Garbine Muguruza vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Stuttgart R2 Preview

Porsche Tennis GP, Stuttgart R2 Preview
🇪🇸 (2) Garbine Muguruza vs. 🇷🇺 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

The pick of the second round matches on Thursday from the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix sees the second seeded Garbine Muguruza kick-start her Stuttgart campaign with a potentially difficult clash against Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Garbine Muguruza arrives in Stuttgart on a high having helped guide Spain to a 3-0 victory over Paraguay in their Fed Cup world group 2 playoff and having won the title in Monterrey prior to that. Muguruza also holds a 3-0 H2H record over Pavlyuchenkova, all signs seemingly point to a Muguruza win.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia in action at the 2018 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix

Muguruza seems to finally be working her way into form in 2018. It was in Monterrey where Muguruza committed to building her confidence at the International level, dropping just 1 set on route to the title. More recently Muguruza was involved in Spain’s Fed Cup world group 2 playoff victory over Paraguay. The reigning Wimbledon champion was surprisingly pushed all the way in her first match with Montserrat Gonzalez before claiming a straight set win over Veronica Cepede Royg to end the tie. Muguruza will be hoping to continue to build momentum in Stuttgart as she seeks to add some more big title to her trophy cabinet.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova had made a horror start to 2018 but there have been some good signs for the Russian of late. Pavlyuchenkova had a good victory over Anastasija Sevastova during Russia’s Fed Cup world group 2 playoff defeat at the hands of Latvia on the weekend. Pavlyuchenkova started her Stuttgart campaign with a critical 7-6 5-7 6-4 win over Madison Keys, her biggest win of the season to date. Pavlyuchenkova looked to be heading for a straight set win for most of the match but did well to regroup in the third set and finally clinch victory in a match that lasted over 3 hours.

It is Muguruza who enters this match with a 3-0 H2H advantage. The most recent match between the pair was in Cincinnati in 2016, a 7-5 6-1 win for Muguruza. This will be their first career meeting on clay.

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Angelique Kerber vs. Anett Kontaveit, Stuttgart R2 Preview

Porsche Tennis GP, Stuttgart R2 Preview
🇩🇪 Angelique Kerber vs. 🇪🇪 Anett Kontaveit

Angelique Kerber continues her Stuttgart campaign on Thursday evening with a second round clash against Estonia’s Annett Kontaveit. Kerber kick-started her Stuttgart campaign with an impressive straight set win over Petra Kvitova, avenging her loss to the Czech star just a few days ago at the Fed Cup semi-final stage. The 2016 Stuttgart champion will look to build momentum and push towards another title with a victory over Kontaveit.

Angelique Kerber of Germany in action at the 2018 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix

Kerber produced a near-flawless performance in the opening round as she cruised past Petra Kvitova 6-3 6-2. It was a big win for Kerber who would have been bitterly disappointed with her efforts on the weekend as she was beaten by Karolina Pliskova and Kvitova in straight sets as Germany lost to the Czech Republic in the Fed Cup semi-final. As expected Kerber came out breathing fire against Kvitova, clearly she was desperate for revenge and she got just that, in commanding fashion.

Anett Kontaveit was less convincing in her opening round win but her victory was extremely important. Kontaveit claimed a hard-fought 5-7 7-6 7-6 win over Kristina Mladenovic to snap a 4-match losing streak. It was a match that lasted over 3 hours, a dramatic, topsy-turvy encounter between two players that have not been in good form of late. It was a match full of errors and missed chances but to Kontaveit’s credit, it was the Estonian who was slightly tougher in the critical moments.

Interestingly it was Kontaveit who won the only previous match between the pair. A 6-4 6-0 demolition in Rome last year. At that time it was Kontaveit who was in career best form whilst Kerber was in a slump, heading into their Stuttgart clash it is Kerber who is in great form and Kontaveit who is in a slump.

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Caroline Garcia vs. Marta Kostyuk, Stuttgart R2 Preview

Porsche Tennis GP, Stuttgart R2 Preview
🇫🇷 (6) Caroline Garcia vs. 🇺🇦 (Q) Marta Kostyuk

An exciting second round clash in Stuttgart sees the 6th seeded Caroline Garcia come up against 15-year-old rising star Marta Kostyuk. Both Garcia and Kostyuk enter this match on a high. Garcia claimed a huge win over Maria Sharapova in the opening round whilst Kostyuk has already won 4 matches in Stuttgart having come through a tough qualifying draw to reach the main draw.

Caroline Garcia of France in action at the 2018 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix

Caroline Garcia’s 3-6 7-6 6-4 victory over Maria Sharapova on Tuesday was one of the biggest wins of the Frenchwoman’s career. Whilst Sharapova is not at her best right now, it was the manner in which Garcia fought past one of the greatest competitors the game has seen that was extremely impressive. Garcia looked destined for defeat for the vast majority of the match, two points from defeat in the second set tiebreak and down a break in the third set, it would have been easy for Garcia to crack. However, Garcia kept fighting and eventually over-powered Sharapova to claim a memorable win.

Marta Kostyuk is easily the most impressive teenager on tour. At 15 years of age, Kostyuk is already inside the top 150 and has had impressive results in 2018, most notably a run to the third round at the Australian Open. Kostyuk secured her spot in the main draw by coming from a set down to defeat Alize Cornet in the final round of qualifying after she defeated Julia Middendorf and Alexandra Cadantu in straight sets. Kostyuk kicked off her main draw campaign with a fairly comfortable 6-4 6-1 win over Antonia Lottner. At this stage of the tournament Kostyuk now has nothing to lose.

This will be the first career meeting between Garcia and Kostyuk. It will be the second time Kostyuk has come up against a top 10 opponent after she was beaten by Svitolina in straight sets at the Australian Open earlier this year.

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Elina Svitolina vs. Marketa Vondrousova, Stuttgart R2 Preview

Porsche Tennis GP, Stuttgart R2 Preview
🇺🇦 (3) Elina Svitolina vs. 🇨🇿 (Q) Marketa Vondrousova

Elina Svitolina will begin her 2018 Stuttgart campaign with a second round clash against Czech Qualifier Marketa Vondrousova. Svitolina is competing in Stuttgart for the first time in her career, the third seed received a bye through the opening round. Svitolina easily defeated Vondrousova earlier this year in Dubai, can the teenager can this a more competitive encounter?

Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic in action at the 2018 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix

Elina Svitolina has been typically consistent in 2018 but her results are the biggest tournaments have not been terrific. Svitolina arrives in Stuttgart having not played an event for a couple of weeks, her last outing was a quarter-final appearance in Miami where she was beaten by Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets. Clay is arguably Svitolina’s best surface, the 2017 Rome champion will be hoping to add a few titles to her collection over the coming months, ideally a major.

Marketa Vondrousova is already having a great week in Stuttgart. Vondrousova made her way through a tough qualifying draw, the 19-year-old went the distance in all 3 of her wins, beating Karolina Muchova, Oceane Dodin and Carina Witthoeft to secure a spot in the main draw. Vondrousova’s most impressive performance of the event thus far came at the opening round stage of the main draw, a surprisingly comprehensive 6-2 6-2 victory over Julia Goerges. It was a clinical performance by Vondrousova who did not face a break point all match.

The only previous match between the pair ended in a 6-2 6-4 win for Svitolina in Doha earlier this year.

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Simona Halep vs. Magdalena Rybarikova, Stuttgart R2 Preview

Porsche Tennis GP, Stuttgart R2 Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇸🇰 Magdalena Rybarikova

Simona Halep will begin her 2018 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix campaign with a second round clash against Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova. The top seeded Halep received a bye through the opening round whilst Rybarikova caused the first big upset of the tournament by defeating Daria Kasatkina in straight sets. Interestingly this has historically been a tough match-up for Simona, Rybarikova has beaten the world number 1 on multiple occasions and will fancy her chances of an upset here.

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Simona Halep arrives in Stuttgart on a high after guiding Romania into the Fed Cup world Group at the weekend with victory over Switzerland. Halep won both of her singles matches as Romania secured a 3-0 victory. Halep defeated Golubic in 3 sets and claimed a 6-2 6-1 win over Patty Schnyder to end the tie. This is the time of the year where Halep is at her most dangerous, Halep is undoubtedly the number 1 player on clay on the WTA tour and will have her sights set on a number of big titles over the coming months, starting by potentially winning her first Stuttgart title.

Magdalena Rybarikova was extremely impressive in her opening round match in Stuttgart, The Slovakian claimed a comprehensive 6-2 6-2 victory over Daria Kasatkina, Rybarikova served extremely well throughout the match and successfully moved up the court frequently. Whilst clay is typically Rybarikova’s least preferred surface, the quicker indoor clay court conditions in Stuttgart actually play nicely for Rybarikova game.

Halep holds a 3-2 H2H record over Rybarikova, however on closer inspection it is Rybarikova who has the slight advantage having won 2 of their 3 completed matches. It was Halep who won their most recent completed match, a 6-3 6-4 win at the Rogers Cup last year.

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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?

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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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Sloane Stephens vs Victoria Azarenka, Miami SF Preview

Miami Open, 🇺🇸🌞🐬🌴 SF Preview
🇺🇸 (13) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇧🇾 (wc) Victoria Azarenka

A blockbuster semi-final clash at the Miami Open sees reigning U.S open champion Sloane Stephens take on 3-time former Miami Open champion Victoria Azarenka. Stephens and Azarenka have both played scintillating tennis in their last couple of matches on route to the final 4 stage, both enter this match desperate to reach a big final for the first time in a while. This promises to be a thrilling match, who will prevail?

This has been an important event for both Stephens and Azarenka. Sloane Stephens is into her first semi-final since winning the U.S Open last year whilst Azarenka will be competing in her first semi-final since her title run in Miami back in 2016.

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Sloane Stephens has cruised past two quality opponents in a row to reach the semi-final stage in Miami. Stephens claimed straight set victories over Garbine Muguruza (6-3 6-4) and Angelique Kerber (6-1 6-2), back-to-back wins over top 10 opponents to ensure that Stephens herself will reach the top 10 for the first time when the latest rankings come out next week. Earlier in the event Stephens thrashed Ajla Tomljanovic in straight sets and came from a set down to defeat Monica Niculescu. This is clearly the best tennis Sloane has played since her heroics at the U.S Open last year.

Amazingly Stephens has a 22-5 win-loss record in North American over the past year whilst in any other country she has a 0-9 win-loss record. Clearly the reigning U.S Open champion saves her best tennis for her home continent…

Victoria Azarenka is on an 11-match winning streak in Miami. Alongside the Australian Open it would be fair to say that the Miami Open is the most successful tournament for the 3-time former champion. Like Stephens, Azarenka has ripped through two quality opponents in a row to reach the semi-finals. A 6-2 6-2 win over Agnieszka Radwanska and a 7-5 6-3 win over Karolina Pliskova. Azarenka’s return of serve has been particularly damaging, the Belarussian has consistently been at the top of the return points won standings this tournament.

Azarenka holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Stephen. It was Azarenka who won the first three matches between the pair, all in straight sets at the Australian Open between 2013 and 2015. However, most recently it was Stephens who prevailed 6-1 7-5 just a few weeks ago in Indian Wells. There is certainly an underlying tension between these two, they do not particularly like each other and will both be desperate to win Thursday’s clash in Miami. Expect fireworks.

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Naomi Osaka vs Serena Williams, Miami R1 Preview

Miami Open, 🇺🇸🌞🐬🌴 R1 Preview
🇯🇵 Naomi Osaka vs. 🇺🇸 (wc) Serena Williams

The pick of the opening round clashes at the Miami Open sees the newly crowned Indian Wells champion: Naomi Osaka, come up against 8 time former Miami champion: Serena Williams. This is by far the toughest opening round match-up in the draw, a brutal match-up for both. This will be the first career meeting between Osaka and Williams, an intriguing clash between the future and the present/past of women’s tennis. In many ways, there are real similarities between Osaka and a young Williams, similar strengths and power. Also linking the pair is the fact that Osaka’s coach is Serena’s long time former hitting partner Sascha Bajin. Intriguing indeed.

Naomi Osaka of Japan in action at the 2018 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Naomi Osaka arrives in Miami on a high after winning the first title of her career at the premier mandatory level event in Indian Wells. It was an outstanding event for Osaka, the 20-year-old handily beat multiple quality opponents on route to the title, winning 7 consecutive matches for the first time in her career. Osaka claimed wins over Sharapova, Radwanska, Vickery, Sakkari, Pliskova, Halep and Kasatkina. A list that includes wins over 3 former/current number 1’s. The way in which Osaka cruised through her last 3 matches in straight sets dropping a combined 13 games was exceptionally impressive, especially given Osaka’s inexperience at later stages of big events. Osaka showed consistency, patience and maturity that we have not seen from her before. It will be interesting to see how Osaka responds after such an amazing event.

Serena Williams made her much anticipated return to the WTA tour in Indian Wells. The 23-time Grand Slam champion managed to win a couple of matches in her first tournament in over a year, her first tournament since giving birth. Serena claimed straight set wins over Zarina Diyas and Kiki Bertens before succumbing to Venus Williams in straight sets. Overall it was a positive week for Serena who showed that it will not be long before she returns to the top of the game. Miami is a second home to Serena Williams, the 36-year-old has won the Miami Open on 8 previous occasions, most recently in 2015. `After a reasonably early exit in Indian Wells expect Serena to be extremely motivated heading into Miami.




It will be interesting to see what type of level Osaka can bring to this match, if she plays how she did throughout the last couple of weeks in Indian Wells then she has a great chance of pushing Serena Williams. However, replicating her Indian Wells level in Miami will be a tough, that’s for sure, getting passed a determined Serena will also be very tough.

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Monica Puig vs Samantha Stosur, Miami R1 Preview

Miami Open, 🇺🇸🌞🐬🌴 R1 Preview
🇵🇷 Monica Puig vs 🇦🇺 Samantha Stosur

Monica Puig and Samantha Stosur will renew hostilities when they meet at the opening round stage of the 2018 Miami Open. Puig and Stosur played out a dramatic opening round clash at the Australian Open earlier this year, a match where Puig came from a set down and saved match point on route to a memorable victory. Undoubtedly, Stosur’s loss to Puig in Melbourne was a devastating one, the Aussie will head into this match in Miami with revenge on her mind.

Monica Puig is still yet to claim back-to-back main draw victories in 2018. The Puerto Rican continues to be a disappointment, we know that the Rio gold medallists best is good but we scarcely see her best tennis, certainly not on a consistent basis. Puig will hope she can finally build some momentum this week in Miami, a second home to the 24-year-old, certainly conditions she will feel comfortable in.

Sam Stosur is also yet to win back-to-back main draw matches in 2018 and has for the most part continued to underachieve just like Puig has. Like Puig, Stosur was eliminated in the second round in Indian Wells last week. Stosur started the event with a positive 3 set win over Lauren Davis before suffering a straight set win to Kristina Mladenovic. Stosur had leads in each set in her loss to Mladenovic so it was a typically disappointing result and manner in which the Aussie lost.




Stosur holds a 4-2 head-to-head record over Puig. However, it is Puig who has won the last couple of matches between the pair. Puig defeated Stosur 6-4 6-4 in Sydney in 2016, most recently Puig beat Stosur 4-6 7-6 6-4 at the Australian Open earlier this year. So, both can take confidence from the head-to-head record.

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