Jelena Ostapenko vs. Daria Gavrilova, Wuhan R1 Preview

🐉 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, R1 Preview
🇱🇻 (10) Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇦🇺 Daria Gavrilova

A first round match-up in Wuhan which features a huge contrast in styles sees the 10th seeded Jelena Ostapenko take on Daria Gavrilova. Adding to the intrigue is the fact that this will be the first career meeting between the pair. Will attack of defence prevail?

Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in action during her third-round match at the 2018 US Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Jelena Ostapenko and Daria Gavrilova have both been in fairly disappointing form of late, both had poor results during the North American hard court swing and both suffered early exits last week. Ostapenko was beaten at the second round stage in her title defense in Seoul, smashed by Ekaterina Alexandrova in straight sets. Gavrilova played a couple of marathon matches against the Pliskova sisters in Tokyo, Gavrilova let several leads slip on route to a three 3 set loss to Karolina Pliskova.

This should be an entertaining match between two totally different players. Ostapenko has the firepower whilst Gavrilova has the defensive prowess. Gavrilova will make life hard for Ostapenko if she is off her game but if the Latvian fires she should be too strong.

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Jelena Ostapenko vs. Andrea Petkovic, US Open R1 Preview

🇺🇸🗽 US OPEN: R1 Preview
🇱🇻 (10) Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇩🇪 Andrea Petkovic

Jelena Ostapenko will begin her 2018 Flushing Meadows campaign on Tuesday with a potentially tricky first round clash against Germany’s Andrea Petkovic. Ostapenko has shown over the last few seasons that she is always dangerous at Grand Slam events, the 2017 Roland Garros champion will be particularly keen for a good run in New York given it has historically been her least successful Grand Slam event.

Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in action during her first-round match at the 2018 Western & Southern Open WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Ostapenko was unable to win a match in her 2 lead-up events to the final Grand Slam of the year. The Latvian suffered first-up losses to Johanna Konta in Montreal and Alize Cornet in Cincinnati, both losses were in similar fashion, winning the opening set before crumbling as the match wore on. Prior to those losses Ostapenko did reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon, her best result of the season thus far. Ostapenko has generally performed well at the biggest events over the last few years so she will bring confidence into this event despite her recent losses.

Unlike Ostapenko, Petkovic has really struggled at the Grand Slam level over the last few years, Petkovic has won 5 matches in her last 7 Grand Slam main draw appearances. Petkovic’s U.S Open series campaign got off to a good start when she reached the semi-finals in Washington D.C but the last couple of weeks have not been so impressive. Petkovic failed to get through the qualifying draw in Cincinnati and New Haven, retiring injured in the later.

It was Ostapenko who won the only previous match between the pair, a 7-5 1-0 victory via retirement at the semi-final stage in Doha back in 2016. The pair have gone in completely different direction over the past few years, Ostapenko has solidified her spot in the top 10 whilst Petkovic has consistently slipped outside the top 50.

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Angelique Kerber vs. Jelena Ostapenko, Wimbledon SF Preview

🇬🇧 Wimbledon semi-final preview
🇩🇪 (11) Angelique Kerber vs. 🇱🇻 (12) Jelena Ostapenko

Thursday’s first semi-final at SW19 sees the 11th seeded Angelique Kerber take on the 12th seeded Jelena Ostapenko. Surprisingly, this will be the first career meeting between Kerber and Ostapenko, an exciting match-up that features an extreme contrast in styles. This match-up will feature arguably the best counter-puncher in the world against one of the most aggressive players on tour, an exciting match-up between two former Grand Slam champions. Who will prevail?

Angelique Kerber of Germany in action during her second-round match at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships Grand Slam tournament

Angelique Kerber is through to her 7th career Grand Slam semi-final, her third at Wimbledon. Kerber’s level has steadily improved throughout the event. The German got off to a slow start with unimpressive wins over Vera Zvonareva and Claire Liu. Kerber brings great momentum into this semi-final clash after straight set wins over Naomi Osaka, Belinda Bencic and Daria Kasatkina. Kerber has made it to the pointy end of several big events in the last 6 months but has frequently failed at this hurdle, she will be keen to make amends here.

Jelena Ostapenko has steamrolled through the draw, reaching the final 4 without dropping a single set. The Latvian waltzed through the first week, comfortably beating Katie Dunne, Kirsten Flipkens and Vitalia Diatchenko. Ostapenko found herself trailing in matches against Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Dominika Cibulkova but on both occasions she recovered to win a tight opening set before taking control in the second. Ostapenko’s 7-5 6-4 win over Dominika Cibulkova in the quarter-finals was particularly impressive.

Kerber and Ostapenko both bring great form into this match, both are high on confidence and will fully expect to win this match. It will be interesting to see how this match-up pans in out in the first career meeting between the pair.

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Jelena Ostapenko vs. Dominika Cibulkova, Wimbledon QF Preview

Wimbledon QF Preview
🇱🇻 (12) Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇸🇰 Dominika Cibulkova

The pick of the quarter-final matches on Tuesday at Wimbledon sees the 12th seeded Jelena Ostapenko take on a red-hot Dominika Cibulkova. This is an exciting match-up between two fairly similar players, two of the most fiery players on tour, with aggressive, powerful games from the baseline. Cibulkova won both of the previous meeting between the pair, but that was before Ostapenko became a Grand Slam champion and top 10 player. Cam the Latvian capture her first win over the Slovakian?

Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia in action during her second round at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships Grand Slam tournament

Ostapenko and Cibulkova has both blasted their way through the draw, reaching the quarter-final stage without dropping a set. Ostapenko and Cibulkova are two players that are extremely tough to stop when they are in this type of form, making this match-up an exciting prospect if both maintain their a-game.

It is Cibulkova who has had the far tougher draw to this stage. Cibulkova has beaten Alize Cornet (7-6 6-1), Johanna Konta (6-3 6-4), Elise Mertens (6-2 6-2) and Su-Wei Hsieh (6-4 6-1) on route to the final 8. This is the first time everything has come together nicely for Cibulkova of court in 2018, serving well, returning well and deadly from the baseline. If Cibulkova can maintain such a high level of tennis then she is a genuine contender to win the title.

Jelena Ostapenko has also been impressive but has not faced any significant threat on route to the quarter-finals stage. Ostapenko claimed wins over Katie Dunne (6-3 7-6), Kirsten Flipkens (6-1 6-3), Vitalia Diatchenko (6-0 6-4) and Aliaksandra Sasnovich (7-6 6-0) to secure back-to-back appearances in the final 8 at Wimbledon. Ostapenko trailed Sasnovich 2-5, down a double break, before she managed to fight back and run away with the match in the second.

Cibulkova holds a perfect 2-0 H2H record over Ostapenko. The pair met on grass in Eastbourne in 2016, Cibulkova won that match 6-3 6-3. Their most recent match was at Indian Wells last year, Cibulkova won 6-4 3-6 6-3 in a high quality clash.

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Jelena Ostapenko vs. Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Wimbledon R4 Preview

🇬🇧 Wimbledon, R4 Preview
🇱🇻 (12) Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇧🇾 Aliaksandra Sasnovich

Jelena Ostapenko will be out to maintain her perfect record over Aliaksandra Sasnovich and reach the quarter-final stage at Wimbledon In back-to-back visits when she meets the Belarussian on Manic Monday. Ostapenko went under the radar through week one, the 21-year-old did not drop a set through her first 3 matches and is one of only 3 former Grand Slam champions left in the draw heading into the round of 16. The Latvian now looms as a genuine contender but Sasnovich has defied the odds already at SW19 and will fancy her chances of an upset here.

Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in action during the third round at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships Grand Slam tournament

After Ostapenko won Roland Garros last year it would be easy to forget that grass is actually her most dangerous surface and her favourite surface. Ostapenko eased through the first week, taking full advantage of a favourable draw, claiming straight set wins over Katie Dunne, Kirsten Flipkens and Vitalia Diatchenko. It was just 4 years ago that Ostapenko won the junior Wimbledon title, she reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last year and is clearly very confident on this surface.

Aliaksandra Sasnovich is having the best year of her career and is now through to the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career. Sasnovich stared her campaign with a huge upset, defeating tournament favourite Petra Kvitova 6-4 4-6 6-0 in what was the biggest win of her career. Sasnovich has back-up that victory impressively well by claiming straight set wins over Taylor Townsend and the 26th seeded Daria Gavrilova, dropping just 4 games in each of those matches.

Ostapenko holds a 2-0 record over Sasnovich. Both of the previous matches went the distance, most recently the pair met at Wimbledon 12 months ago, the Latvian claimed a typically topsy-turvy 6-0 1-6 6-3 victory.

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Jelena Ostapenko vs. Agnieszka Radwanska, Eastbourne QF Preview

🇬🇧 Nature Valley International, Eastbourne QF Preview
🇱🇻 (5) Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇵🇱 Agnieszka Radwanska

A blockbuster quarter-finals clash opens proceedings on Thursday at the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne as the 5th seeded Jelena Ostapenko takes on former finalist: Agnieszka Radwanska. Interestingly, it is Ostapenko who enters this match as the favourite, can a resurgent Radwanska pull of the upset?

Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in action during the third round at the 2018 Nature Valley International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Ostapenko and Radwanska are both starting their grass court campaign’s in Eastbourne. Ostapenko has rocketed in the final 8, a 6-3 7-5 win over Kaia Kanepi followed by a 6-1 6-2 demolition of Mihaela Buzarnescu. Radwanska started the week with a comfortable 6-3 6-1 win over Timea Babos before fighting to a 5-7 7-6 6-0 win over Daria Gavrilova. After blowing a big lead in the opening set it was a gutsy win for Radwanska against Gavrilova, a meaningful win, a good sign that she was tough enough to get through that challenge.

The only previous meeting between the pair took place in New Haven in 2016. Radwanska won that match 7-5 6-1, her defensive skills really troubled Ostapenko on that occasion. It will be interesting to see how this match unfolds given the two have gone in different directions since their last meeting.

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Jelena Ostapenko vs. Kateryna Kozlova, Roland Garros R1 Preview

Roland Garros, R1 Preview
🇱🇻 (5) Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇺🇦 Kateryna Kozlova

Jelena Ostapenko will begin her title defense at Roland Garros on Sunday with an opening round clash against the Ukraine’s Kateryna Kozlova. Ostapenko will enter this match as a huge favourite but interestingly it is Kozlova who has won the only two previous matches between the pair. This is a new situation for Ostapenko, how will she handle the occasion?

Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia practices ahead of the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Ostapenko shocked the tennis world 12 months ago when she won a maiden Grand Slam title in Paris at the age of 19. Since then Ostapenko has established herself as a top 10 player, signalling that her Roland Garros triumph was no fluke. The Latvian’s form in the lead-up to Roland Garros has been average, amassing a 3-3 win/loss record on clay in 2018. Ostapenko’s latest result was a decent quarter-final showing in Rome where she succumbed to Maria Sharapova in a tight 3 set match.

Kozlova arrives in Paris having not won a match in almost 4 months. Kozlova has suffered 4 consecutive opening round losses since reaching the Taiwan final in February. Clay is Kozlova’s worst surface and she has never won a main draw match in Paris.

The good news for Kozlova is that she has won both of the previous matches between the pair, most recently it was Kozlova who claimed a 7-5 6-2 win over the Latvian on grass in s-hertogenbosch in 2016. Can Kozlova cause a huge upset?

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Jelena Ostapenko vs. Karolina Pliskova, Stuttgart QF Preview

Porsche Tennis GP, Stuttgart QF Preview
🇱🇻 (4) Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇨🇿 (5) Karolina Pliskova

The fourth and final quarter-final on Friday in Stuttgart is the pick of the bunch as the reigning Roland Garros champion comes up against an in-form Karolina Pliskova. Ostapenko and Pliskova are both playing great tennis in recent times, both will head into this match with a heap of confidence and an aggressive attitude, expect an exciting match between two big hitters.

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in action at the 2018 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix

Jelena Ostapenko kick-started her Stuttgart campaign in style with a commanding 6-3 6-0 win over Zarina Diyas. It took Ostapenko a while to get going but once she found her rhythm she proved to be a class above Diyas. Ostapenko has now won 8 of her last 9 matches, the Latvian has certainly turned a corner after making a slow start to the year.

Karolina Pliskova is having a great week in Stuttgart. Pliskova was involved in the Czech Republic’s Fed Cup semi-final over Germany at the weekend and is now into her 7th quarter-final in 2018 at her 7th event. Pliskova started the event with a commanding 6-2 6-2 win over Kiki Bertens before beating Veronika Kudermetova 7-6 6-3. Pliskova fired a huge 15 aces past Kudermetova in her second round win.

Pliskova holds a 2-1 H2H record over Ostapenko. The pair played out a memorable match at the Australian Open last year which Pliskova won 10-8 in the third set. More recently Ostapenko thrashed Pliskova 6-3 6-1 at the WTA finals last year (in what was actually a dead rubber).

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Jelena Ostapenko vs Sloane Stephens, Miami Final Preview

Miami Open, 🇺🇸🌞🐬🌴 Final 🏆 Preview
🇱🇻 (5) Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇺🇸 (13) Sloane Stephens

A blockbuster final at the Miami Open sees a pair of reigning Grand Slam champions collide when Jelena Ostapenko comes up against Sloane Stephens. Ostapenko and Stephens have followed similar paths of late, both struggled early in the year but both have come good in Miami in a big way. Interestingly this will be the first career meeting between Ostapenko and Stephens, it will be fascinating to see how this match-up pans out especially given how well both generally play on the big stage.

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Ostapenko arrived in Miami with a losing record to her name in 2018. The Latvian has really ignited her season in Miami, rocketing her way through to the final without dropping a set. Ostapenko started the event with a couple of hard fought victories over Timea Babos and Beatriz Haddad Maia. The reigning Roland Garros champion made her big move with back-to-back wins over top 10 opponents as she beat Petra Kvitova 7-6 6-3 and Elina Svitolina 7-6 7-6. Ostapenko confirmed her spot in a fourth career final with a hard-fought 7-6 6-3 win over Danielle Collins.

Ostapenko’s ability to raise her level under pressure has been the most impressive part of her run to the final. The 20-year-old has a perfect 5-0 record in tiebreaks in Miami, her brave tennis under pressure has been rewarded just as it was at Roland Garros last year.

Sloane Stephens has been equally impressive on route to the final. In the early rounds Stephens claimed a comfortable straight set win over Ajla Tomljanovic and a hard-fought 3 set over Monica Niculescu. Like Ostapenko, Stephens then claimed back-to-back straight set wins over top 10 opponents, beating Garbine Muguruza 6-3 6-4 and Angelique Kerber 6-1 6-2. Stephens confirmed her spot in Saturday’s Miami Open final with a 3-6 6-2 6-1 win over Victoria Azarenka, Stephens came from a set and a break down, winning 12 of the last 13 games to storm into her first final since the U.S Open last year.

This promises to be an extremely entertaining final, Ostapenko and Stephens have proven to be big game players in the last 12 months, both have played their best tennis of the biggest stages. Who will step up and claim the 2018 Miami Open title?

To view my Analysis / Prediction for this match: Click here
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Jelena Ostapenko vs Danielle Collins, Miami SF Preview

Miami Open, 🇺🇸🌞🐬🌴 SF Preview
🇱🇻 (5) Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇺🇸 (Q) Danielle Collins

Thursday’s second semi-final from the Miami Open will feature an unexpected match-up as reigning Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko comes up against local qualifier Danielle Collins. Ostapenko has powered through the draw, defeating 2 top 10 opponents in row to reach the final 4 in Miami. Collins has also been impressive, collecting 7 victories on route to the semi-finals having come through the qualifying draw. Ostapenko had never previously won a match in Miami before this event whilst Collins is the first qualifier to ever reach the semi-final stage in Miami, two unlikely semi-finalists.

It has been a frustrating start to the year for Ostapenko but everything is falling into place for the world number 5 in Miami. Ostapenko arrived in Miami with a modest 4-7 win/loss record to her name in 2018 and had not even beaten a top 50 opponent. In Miami the Latvian has beaten 3 top 50 opponents, including 2 top 10 opponents. Ostapenko received a bye through the opening round before beating Timea Babos 6-4 6-4 and Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-2 7-6. Ostapenko has really raised her level in her last couple of wins, a 7-6 6-3 win over Petra Kvitova and 7-6 7-6 over Elina Svitolina. The 20-year-old’s victories over Kvitova and Svitolina were both in difficult windy conditions, Ostapenko showed good mental fortitude to come out on top in all the critical moments in both of those matches.

The rise of Danielle Collins has been gobsmacking. Collins started the month having never won a main draw match of a WTA tour level event. Collins went on to reach the round of 16 in Indian Wells and is now into the semi-finals in Miami, meaning Collins is on the verge of reaching the top 50 in the rankings.

It has been a long journey to the semi-final stage for Collins. It started with straight set wins over Tereza Smitkova and Jana Cepelova in the qualifying draw and a comfortable opening round win over Irina-Camelia Begu. Collins battled through the middle stages of the event with 3 set wins over CoCo Vandeweghe, Donna Vekic and Monica Puig. Collins produced her most impressive performance of the event and indeed her entire career at the quarter-final stage as she easily disposed of Venus Williams, a 6-2 6-3 victory in her first match on the Stadium court. Collins could do nothing wrong, everything she tried worked on the night.

Thursday night’s semi-final will be the first tour level meeting between Ostapenko and Collins. Can Collins keep her dream run alive or will Ostapenko be too strong?

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