Polona Hercog vs. Barbora Strycova, Eastbourne R1 Preview

Nature Valley International, Eastbourne R1
🇸🇮 (Q) Polona Hercog vs. 🇨🇿 Barbora Strycova

Barbora Strycova will look to continue her strong form from Birmingham as she begins her Eastbourne campaign against Polona Hercog. Strycova arrives in Eastbourne in good touch after a run to the semi-finals in Birmingham last week whilst Polona Hercog enters this first round clash match-hardened having won a couple matches to get through the qualifying draw.

Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic in action during her semi-final match at the 2019 Nature Valley Classic WTA Premier tennis tournament

Barbora Strycova has always played her best tennis on grass, her crafty game makes her a threat to anyone on this surface. The Czech started her 2019 grass court campaign with a strong run to the semi-finals in Birmingham where she defeated Heather Watson, Su-Wei Hsieh and Kristyna Pliskova before falling to Ashleigh Barty in a close one. Meanwhile Strycova is also in strong form on the doubles court having gone all the way in Birmingham with Su-Wei Hsieh.

Grass is not as familiar to Polona Hercog, the Slovenian traditionally struggles on this surface but has made a decent start to her 2019 grass court campaign. Hercog defeated Christina McHale before falling to eventual champion Alison Riske in 's-Hertogenbosch. Hercog made her way through the qualifying draw in Eastbourne with wins over Jill Teichmann and Pauline Parmentier.

Surprisingly it is Hercog who holds a strong head-to-head record over Strycova, Hercog has won 3 of their 4 previous clashes. However, it was Strycova who won their most recent match, a 6-4 6-4 win at Roland Garros in 2016.

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

Sloane Stephens vs. Polona Hercog, Roland Garros R3 Preview

🇫🇷🥖💶 Roland Garros, R3 Preview
🇺🇸 (7) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇸🇮 Polona Hercog

Sloane Stephens will be back in action on day 6 at Roland Garros where she meets Polona Hercog with a place in the fourth round up for grabs. Stephens has looked determined thus far in Paris, the 2018 runner-up is yet to a drop a set and will enter this third round clash as a strong favourite.

Sloane Stephens of the United States in action during her second-round match at the 2019 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Sloane Stephens was challenged in each of her first couple of matches this tournament but was strong enough to get through in straight sets. Stephens started the event with a 6-3 7-6 win over Misaki Doi before defeating Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-1 7-6. On each occasion Stephens was seemingly on track for a straight set win before having to overcome strong late resistance from her opponents. The sings are good that Stephens was focused enough to get through a few tough situations.

Polona Hercog is through to the third round of a Grand Slam for just the third time in her career, the second time at Roland Garros. Hercog is in some of the best form of her career at the moment having recently won her third career title in Lugano. Hercog started her Roland Garros campaign with an extremely hard-fought 4-6 6-2 8-6 victory against the 32nd seeded Aliaksandra Sasnovich. The Slovenian came through another long battle to secure a spot in the round of 32 as she beat Jennifer Brady 6-3 6-7 6-4. Hercog will need to take her game to another level if she is to get past Stephens, an opponent she has struggled against in the past.

Sloane Stephens holds a perfect 3-0 head-to-head record over Hercog, all 3 of those matches ended in straight sets, Stephens won the most recent match between the pair 6-2 7-6 in Madrid last month.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here
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Eugenie Bouchard vs Polona Hercog, U.S Open R2 Preview

U.S Open R1: (25) Eugenie Bouchard vs Polona Hercog

On a day of carnage for the seeded players at the U.S Open on Monday, Eugenie Bouchard picked up a surprisingly straightforward 6-4 6-3 victory over Alison Riske to advance to the second round. The Canadian’s section of the draw is now wide open, a perfect opportunity for Bouchard who will face Polona Hercog in the second round on Wednesday.

After first round exits at Roland Garros and Wimbledon and a horrible set of results during the U.S Series, Eugenie Bouchard’s 6-4 6-3 first round victory over Alison Riske was a big step in the right direction. Bouchard seemed much more like the confident player that took the tour by storm in 2014, Genie maintained a good intensity and focus throughout the match. It was clear that the victory meant a lot to Bouchard after the match, if she can maintain a similar intensity moving forward she could make a surprise appearance in the second week at Flushing Meadows.

 

Polona Hercog advanced to the second round at Flushing Meadows for the third time in her career with a 6-2 7-5 victory over Zarina Diyas. Hercog’s ability to fend off break points was the biggest difference in the match, Hercog making the most of one of her biggest weapons.

This will be the first meeting between Eugenie and Polona. Both ladies will see this as a good opportunity, not only in this match but also moving forward given how open this section of the draw is. Bouchard should be able to navigate her way through this one, Hercog’s one-dimensional play is unlikely to throw the Canadian off. Bouchard showed some really positives signs on Monday and I think she will be too good here.

Prediction: Eugenie Bouchard to defeat Polona Hercog in 2 sets

2014 WTA Collector Swedish Open Preview

The Collector Swedish Open has been rocked by a string of withdrawals in the lead to the event. World number 1 Serena Williams was set to defend her title but decided not to compete in Bastad because she hasn't fully recovered from the viral illness that saw her exit Wimbledon in bizarre circumstances. Flavia Pennetta, Carla Suarez Navarro, Barbora Zahlavova Strycova and Yvonne Meusburger were all down to play in Bastad but have all pulled out prior to the commencement of the tournament. In some rare good news for the tournament officials and spectators, Alize Cornet accepted a late wild card into the event; the Frenchwoman will replace Serena Williams as the number 1 seed in Bastad.

Alize has had some big victories this year, most notably her two victories over Serena Williams at Wimbledon and in Dubai. Cornet also defeated Radwanska on route to her only title of the year in Katowice. Cornet hasn't had the greatest results on clay; she has a 2-4 record on what is considered to be her most preferred surface. In her final clay court event of the year, Cornet has a good chance to rectify her poor clay court record this season and claim her second title of the year. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Camila Giorgi and Yaroslava Shvedova are among the seeded players also in action at the Swedish Open.

Alize Cornet faces a qualifier in the opening round whilst her second round opponent will likely be Jana Cepelova. The number 1 seed is then projected to face Polona Hercog In the quarter-finals. Hercog has a rather comfortable route to the Quarter-final stage.

Quarter-Final 1 Prediction: (1) Alize Cornet vs (8) Polona Hercog

The second quarter is wide open with seeded players Yaroslava Shvedova and Annika Beck both seemingly vulnerable to early round defeats. If Beck gets through her first round match with Piter she will face the winner of Arruabarrena and Begu. Arruabarrena defeated Annika Beck last week in a tight three set match in Bucharest. Shvedova doesn't usually play her best tennis on clay, however she should at least make the quarter-finals in Bastad as she faces a qualifier in the opening round before playing Scheepers or Dique-Marino in the second round.

Quarter-Final 2 Prediction: (4) Yaroslava Shvedova vs Lara Arruabarrena

The third quarter of the draw looks like the toughest section of the draw. Camila Giorgi, Anna Schmiedlova, Mona Barthel and Kaia Kanepi all feature in this section. Giorgi has been playing a lot of tennis of late. After two commanding victories she suffered a shock loss to Shelby Rogers in the quarter-finals at Bad Gastein last week. Giorgi faces a qualifier in the opening round before a potential second round match against Mona Barthel. Giorgi should be primed for a big week in Bastad; I wouldn't be surprised to see her win the title. Anna Schmiedlova suffered a surprise first round exit in Bucharest last week, if she gets through her opening match in Bastad she is likely to face the in form Kai Kanepi in the second round. Kanepi has played two clay court challenger tournaments since Wimbledon; she won the latest one in Biarritz.

Quarter-Final 3 Prediction: (5) Anna Schmiedlova vs (3) Camila Giorgi

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova rounds out the draw, the Russian started the season off well but injury amongst other issues have derailed her season. Pavlyuchenkova faces a tough opening round match, coming up against the in form Grace Min. The American youngster made the semi-finals of a WTA event for the first time last week in Bad Gastein before falling to the eventual champion Andrea Petkovic in three tight sets. Torro-Flor is the other seeded player in this section; she too faces a tough opening round match. The Spaniard will play Julia Goerges for a spot in the second round. Anyone could come through this section of the draw, Pavlyuchenkova is due for a good week, and hopefully she can deliver

Quarter-Final 4 Prediction: Julia Goerges vs (2) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Final prediction: (3) Camila Giorgi def. (1) Alize Cornet:

I think we may see a repeat of this years Katowice final where Alize Cornet came up against Camilia Giorgi in the final. This would be a good result for the tournament, their final in Katowice was a great match, Cornet eventually prevailed 7-6 5-7 7-5. I’m picking Giorgi to avenge that loss here.