Monica Puig vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Australian Open R1 Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, R1 Preview
🇵🇷 Monica Puig vs. 🇷🇺 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Monica Puig and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova loomed as two of the most dangerous unseeded players heading into the Australian Open main draw, the pair will go head-to-head in what should be a fierce opening round clash. Puig and Pavlyuchenkova are both extremely dangerous at their best but both are very inconsistent, which of the two will pull it together in Melbourne?

Monica Puig of Puerto Rico in action during her second-round match at the 2019 Sydney International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Puig and Pavlyuchenkova have both made fairly disappointing starts to their respective seasons.

Monica Puig’s only 2 victories in 2019 have been against Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Puig was beaten in straight sets by Su-Wei Hsieh in the second round in Auckland, more recently Puig lost to Anett Kontaveit in 3 sets in the opening round of the Sydney International having secured a lucky-loser spot after a 1-6 0-6 demolition at the hands of Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova started her season in Shenzhen where she crushed Ana Bogdan in the first round before surprisingly succumbing to Veronika Kudermetova in the second round. Pavlyuchenkova also competed in Hobart last week where she was beaten in the opening round by Vera Lapko in 3 sets.

The only previous match between the pair took place during Monica Puig’s stunning gold medal run in Rio back in 2016, Puig won that match in straight sets.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Sloane Stephens vs. Taylor Townsend, Australian Open R1 Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, R1 Preview
🇺🇸 (5) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇺🇸 Taylor Townsend

Sloane Stephens is the great unknown heading into the 2019 Australian Open. The 2017 US Open champion begins her Melbourne Park campaign with an opening round match-up against Taylor Townsend. At her best, Stephens is a genuine contender for the title, however, on current form she is no guarantee to get through this potentially tough first round match with Townsend.

Sloane Stephens of the United States in action during the first round of the 2019 Sydney International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Stephens has made a typically lackluster start to the season. Stephens started the year in Brisbane where she looked lethargic in a straight set loss to Johanna Konta. Stephens fought harder in Sydney, the American came from a set down to beat Ekaterina Alexandrova in a final set tiebreak in the first round but was unceremoniously dumped from the tournament by Yulia Putintseva in the second round. Stephens led Putintseva by a set and 5-3 before being forced to a deciding set where she did not win a single game.

Taylor Townsend will be searching for her first main draw victory at Melbourne Park on Monday when she takes on the 5th seed. Townsend has only played 1 match in 2019, a decent showing but a loss nevertheless. Townsend was beaten in 3 tight sets at the opening round stage in Auckland by Barbora Strycova.

This will be the first career meeting between Stephens and Townsend.

Which Sloane Stephens will show up to Melbourne Park?

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Caroline Wozniacki vs. Alison Van Uytvanck, Australian Open R1 Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, R1 Preview
🇩🇰 (3) Caroline Wozniacki vs. 🇧🇪 Alison Van Uytvanck

Caroline Wozniacki begins her title defense at the Australian Open with an opening round clash against Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck on Monday. Wozniacki finally claimed an elusive Grand Slam title at Melbourne Park 12 months ago, can she challenge for a second slam in 2019? It seems the defending champion will have her work cut over the next fortnight.

Wozniacki made an unimpressive start to her 2019 campaign. The Dane was eliminated at the second round stage in Auckland, the top seed was upset by Bianca Andreescu in straight sets. The pressure is on Wozniacki this week, it is the first time she has been in the situation of defending a Grand Slam title, it will be interesting to see how she handles the occasion.

Alison Van Uytvanck has also made an unimpressive start to her 2019 campaign. Van Uytvanck was forced to retire in her first match of the season in Auckland and was beaten in the second round last week in Hobart, a straight set loss to Anna Karolina Schmiedlova. Van Uytvanck has never won a main draw match at the Australian Open, having suffered 4 first round exits in the past.

The only previous match between the pair took place in Rome last year, Wozniacki won that match 6-1 6-4.

Will Wozniacki have any trouble kick-starting her title defense?

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Jelena Ostapenko vs. Maria Sakkari, Australian Open R1 Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, R1 Preview
🇱🇻 (22) Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇬🇷 Maria Sakkari

One of the toughest opening round match-ups at Melbourne Park on Monday sees the 22nd seeded Jelena Ostapenko take on Maria Sakkari, the Greek rising star. Ostapenko arrives at Melbourne Park in a slump, the Latvian has lost her first two matches of the season and will need a dramatic improvement if she is to get through this tough opening round match-up.

Maria Sakkari of Greece practices ahead of the 2019 Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Jelena Ostapenko is a shadow of the player that stormed to the Roland Garros title in 2017. Ostapenko started her 2019 campaign with an embarrassing opening round loss to Monica Niculescu in Shenzhen where she won just 2 games. More recently Ostapenko played n Sydney where she produced a more respectable level but was still beaten by Ashleigh Barty in straight sets.

Maria Sakkari has made a more impressive start to her 2019 campaign. Sakkari started the season at the Hopman Cup where she went 2 from 3 in her singles matches, Sakkari defeated Katie Boulter and Belinda Bencic in straight sets whilst succumbing to Serena Williams in a competitive straight set loss. Sakkari did however suffer an opening round loss to Magda Linette in Hobart last week, perhaps it was for the best.

The only previous match between the pair took place in Charleston in 2017, Ostapenko won that match 6-2 4-6 6-2. Much has changed since then, Sakkari will fancy her chances this time around.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Monica Niculescu vs. Amanda Anisimova, Australian Open R1 Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, R1 Preview
🇷🇴 Monica Niculescu vs. 🇺🇸 Amanda Anisimova

The hipster match-up of the day at Melbourne Park on Monday sees Monica Niculescu take on Amanda Anisimova. This match-up features a huge contrast in styles, perhaps the biggest contrast possible. The famous Niculescu forehand slice up against the powerful young American who is quickly rising up the rankings.

Niculescu and Anisimova have both made decent starts to their respective seasons. Niculescu fought through the qualifying draw all the way to the quarter-finals in Shenzhen whilst Anisimova reached the quarter-finals in Auckland. Both players claimed notable victories in their first tournament of the year. Niculescu thrashed Jelena Ostapenko in Shenzhen whilst Anisimova cruised past Barbora Strycova in Auckland in what loomed as a tricky match-up for the American.

This will be the first career meeting between Niculescu and Anisimova. This should be entertaining match-up because of the extreme contrast in styles. Anisimova is young and powerful whilst Niculescu is experienced and smart. Who will prevail?

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Barbora Strycova vs. Yulia Putintseva, Australian Open R1 Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, R1 Preview
🇨🇿 (32) Barbora Strycova vs. 🇰🇿 Yulia Putintseva

One of the more exciting opening round match-ups at the 2019 Australian Open sees the 32nd seeded Barbora Strycova take on Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva. Strycova and Putintseva are two of the most versatile and volatile players on tour, expect an entertaining clash between these two.

Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan in action during her second-round match at the 2019 Sydney International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Barbora Strycova has made a disappointing start to her 2019 campaign. Strycova was beaten in the second round in Auckland, a straight set loss to Amanda Anisimova. More recently Strycova fell at the opening round hurdle in the qualifying draw at the Sydney International, this time Strycova was beaten by Zarina Diyas in 3 sets, Strycova was up by a break in the deciding set in her loss to Diyas.

Conversely, Yulia Putintseva has made an impressive start to her 2019 campaign. Putintseva started the season with a narrow opening round loss to Karolina Pliskova in Brisbane. Putintseva led Pliskova by a set and a break before succumbing in a tight third set, good form considering Pliskova went on to win the title in Brisbane. Putintseva arrives in Melbourne fresh off a quarter-final appearance in Sydney where she came from a set and a break down to claim a memorable victory over Sloane Stephens in the second round.

Strycova leads the head-to-head 2-1 heading into this match. However, it was Putintseva who won their most recent match, a 6-4 6-3 win at Roland Garros last year.

Can an in form Putintseva take down the 32nd seed?

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Ashleigh Barty vs. Jelena Ostapenko, Sydney R1 Preview

🦒 Sydney International, R1 Preview
🇱🇻 Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇦🇺 Ashleigh Barty

Ash Barty begins her Sydney International campaign with a potentially difficult opening round clash with Jelena Ostapenko. The top ranked Australian woman heads into this match as a strong favourite. Barty brings good form into this event having ended 2018 really well and having played some good matches in Perth last week, conversely Ostapenko is in awful form and in desperate need of a form reversal before heading to Melbourne.

Ostapenko has lost 6 of her last 8 matches spanning back to the US Open last year. Ostapenko made a messy start to the 2019 season, the 2017 Roland Garros champion was thrashed by Monica Niculescu, Ostapenko managed to win just 2 games in her first round match with the Romanian in Shenzhen and looked very rusty.

On the other hand, Ash Barty is in great form. Barty has won 9 of her last 12 matches having ended 2018 on high by winning the title in Zhuhai. Barty started her 2019 campaign with a solid showing at the Hopman Cup, Barty defeated Alize Cornet and Garbine Muguruza in straight sets before being beaten by Angelique Kerber in straight sets. Barty made the final in Sydney last year and will be hoping to go one step further in 2019.

Can Ostapenko find some decent form in Sydney and Challenge the top ranked Aussie?

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Sloane Stephens vs. Ekaterina Alexandrova, Sydney R1 Preview

🦒 Sydney International, R1 Preview
🇺🇸 (4) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇷🇺 (Q) Ekaterina Alexandrova

Sloane Stephens continues her search for a much needed win in Australia when she takes on Russian qualifier Ekaterina Alexandrova in the opening round of the Sydney International. Sloane Stephens has not won a match in Australia since a first round win in Hobart way back in 2015, she would like to change that in Sydney before heading into the first Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne next week.

Sloane Stephens of the United States in action during her first-round match at the 2019 Brisbane International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Stephens started her 2019 campaign with a disappointing straight set loss to Johanna Konta in Brisbane last week. Stephens looked very rusty in Brisbane last week, she looked sluggish and uninspired. Stephens has been in Sydney for a decent amount of time thanks to her early round exit in Brisbane, it will be interesting to see what type of level she bring to this match, from the outside it seems like an important one for her.

Ekaterina Alexandrova has made a decent start to the season. Alexandrova started her season in Shenzhen last week where she beat Dalila Jakupovic in straight sets before succumbing to the eventual champion: Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets. Alexandrova made her way through the qualifying draw in Sydney with ease, the Russian beat Stefanie Voegele in straight sets before benefiting from the retirement of Johanna Konta early in their match.

Alexandrova is a dangerous opponent on her day, can the talented young Russian take down the 4th seed?

To view my analysis / prediction of this match: Click here

Karolina Pliskova vs. Lesia Tsurenko, Brisbane Final Preview

Brisbane International, Final Preview
🇨🇿 (5) Karolina Pliskova vs. 🇺🇦 Lesia Tsurenko

Sunday night’s championship match at the Brisbane International sees 2017 champion Karolina Pliskova take on Lesia Tsurenko. Pliskova heads into this match as a strong favourite but Tsurenko is in great form and is not to be dismissed.

Lesia Tsurenko of the Ukraine in action during the semifinal of the 2019 Brisbane International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Karolina Pliskova has been very successful in Brisbane over the last couple of years. Pliskova won the tournament in 2017 and reached the semi-finals last year, she now has the chance to win a second title at the first premier level final of the year.

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Pliskova this week, she started the week with a tough match against Yulia Putintseva where she came from a set and a break down. Pliskova’s level has generally increased as the week has gone on, her most consistent performance came at the semi-final stage where she beat Donna Vekic 6-3 6-4.

Lesia Tsurenko has progressed to her first premier level final without dropping a set. Tsurenko cruised through her first few matches against Mihaela Buzarnescu and Kimberly Birrell before winning a tight match against an in-form Anett Kontaveit. Tsurenko’s biggest win came at the semi-final stage where she claimed a big 6-2 6-4 win over Naomi Osaka.

Pliskova heads into this match with a 3-2 head-to-head record over Tsurenko. The most recent match between the pair took place on clay in Madrid in 2017, Pliskova won that match 7-6 2-6 6-2.

Will Pliskova win her second Brisbane title or will Tsurenko claim the biggest title of her career?

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Naomi Osaka vs. Lesia Tsurenko, Brisbane SF Preview

Brisbane International – SF Preview
🇯🇵 (2) Naomi Osaka vs. 🇺🇦 Lesia Tsurenko

Naomi Osaka continues her Brisbane International campaign on Saturday with a semi-final showdown against Lesia Tsurenko. Osaka is seemingly the player to beat this week in Brisbane after a sensational performance against Anastasija Sevastova in the quarter-finals. Osaka will be very confident heading into this match given her demolition of Tsurenko in their only previous meeting.

Naomi Osaka of Japan in action during the quarter-final at the 2019 Brisbane International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Osaka made a real statement in a 3-6 6-0 6-4 win over Anastasija Sevastova to reach the semi-finals in Brisbane. Osaka was outplayed in the first set and seemed destined for a third consecutive loss against the tricky Latvian. However, Osaka rallied and produced an extremely high level over the second and third sets to turn the match around and claim a critical win over a troublesome opponent.

Lesia Tsurenko also heads into this match with confidence having navigated her way to the semi-finals in Brisbane without dropping a set. Tsurenko started the week with a 6-0 6-2 thrashing of Mihaela Buzarnescu before claiming a comfortable 6-4 6-3 win against Kimberly Birrell. Tsurenko’s greatest test came at the quarter-final stage where she defeated Anett Kontaveit 7-5 6-3, a good win over a dangerous opponent.

Osaka smashed Tsurenko 6-1 6-1 at the quarter-final stage of the US Open last year in their only previous meeting. Can Tsurenko can this match more competitive and take down the reigning US Open champion?

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here