Elina Svitolina vs. Mihaela Buzarnescu, Birmingham QF Preview

🇬🇧 Nature Valley Classic, Birmingham QF Preview
🇺🇦 (2/wc) Elina Svitolina vs. 🇷🇴 Mihaela Buzarnescu

Elina Svitolina will get a shot at revenge when she comes up against Mihaela Buzarnescu at the quarter-final stage in Birmingham on Friday. Buzarnescu stunned Svitolina at Roland Garros a few weeks ago, the Romanian eliminated the tournament favourite at the third round stage in what was a devastating loss for the Ukrainian. Can Buzarnescu cause another upset on a surface Svitolina is seemingly vulnerable on?

Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania in action at the 2018 Nature Valley Classic WTA Premier tennis tournament

Svitolina is having a good week in Birmingham, it is important for her to have a great in Birmingham to gain confidence on grass, a surface she has comparatively struggled on in the past. The second seed started the event with a topsy-turvy 3 set win over Donna Vekic before producing a much more consistent level to cruise by Alize Cornet 6-4 6-2. It is clear that Svitolina is trying to be far more aggressive which is certainly the right attitude on this surface.

Mihaela Buzarnescu is arguably the most improved player in 2018, at the age of 30! The Romanian is now into back-to-back quarter-finals on grass having reached the final 8 in Nottingham last week. Buzarnescu has made a habit of winning tight matches in recent times, that has been the case in Birmingham this week where she has claimed a couple of 3 set wins, a 6-3 4-6 6-0 win over Timea Babos and 4-6 6-3 6-2 over Petra Martic.

It was Buzarnescu who won the only previous match between the pair, a 6-3 7-5 victory at Roland Garros a few weeks ago. If Buzarnescu can beat Svitolina on clay, she surely has a chance at beating her on grass a few weeks later?

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

Timea Babos vs. Mihaela Buzarnescu, Birmingham R1 Preview

🇬🇧 Nature Valley Classic, Birmingham R1 Preview
🇭🇺 Timea Babos vs. 🇷🇴 Mihaela Buzarnescu

Timea Babos and Mihaela Buzarnescu will go head-to-head for the first time when they meet at the opening round stage of the Nature Valley classic in Birmingham. This is an interesting match-up because of the of the great contrast in styles between the pair, the big hitting of Babos against the consistency and versatility of Buzarnescu.

Timea Babos unsurprisingly struggled during the clay court swing, ultimately it ended in disaster for Babos when she suffered an opening round exit at Roland Garros at the hands of Lara Arruabarrena. Grass is a surface that should be much more favourable for Babos, however she did suffer opening round losses in all 4 of her events on grass in 2017, it is hard to know what to expect from the Hungarian.

Mihaela Buzarnescu made a decent start to her grass court campaign last week in Nottingham as she reached her first quarter-final on a grass court. Buzarnescu claimed a couple of tough wins over Veronica Cepede Royg and Irina-Falconi before succumbing to Naomi Osaka in straight sets.

Will it be power of consistency that prevails here?

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Naomi Osaka vs. Mihaela Buzarnescu, Nottingham QF Preview

🇬🇧 Nature Valley Open, Nottingham QF Preview
🇯🇵 (3) Naomi Osaka vs. 🇷🇴 (5) Mihaela Buzarnescu

The pick of the quarter-finals match-ups at the Nature Valley Open on Friday sees the third seeded Naomi Osaka take on the fifth seeded Mihaela Buzarnescu. This will be the first career meeting between Osaka and Buzarnescu, an interesting match-up because of the contrast in styles between the pair. This will also be the first grass court quarter-final either of these two have competed in, who will book their spot in the semi-finals?

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Naomi Osaka got her Nottingham campaign off to a slow start as she came from a set down to defeat Sachia Vickery, a 3-6 6-1 6-2 victory. Osaka produced a more assured performance in the second round as she easily disposed of Denisa Allertova to claim a 6-3 6-2 win. Osaka’s consistency and adaptability have improved significantly allowing her to perform well on all surfaces in 2018.

Mihaela Buzarnescu continues to achieve new milestones. Entering the tournament at a career high ranking inside the to 30, the Romanian has been typically gutsy on route to the quarter-finals in Nottingham. Buzarnescu started the event with a 6-2 3-6 7-6 win over Veronica Cepede Royg before battling past Irina Falconi 6-3 5-7 6-3. Buzarnescu did well to recover from disappointment in the second set on both occasions, in the past she would have faded away in the third set.

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Mihaela Buzarnescu vs. Veronica Cepede Royg, Nottingham R1 Preview

🇬🇧 Nature Valley Open, Nottingham R1 Preview
🇷🇴 (5) Mihaela Buzarnescu vs. 🇵🇾 Veronica Cepede Royg

The fifth seeded Mihaela Buzarnescu comes up against Paraguay’s Veronica Cepede Royg, an interesting opening round clash at the Nature Valley Open in Nottingham. Heading into the grass court season there will be little expectations for both Buzarnescu and Cepede Royg, two players that typically play their best tennis on a clay court.

Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania in action during her fourth-round match at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Mihaela Buzarnescu continues to reach new heights. The Romanian caused one of the biggest upsets of the tournament at Roland Garros where she eliminated tournament favourite Elina Svitolina at the third round stage. Buzarnescu also made it to the quarter-finals in the doubles draw so she arrives in Nottingham full of confidence with a career high singles ranking inside the top 30.

Conversely, Veronica Cepede Royg’s ranking has plummeted to well outside the top 100 after an opening round exit at Roland Garros, failing to defend her round of 16 points from the previous year despite a gallant 3 set loss to Petra Kvitova. It will be important for Cepede Royg to pick up as many points as she can during the grass swing or she risks losing direct entry to the biggest events later in the year.

This will be the first career meeting between Buzarnescu and Cepede Royg, it will be interesting to see how this match-up pans out on a grass court.

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

Elina Svitolina vs. Mihaela Buzarnescu, Roland Garros R3 Preview

🇫🇷 Roland Garros, R3 Preview
🇺🇦 (4) Elina Svitolina vs. 🇷🇴 (31) Mihaela Buzarnescu

Elina Svitolina continues her quest for a maiden Grand Slam title on Friday where she comes up against the 31st seeded Mihaela Buzarnescu at the third round stage at Roland Garros. Buzarnescu looms as a significant test for Svitolina, Buzarnescu cruised through her first few matches in Paris and has been in good form of late, can the Romanian cause a big upset?

Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine in action during her second-round match at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Elina Svitolina remains the favourite to win the tournament. The Ukrainian is on a 7-match winning streak having won the title in Rome prior to arriving in Paris, Svitolina has actually won 10 consecutive sets and is looking extremely solid at the moment. The 4th seed started her Roland Garros campaign with a couple of hard-fought victories, 7-5 6-3 over Ajla Tomljanovic and 6-3 6-4 over Viktoria Kuzmova. Svitolina raised her level at the end of each set, her composure and consistency under pressure is the hallmark of her game at the moment.

Mihaela Buzarnescu is into the third round of a Grand Slam for the very first time. At the age of 30 Buzarnescu is reaching career highs at the moment. This is the first time Buzarnescu is seeded at a Grand Slam, it was only last year at the U.S Open that she made her main draw debut at a Grand Slam. The Romanian has easily progressed through her first few matches in Paris, 6-3 6-3 over Vania King and 6-1 6-2 over Rebecca Peterson.

This will be the first career meeting between Svitolina and Buzarnescu.

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Mihaela Buzarnescu vs. Dominika Cibulkova, Strasbourg SF Preview

🇫🇷 Internationaux de Strasbourg, SF Preview
🇷🇴 (4) Mihaela Buzarnescu vs. 🇸🇰 (5) Dominika Cibulkova

Mihaela Buzarnescu and Dominika Cibulkova will go head-to-head for the first time at the WTA tour level when they meet in Friday’s first semi-final in Strasbourg. This is a critical match for both, for different reasons. Buzarnescu is still searching for her first career title at this level whilst every win for Cibulkova is big as she continues to gain momentum after some recent poor form.

Buzarnescu started the week with a hard-fought 3 set win over Magda Linette from a set down. Since that match Buzarnescu has been relatively untroubled, claiming straight set wins over Elena Rybakina and Su-Wei Hsieh. The Romanian will be aiming to reach her third final of the year having never previously reached a WTA tour level final before 2018.

Cibulkova has cruised into her second semi-final of the year without dropping a set. The Slovakian started the week with comfortable wins over Chloe Paquet and Reka-Luca Jani before claiming a noteworthy 6-4 6-3 win over defending champion Samantha Stosur, one of the Cibulkova’s better wins in 2018.

It will be interesting to see how this match-up pans out, the first between the two at this level.

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Petra Kvitova vs. Mihaela Buzarnescu, Prague Final Preview

J&T Banka Prague Open, Final Preview
🇨🇿 (2) Petra Kvitova vs. 🇷🇴 Mihaela Buzarnescu

Petra Kvitova will be aiming for her third title in 2018 when she comes up against Mihaela Buzarnescu in Saturday’s Prague Open final. Kvitova will enter this match as a strong favourite, the home crowd favourite is far more experienced on the big stage, at 30 years of age Buzarnescu will be looking to win a maiden WTA title. This will be the first career meeting between the pair, can the Romanian cause a big upset?

Petra Kvitova has been extremely impressive in Prague, storming into the final without dropping a set. Kvitova has not dropped more than 6 games in a single match throughout her 4 victories on route to the final: victories over Tereza Smitkova, Natalia Vikhlyantseva, Katerina Siniakova and Shuai Zhang. Kvitova’s toughest test came at the semi-final stage where she beat Zhang 7-6 6-0, the opening set was extremely tight but it was Kvitova who was tougher deep in the opening set tiebreak.

Heading into 2018 Buzarnescu had never reached the final of a WTA tour level event. The Romanian is now into her second career final having succumbed to Elise Mertens in the Hobart final. Buzarnescu advanced to the semi-final stage in Prague thanks to straight set wins over Beatriz Haddad Maia, Antonia Lottner and Kristyna Pliskova. Buzarnescu secured her spot in Saturday’s final with a 4-6 6-3 7-5 win over Camila Giorgi, a gutsy win for Buzarnescu who won the last 4 games of the match as Giorgi served for the match at 5-3.

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Mihaela Buzarnescu vs. Camila Giorgi, Prague SF Preview

J&T Banka Prague Open, SF Preview
🇷🇴 (7) Mihaela Buzarnescu vs. 🇮🇹 Camila Giorgi

Friday’s second semi-final from the Prague Open features an unexpected match-up between the 7th seeded Mihaela Buzarnescu and Camila Giorgi. Buzarnescu and Giorgi have had similar starts to the year, both had a great run very early in the year but both have struggled to win matches since then. This is a big opportunity for these two, both have little experience at this stage of events, Buzarnescu is yet to win a WTA title whilst Giorgi has a single title to her name.

Buzarnescu is having a great week in Prague, reaching her second semi-final of the year without dropping a set. The Romanian has claimed wins over Beatriz Haddad Maia, Antonia Lottner and Kristyna Pliskova on route to the final 4. Buzarnescu’s strong serving has been the theme of the week, the 30-year-old’s serve has been broken on just 3 occasions throughout her first 3 matches. Buzarnescu has been very clutch under pressure in all of her matches this week.

Camila Giorgi has come to play in Prague. One never really knows what to expect from Giorgi but when she is hot, she is hot, and she is hot this week. Giorgi started the event with a topsy-turvy 3 set win over Barbora Strycova before claiming a pair of straight set wins against Tamara Korpatsch and Sam Stosur to secure her spot in a second semi-final in 2018.

This will be the first career meeting between Buzarnescu and Giorgi. It will be interesting to see how this match-up pans out between two contrasting styles. The ultra-aggressive game of Giorgi against the awkward, versatile game of Buzarnescu.

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

Mihaela Buzarnescu vs. Kristyna Pliskova, Prague QF Preview

J&T Banka Prague Open, QF Preview
🇷🇴 (7) Mihaela Buzarnescu vs. 🇨🇿 Kristyna Pliskova

The 7th seeded Mihaela Buzarnescu takes on local favourite Kristyna Pliskova at the quarter-final stage of the Prague Open on Thursday. This will be the first career meeting between Buzarnescu and Pliskova, a pair of lefties with contrasting games. This is a huge opportunity for both ladies to reach a rare semi-final at the WTA tour level, who will step up and make the most of this chance?

Mihaela Buzarnescu’s form has not been great of late. The Romanian’s run to the quarter-finals this week in Prague is the first time she has won back-to-back matches since Doha almost 3 months ago and only the third time in 2018 that she has managed to win more than 1 match at a single tournament. Buzarnescu’s wins this week have followed a similar path, a comfortable opening set followed by a challenging second set, a 6-1 7-5 win over Beatriz Haddad Maia and a 6-0 7-6 win over Antonia Lottner. Lottner did serve for the second set at 5-4 and was ahead 40-15 so it was a great effort by the Romanian to close out her second round match in straight sets.

Clay is not a surface that one would expect Kristyna Pliskova to thrive on, however Pliskova is having a good week on the clay in Prague for a second year in a row. Pliskova came agonizingly close to winning the title in Prague last year where she was overrun by Mona Barthel in the final, Pliskova has now put herself in a position to contend for the title once again. Pliskova has beaten a pair of solid opponents to reach her second quarter-final of the year, a 7-6 6-3 win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich and a 6-2 7-6 win over Qiang Wang.

It will be interesting to see how this match-up pans out in what will be the first career meeting between the pair.

To view my Analysis / Prediction for this match: Click here

Caroline Wozniacki vs Mihaela Buzarnescu, Australian Open R1 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R1 Preview
(2) 🇩🇰 Caroline Wozniacki vs 🇷🇴 Mihaela Buzarnescu

Caroline Wozniacki begins her quest for a maiden Grand Slam title at Melbourne Park with an opening round clash against in-form Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu. Wozniacki seemingly enters 2018 in the best shape of her career, the Dane has made many improvements to her game and arguably has her best chance to win a Grand Slam in 2018. Mihaela Buzarnescu will be competing in her first main draw match in Melbourne fresh off reaching her first WTA final in Hobart a few days ago. Can the in-form Buzarnescu cause the first big upset of the tournament?

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Caroline Wozniacki reached the final at the ASB Classic in her first event in 2018. Wozniacki played good tennis throughout the week but was no match for red-hot Julia Goerges in the final where she was beaten in straight sets. The loss to Goerges exposed Wozniacki’s greatest weakness, an inability to deal with a red-hot powerful opponent. Wozniacki will hope she dos not run into a similar threat at Melbourne Park or she could be in trouble.

Mihaela Buzarnescu is in the form of her career. At the age of 29, Buzarnescu is into the top 50 for the first time after reaching her first WTA tour level final in Hobart last week. Buzarnescu reached the final in Hobart without dropping a set, claiming notable wins over Alize Cornet, Alison Riske and Lesia Tsurenko. Buzarnescu pushed Mertens all the way to a third set in the final but just fell short in what was a fairly high quality, rain interrupted final. Buzarnescu will have just one day in Melbourne before the first Grand Slam of the year begins on Monday.

The only previous match between the pair took place at the U.S Open last year. Wozniacki claimed a 6-1 7-5 victory in what was Buzarnescu’s first ever main draw match at a Grand Slam event.