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.
Hobart International 🇦🇺🌧️ Final Preview
(2) 🇧🇪 Elise Mertens vs 🇷🇴 Mihaela Buzarnescu
Elise Mertens will have the opportunity to defend her Hobart International title on Saturday when she comes up against the unheralded Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu. The Hobart International is the longest running WTA tournament to have never had a repeat winner. Elise Mertens has a good opportunity to break this record. Mertens won her first and only WTA tournament in Hobart last year where she came all the way through the qualifying draw. The Belgian rising-star will fancy her chances in Saturday’s final against Buzarnescu.
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Elise Mertens has made a very good start to the 2018 season, just as she did in 2017. Mertens had a good week at the Hopman Cup where she won 2 out of 3 matches before heading down to Hobart. In Hobart Mertens cruised through her opening couple of matches against Kurumi Nara and Beatriz Haddad Maia in straight sets. Mertens booked her spot in Saturday final with a 6-4 1-6 6-2 win over Heather Watson. Mertens showed good maturity to rebound strongly after being outplayed in the second set by Watson.
Mihaela Buzarnescu has reached the final in Hobart without dropping a set. This time last year, Buzarnescu was ranked outside the top 500. Now at the age of 29, Buzarnescu will enter the top 50 for the first time and will contest in her first WTA level final on Sunday. Buzarnescu advanced to the final 4 in Hobart with wins over Alize Cornet, Anna-Lena Friedsam and Alison Riske. Buzarnescu’s most comfortable win came at the semi-final stage where she comprehensively outplayed a lacklustre Lesia Tsurenko to win 6-2 6-2.
Elise Mertens has won the two prior meetings between the pair, both in 2015 on clay at the ITF level. A lot has changed this then, both have dramatically risen up the rankings. Saturday’s match is huge for both ladies, who will make the most of this golden opportunity?
Hobart International 🇦🇺🌧️ QF Preview
🇷🇴 Mihaela Buzarnescu vs 🇺🇸 Alison Riske
A first time meeting between Mihaela Buzarnescu and Alison Riske will take place at the quarter-final stage of the Hobart International on Thursday. Buzarnescu continues to rise up the rankings and is now on the verge of reaching the top 50 for the first time in her career at the mature age of 29. The Romanian has won a couple of good matches in straight sets this week and will fancy her chances against America’s Alison Riske.
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It is amazing that Buzarnescu is on the verge of reaching the top 50. The Romanian has won just 5 matches at the WTA tour level over the last 2 years, Buzarnescu plays almost exclusively at the ITF level where she has clearly had a lot of success over the years. The 29-year-old started the week with a 6-2 6-4 win over Alize Cornet before beating Anna-Lena Friedsam 7-5 6-4.
Alison Riske has made a decent start to the season. Riske had a good win over Wang in Shenzhen last week in straight sets before pushing Sharapova to a third set. Riske started her Hobart campaign with a 2-6 6-3 7-5 win over Katerina Siniakova. Riske received some good fortune as she was handed a spot into the quarter-finals as Flipkens gave Riske a walkover into the next round.