Dubai on Tuesday. Belinda Bencic got herself into a winning position against Jelena Jankovic but lost her cool towards the end of the second set and ultimately suffered a disappointing 6-4 5-7 4-6 loss to the Serb. Roberta Vinci was a shadow of the player that stormed to the title in St. Petersburg, succumbing to Yaroslava Shvedova 0-6 6-4 3-6 in a topsy-turvy encounter. Sara Errani also advanced to the second round, defeating Chinese qualifier Saisai Zheng in straight sets.

Play will heat up on Wednesday in Dubai with a number of blockbuster second round matches including Ivanovic vs Halep, Muguruza vs Svitolina and Garcia vs Suarez Navarro. Every player left in the draw has some kind of a chance to go on to win the title this week, it will be interesting to see who makes the most of this relatively open draw at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. 


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Belinda Bencic vs Jelena Jankovic, Dubai R1 Preview

Dubai R1: (5) Belinda Bencic vs Jelena Jankovic

Belinda Bencic will be looking to build on a successful start to the season this week in Dubai. The young Swiss is one of the form players in the draw this week after a run to the final in St. Petersburg. Belinda will begin her Dubai campaign on Tuesday with a first round clash with a desperately out of form Jelena Jankovic.

Belinda Bencic arrives in Dubai fresh off a very busy week of tennis. The Swiss rising start helped guide Switzerland to a memorable Fed Cup victory over Germany where she recorded victories over Andrea Petkovic and Angelique Kerber. Bencic then went on to reach the final in St. Petersburg which saw the 18-year-old reach the top 10 in the rankings for the first time in her career. Bencic picked up victories over Annika Beck, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Daria Kasatkina on route to the final in St. Petersburg but was outplayed by a red-hot Roberta Vinci in the final. Belinda stated after the match that she is not feeling tired despite all the tennis she has recently played and that she expects to have another good week in Dubai.

 

Jelena Jankovic has made an extremely disappointing start to the season and will desperately be wanting to turn her form around as soon as possible. Jankovic has not been able to string together consecutive victories in 2016. Jankovic’s Australian summer misery was highlighted by her shock second round loss to Laura Siegemund, a match that Jelena would have fully expected to win. Jankovic was in Fed Cup action for Serbia a week after Melbourne and didn't enjoy any success there either, suffering straight set losses to Garbine Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro.

Belinda Bencic holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Jankovic. Bencic famously upset Jankovic at the U.S Open in 2014 whilst the pair traded victories in 2015. Jankovic recorded a 6-3 3-6 6-3 victory over Bencic at Indian Wells before Bencic avenged that defeat with a comfortable 6-3 6-3 win on grass in s-Hertogenbosch.

Bencic heads into this match with clearly superior form and levels of confidence, this is probably the biggest difference between two players who are generally quite evenly matched. It might be tough for Bencic to adjust to the conditions after a quick turnaround from reaching the St. Petersburg final but Bencic has shown great resilience in recent times and should be good enough to deal with an out of form Jankovic.

Prediction: Belinda Bencic to defeat Jelena Jankovic in 2 sets


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2015 WTA Top 20 Matches

20. Miami SF: Serena Williams d. Simona Halep 6-2 4-6 7-5

Simona Halep has emerged as one of Serena’s biggest threats over the last year, after thumping the world number 1 in Singapore last year, Simona came extremely close to another victory over Serena at the semi-final stage in Miami. This match was all about power vs defence. Serena was brutally striking the ball but Simona’s outstanding movement and counter-punching ability resulted in an extremely competitive semi-final in front of a vocal crowd in Miami.

 

The crowd was actually a major factor in this match, despite Serena being an 8 time former champion and playing at her home event, the majority of the crowd were vocally supporting the Romanian. Serena was not happy about this and really let it get to her.

The final set was particularly entertaining, Serena was battling herself, the crowd and Simona. Serena led 4-1 but Halep managed to fight back to level the set at 5-5. In the end Serena had too much firepower and captured a memorable win. This rivalry is one which should flourish over the next couple of years, Simona looks like the biggest chance to contend for the number 1 ranking and has shown that she is capable of beating the American.

19. Singapore F: Aga Radwanska d. Petra Kvitova 6-2 4-6 6-3

This is the only match to make the list from the WTA Finals in Singapore. The tournament didn't produce as many truly spectacular matches as it usually does. However the best was saved until last. The final between Aga and Petra was truly memorable, a battle of extreme contrasting styles. Radwanska would ultimately produce an amazingly clean performance to prevail and claim the biggest title of her career. 

 

Remarkably, Radwanska finished the match with just 5 unforced errors and 15 winners whilst Kvitova hit 41 winners and committed 53 unforced errors. It was match unlike any other, it is extremely rare to see a player hit just 5 unforced errors in a highly competitive final against a high quality opponent.

Radwanska totally outplayed an erratic Kvitova in the first set and a bit before the Czech starting playing lights out tennis to send the match into a decider. Kvitova would carry her momentum into the decider where she captured an early break. Radwanska managed to weather the storm before raising her level to claim a famous victory.

18. Wimbledon R3: Jelena Jankovic d. Petra Kvitova 3-6 7-5 6-4

Wimbledon was full of great matches in 2015, the first of the matches from Wimbledon to make the list is Jankovic’s epic victory over Petra Kvitova, the defending champion.

 

Jelena Jankovic’s shock third round victory over Petra Kvitova at Wimbledon was one of the biggest upsets of the year. Kvitova was the defending champion at the event and was considered one of the favourites after storming through her first two matches. Kvitova looked like she would cruise through this match but Jankovic staged a stunning fightback to record one of her greatest victories.

Kvitova was at her ruthless best early in this match, opening up a lead by a set and a break. However Jankovic would show all of her famous fighting qualities to turn the second set around before claiming a tight deciding set. It really was a superb performance by Jankovic, especially considering it was on her least preferred surface up against an opponent that has played her best tennis on grass.

17. Toronto SF: Belinda Bencic d. Serena Williams 3-6 7-5 6-4

Belinda Bencic produced the biggest victory of her career thus far and one of the biggest upsets of the year when she defeated Serena Williams at the semi-final stage of the Rogers Cup in Toronto. Bencic played superb tennis leading into the match but she was given little chances against the almighty world number 1, however Bencic would produce a stunning display to dent Serena’s U.S Open preparations.

 

What made Bencic’s victory over Serena more special is that she was forced to come from a set down. Serena is the best front runner in the game, coming from a set down to defeat Serena is almost unheard of. Serena comfortably won the opening set before Bencic raised her level to claim a tight second set and send the match to a decider.

Bencic had a 5-1 lead in the deciding set before Serena came roaring back with 3 straight games. It looked like Serena would make another trademark comeback as Bencic twice failed to serve out the match. However Bencic would break for the match to secure an extraordinary win before going on to win the title.

16. Wimbledon R3: Serena Williams d. Heather Watson, 6-2 4-6 7-5

Serena Williams and Heather Watson’s third round clash at Wimbledon exceeded all expectations. Heather Watson came agonisingly close to pulling off one of the biggest upsets in the history of the tournament and sending the vocal British crowd into hysterics.

 

Serena comfortably claimed the opening set and looked destined for a routine victory. However Watson became much more competitive in the second set and a result the British crowd became a major factor. Watson claimed the crucial break in the ninth game before serving out the set to a massive standing ovation from the crowd.

Watson opened up a 3-0 lead in the deciding set and a famous upset suddenly seemed possible. Serena would raise her level to produce a signature comeback, a truly memorable clash. Serena was forced to work so much harder than expected, the world number 1 ended the match with 53 winners including 13 aces and just 33 unforced errors.