Lucie Safarova vs Ajla Tomljanovic, Australian Open R1 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R1 Preview
(29) 🇨🇿 Lucie Safarova vs (wc) 🇦🇺 Ajla Tomljanovic

Lucie Safarova will begin her Australian Open campaign with a potentially dangerous opening round encounter against Ajla Tomljanovic. Safarova will enter this clash as a decent favourite, the Czech has won only 2 previous matches between the pair and is ranked around 100 spots higher than the Aussie wild card. Nevertheless, Tomljanovic will be reasonably confident heading into this match. Tomljanovic played some good tennis in Brisbane to start the year, most notably a 3 set battle with Johanna Konta, there are signs Tomljanovic’s finally started track towards playing her best.

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Lucie Safarova suffered a heart-breaking loss in her only match in the lead-up to the Australian Open. Safarova was beaten by Angelique Kerber in 3 sets in the opening round of the Sydney International. Safarova was up a set and a break and had 2 match points in the second set tiebreak. Safarova could not close out the match and was no match for the German in the third set. Despite the loss, the signs were good for Safarova, the Czech was playing at a very high level, to get into a winning position against Kerber is a good result given how well the German is playing.

Ajla Tomljanovic has been awarded a wild card into the first Grand Slam of the year. The adopted Aussie has gained her Australian citizenship and will be representing Australia at Melbourne Park. Tomljanovic also played in a high quality match in the lead-up to the Australian Open. Tomljanovic was up a set against Konta in their second round match in Brisbane but she could not finish it off, losing in 3 sets.

Safarova has won the two previous matches between the pair, the most recent match took place in Miami last year where Safarova won 6-1 6-3. Will Safarova again be too strong for Tomljanovic or can the Aussie can a big upset?

Lucie Safarova vs Angelique Kerber, Sydney R1 Preview

Sydney International. R1 Preview
🇨🇿 Lucie Safarova vs 🇩🇪 Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber arrives in Sydney in superb form. The former Sydney International finalist had the perfect first week to the season, winning all 4 of her singles matches at the Hopman Cup, all in straight sets. There were signs that Kerber could be back to her 2016 self, the German will look to continue to build momentum in Sydney where she will face a tough opening round test against Lucie Safarova.

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Kerber’s lacklustre 2017 season was well documented after a superb 2016 saw her rise to number 1 in the world and win 2 Grand Slam titles. Kerber changed things up to start 2018 by starting her year at the Hopman Cup for the first time. It seemed to be a good move for Kerber who won all 4 of her singles matches, straight set wins over Elise Mertens, Eugenie Bouchard, Daria Gavrilova and Belinda Bencic. Kerber looked extremely sharp, calm, motivated and focused and played some of the best tennis we have seen from her in over a year, especially in her 6-4 6-1 demolition of Bencic in the final.

Lucie Safarova will be making her 2018 debut in Sydney. Safarova had an inconsistent year in 2017 but showed signs of better form towards the end of the year on hard courts. After a solid pre-season, Safarova will be keen to rise back up the rankings in 2018.

Safarova holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Kerber. Safarova has won the last two matches between the two, both on a hard court. A 6-4 6-3 win for Safarova at the WTA Finals in 2015 was their latest clash. Kerber’s form in Perth suggests she has a good chance to equal the head-to-head record in Sydney.

CoCo Vandeweghe vs Lucie Safarova, U.S Open R4 Preview

US Open, 🇺🇸🍎🗽🚕 R4 Preview + Prediction:
(20) 🇺🇸 CoCo Vandeweghe vs 🇨🇿 Lucie Safarova

CoCo Vandeweghe overcame a very negative h2h record to advance to the fourth round with a tough three set win over Agnieszka Radwanska. Vandeweghe will need to overcome another negative h2h record if she is to advance to the quarter-final stage in New York. Vandeweghe’s fourth round opponent on Monday will be Lucie Safarova, the Czech holds a 3-1 h2h record over Vandeweghe and has won their 3 most recent matches, including a three set win at Indian Wells earlier this year. This is a huge match for both ladies and we should see a tight contest with minimal break of serves. Who will step up and take this opportunity to reach the quarter-finals in New York. 

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Petra Kvitova vs Lucie Safarova, Birmingham SF Preview

WTA Aegon Classic, 🇬🇧 Birmingham SF Preview
SF #1: (7/wc) 🇨🇿 Petra Kvitova vs 🇨🇿 Lucie Safarova

Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova will go head-to-head for the tenth time when they meet at the semi-final of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham on Saturday. Kvitova has dominated Safarova, winning all nine of their previous encounters, the majority of which have been in straight sets. Safarova will enter this match with nothing to lose having come through two matches this week where she was match points down, with a mindset of having nothing to lose, Safarova is a threat. Nevertheless, Kvitova will enter this match as a big favourite, Petra is full of confidence having not dropped a set this week and will be the fresher of the pair, having spent far less time on court than Safarova.

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Daria Gavrilova vs Lucie Safarova, Birmingham QF Preview

WTA Aegon Classic, 🇬🇧 Birmingham QF Preview
QF #1: (9) 🇦🇺 Daria Gavrilova vs 🇨🇿 Lucie Safarova

Daria Gavrilova will look to square her head-to-head series with Lucie Safarova when the pair meet at the quarter-final stage at the Aegon Classic on Friday in Birmingham. This will be the 6th meeting between the pair, Safarova currently holds a 3-2 record over the Aussie, all five of their previous matches have been on a hard court. Gavrilova and Safarova have both been greatly challenged on route to the final 8 and are seemingly primed to contest an extremely tight, hard-fought encounter with a spot in the semi-finals up for grabs. Both Gavrilova and Safarova are coming off first round exits at Roland Garros so will be looking to build momentum ahead of Wimbledon where a similar result would be a disastrous result for both ladies.

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Caroline Wozniacki vs Lucie Safarova, Miami QF Preview

Miami Open, 🇺🇸🌴🐬 QF Match Preview
(12) 🇩🇰 Caroline Wozniacki vs 🇨🇿 Lucie Safarova

An intriguing contest between Caroline Wozniacki and Lucie Safarova will take place at the quarter-final stage of the Miami Open. Caroline Wozniacki is arguably the form player on tour at the moment, the Dane is now into her fourth consecutive quarter-final and has won 15 of her last 18 matches. Lucie Safarova is also in good form, the Czech has breezed through her first four matches in Miami in straight sets and will be a dangerous opponent for Wozniacki.

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Serena Williams vs Lucie Safarova, Australian Open R2 Preview

Australian Open, 🇦🇺 Second Round Match preview
(2) 🇺🇸 Serena Williams vs 🇨🇿 Lucie Safarova

Serena Williams continues her bid for a seventh Australian Open title on Thursday night when she comes up against Lucie Safarova in a dangerous second round match-up. It was only a year and a half ago that these two were playing in the final of Roland Garros, now they meet at the second round stage of a major (courtesy of Safarova’s ranking slip). Williams will be wary of Safarova but will head into this match with a lot of confidence having won all 9 previous matches between the pair.

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Lucie Safarova vs Eugenie Bouchard, Rogers Cup R1 Preview

Coupe Rogers, 1st Round Match Preview + Prediction 🇨🇦🍁
🇨🇿 Lucie Safarova vs 🇨🇦 Eugenie Bouchard

The most intriguing first round clash at the 2016 Rogers Cup sees local hopeful Eugenie Bouchard come up against Lucie Safarova. Safarova and Bouchard have both been unable to produce their best tennis on a consistent basis in 2016 given both have had to regain form after lengthy injury layoffs, both are now in better physical shape and will be looking to play better tennis throughout the second half of the year

Lucie Safarova is still searching for her first win on a hard court in 2016, furthermore Lucie has generally struggled at the Rogers Cup in recent years having suffered a first round loss in 2 of her last 3 appearances at the event. The Czech should be well positioned to play at a higher level during the U.S Open series, Lucie will be in the best physical shape that she has been in all year and will be joined by coach Rob Steckley in Montreal this week. 

 

Eugenie Bouchard has also struggled throughout season 2016 but has seemed to be close to finding some good form. There is always a lot of pressure on Genie when she competes at the Rogers Cup given the local interest in her performance. Bouchard has been unable to deal with that pressure having only managed to claim 2 main draw victories at the event in her 6 main draw appearances. Bouchard made a disappointing start to the U.S Open series last week in Washington where she suffered a surprise straight set loss to Camila Giorgi in the first round.

Lucie Safarova won the only previous encounter between the pair, a 3-6 6-3 6-2 on the hard courts of Quebec back in 2013. Much had changed since their only previous match but another three set match seems likely. Both ladies will be looking to gain confidence and momentum heading into the Olympics and the U.S Open, this is a tough match to call given how even this match-up seems, I’m going to side with the Canadian. It’s about time Bouchard claimed some decent victories at the Rogers Cup, this seems like a winnable match for her.

Prediction: Eugenie Bouchard to defeat Lucie Safarova in 3 sets

Lucie Safarova vs Misaki Doi, Rome R2 Preview

Internazionali BNL D'italia, Rome R2:
(10) 🇨🇿 Lucie Safarova vs 🇯🇵 Misaki Doi

Lucie Safarova will look to continue her recent resurgence when she comes up against Misaki Doi in the second round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Wednesday. The Czech is finally starting to play much closer to the level that saw her excel in 2014 and 2015 and will be a strong favourite against Doi in their first career meeting.

It took Lucie Safarova a while to get going in season 2016 after repeat health problems sidelined the Czech for the entire Australian summer. It took Safarova until Prague last month to claim her first victory over the year, the Czech is now on a 7 match winning streak having won her seventh career title at the Prague Open. Lucie was forced to withdraw from her second round clash in Madrid last week due to another unfortunate illness (food poisoning) but managed to make a winning start to her Rome campaign on Monday. Safarova claimed a comfortable 6-3 6-2 win over Francesca Schiavone, the Czech was in control for the entire match, overpowering the veteran from the baseline to secure her spot in the second round at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, Rome. 

 

Misaki Doi advanced past the first round in Rome for the very first time on Monday courtesy of a hard-fought 7-6 6-1 win over Alize Cornet. Doi was in trouble for the majority of the first set but managed to fight back on multiple occasions. Cornet twice failed to serve out the set before Doi pinched the set in a tiebreaker. Cornet never recovered from the first set disappointment as Doi cruised to victory. Clay has never been a good surface for Doi but she will hope to change that in 2016. An upset win over Safarova would be a big confidence boost.

This will be the first career meeting between Safarova and Doi. This is an interesting match-up between two lefties, ultimately Safarova should have the clear edge. Safarova does most things (everything?) better than Doi and is currently playing with a renewed sense of confidence after her recent success in Prague. Safarova will look to keep her momentum going in Rome as we move closer to the second Grand Slam of the year in Paris where Lucie has finalist points to defend. A confident, motivated Safarova should be too strong here for Doi on this occasion. 

Prediction: Lucie Safarova to defeat Misaki Doi in 2 sets


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Lucie Safarova vs Karolina Pliskova, Stuttgart R1 Preview

Stuttgart R1: (8) Lucie Safarova vs Karolina Pliskova

An interesting first round clash on Wednesday at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart sees compatriots Lucie Safarova and Karolina Pliskova collide. Karolina Pliskova arrives in Stuttgart in good form having helped guide the Czech Republic to another Fed Cup final on the weekend. Lucie Safarova’s recent form hasn’t been great but she will be confident heading into the clay court season after her stunning run to the final at Roland Garros last year.

Lucie Safarova is yet to win a singles match in 2016, suffering four consecutive first round exits ever since her belated start to the season. However, Safarova has enjoyed success in doubles, claiming the Miami Open title alongside Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Safarova has had a good amount of time to prepare for Stuttgart and should be better positioned physically heading into this tournament. Clay has not traditionally been Lucie’s best surface, however last year’s run to the final at Roland Garros will give the Czech a new sense of belief on clay.

 

Karolina Pliskova’s early season form has also been quite substandard, however the Czech showed signs of a form revival in Indian Wells where she reached the semi-finals. Pliskova was in Fed Cup action on the weekend, surprisingly losing to Viktorija Golubic before rebounding strongly to defeat Timea Bacsinszky and play a part in the deciding doubles rubber. Pliskova will have little time to practise on clay before her first round match and therefore could potentially struggle in this match.

Pliskova holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Safarova. Pliskova won both matches against Safarova last year, both on a hard court earlier in the season, a straight set win in Antwerp and a three set win in Dubai. Safarova won the only previous match between the pair on a clay court, but that was way back in 2011.

Recent form suggests that Pliskova will win this match, however I’m going to side with Safarova. I think Safarova will be better prepared for this event, having spent a good week preparing on the clay, whilst Safarova is rushing straight from Fed Cup which was played on a hard court. Safarova has generally shown greater ability on a clay court, particularly last season. I also think this match means a bit more to Safarova given her current situation.

Prediction: Lucie Safarova to defeat Karolina Pliskova in 3 sets