Serena Williams vs. Naomi Osaka, US OPEN Final Preview

🇺🇸🗽 US OPEN: Final Preview
🇺🇸 (17) Serena Williams vs. 🇯🇵 (20) Naomi Osaka

Serena Williams is now 1 win away from claiming a record breaking 24th Grand Slam title. Standing in the American’s way is Japan’s Naomi Osaka who will be competing in her very first Grand Slam final. This is a battle of the generations. An all-time great against a future star, an exciting match-up between a pair of explosive hitters. Will Serena claim a 7th US Open title? Or is this the moment Osaka shakes up the sport and becomes the first Japanese women to win a Grand Slam title?

Serena Williams of the United States in action during her third-round match at the 2018 US Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Serena Williams enters Saturday’s final in supreme form. Williams cruised past Anastasija Sevastova 6-3 6-0, winning 12 of the last 13 games to book her spot in a 9th US Open final Williams has only dropped 1 set on route to the final and has generally looked very sharp throughout the event. Williams has come up against several powerful opponents this tournament, great preparation for taking on Osaka, granted Osaka is a class above Serena’s previous victims.

S. Williams route to the final:

R1 def. Magda Linette 6-4 6-0
R2 def. Carina Witthoeft 6-2 6-2
R3 def. Venus Williams 6-1 6-2
R4 def. Kaia Kanepi 6-0 4-6 6-3
QF def. Karolina Pliskova 6-4 6-3
SF def. Anastasija Sevastova 6-3 6-0

N. Osaka route to the final:

R1 def. Laura Siegemund 6-3 6-2
R2 def. Julia Glushko 6-2 6-0
R3 def. Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-0 6-0
R4 def. Aryna Sabalenka 6-3 2-6 6-4
QF def. Lesia Tsurenko 6-1 6-1
SF def. Madison Keys 6-2 6-4

Naomi Osaka of Japan in action during the fourth round at the 2018 US Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Naomi Osaka has reminded the tennis world that her best is as good as it gets over the last few weeks at Flushing Meadows. Osaka produced her most impressive performance of the tournament at the semi-final stage as she fended off all 13 break points faced to claim a 6-2 6-4 win over Madison Keys. Osaka was incredibly clutch under pressure in her semi-final win and has generally stormed through her matches this event. Clearly, Serena will be Osaka’s greatest test, but there is reason for Osaka to be very confident heading into this match.

The only previous meeting between the pair ended in a commanding 6-3 6-2 win for Osaka earlier this year in the opening round at the Miami Open. Osaka entered that match on a high having just won the title at Indian Wells whilst Serena had only just returned to the tour after giving birth. The circumstances are very different heading into Saturday’s final.

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Serena Williams vs. Anastasija Sevastova, US Open SF Preview

🇺🇸🗽 US OPEN: SF #1 Preview
🇺🇸 (17) Serena Williams vs. 🇱🇻 (19) Anastasija Sevastova

Thursday’s first semi-final sees a 6-time former US Open champion take on a first time Grand Slam semi-finalist. On paper, this is a big mismatch as Serena Williams and Anastasija Sevastova go head-to-head for the fist time. Williams is 2 wins away from creating more history as she seeks a record-breaking 24th Grand Slam title whilst Sevastova is playing to reach a maiden Grand Slam final. Sevastova will be no pushover, the Latvian is in career best form and has an awkward game that can trouble anyone, can Sevastova pull off a big upset?

Serena Williams of the United States in action during her quarter-final match at the 2018 US Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Serena Williams has had her doubters over the last month, myself included. But, she is again set to prove everyone wrong as she looms as a strong favourite heading into the semi-final stage of the tournament at Flushing Meadows. Williams rolled through the first week with commanding straight set wins over Magda Linette (6-4 6-0), Carina Witthoeft (6-2 6-2) and Venus Williams (6-1 6-2). Serena dropped her only set of the tournament thus far in a topsy-turvy 6-0 4-6 6-3 win over Kaia Kanepi, Williams rebounded strongly with a 6-4 6-3 win over Karolina Pliskova to book her spot in the final 4. Serena looked particularly sharp in her win over Pliskova after a slow start.

After a pair of quarter-final appearances in New York over the last few seasons, Sevastova had gone one step further in 2018 to reach her first Grand Slam semi-final. Sevastova started her run to the final 4 with wins over Donna Vekic (6-2 2-6 6-3) and Claire Liu (6-3 6-1). The 19th seed enters the semi-final stage in great form having beaten 3 quality opponents in a row. Wins over Ekaterina Makarova (4-6 6-1 6-2), Elina Svitolina (6-3 1-6 6-0) and Sloane Stephens (6-2 6-3). Sevastova’s commanding win over the defending champion was particularly impressive, an even better performance will be required to get the better of Serena Williams.

This will be the first career meeting between Williams and Sevastova. This is a match-up that features a fascinating contrast in styles. Serena has the explosive power but Sevastova has the delicate touch. Serena has struggled in these types of match-ups in the past, on the big stage too, think loses to Alize Cornet at Wimbledon and Roberta Vinci at the US Open. Will history repeat itself?

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Karolina Pliskova vs. Serena Williams, US OPEN QF Preview

🇺🇸🗽 US OPEN: QF Preview
🇨🇿 (8) Karolina Pliskova vs. 🇺🇸 (17) Serena Williams

Karolina Pliskova and Serena Williams will go head-to-head for the first time since a 2016 US Open semi-final meeting where Pliskova caused a huge upset. Serena will be keen to avoid a similar fate on Tuesday in New York as the pair do battle for a place in the semi-finals. This is a match between arguably the two best serves on tour, a match-up of fine margins. Who will prevail?

Serena Williams of the United States in action during her fourth-round match at the 2018 US Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Karolina Pliskova has now made it through to the quarter-finals at the US Open on 3 consecutive occasions, easily her best Grand Slam, the only Grand Slam where she has made it all the way to the final. Pliskova has made the most of a fairly favourable draw to make to the final 8. The 8th seed has not dropped a set on route to the quarter-finals, beating Zarina Diyas, Ana Bogdan, Sofia Kenin and Ashleigh Barty. Pliskova’s first big test came at the fourth round stage against Barty, Pliskova came through with flying colours, winning 6-4 6-4. Pliskova’s serve was not broken against Barty, Pliskova saved all 8 break points she faced. A Similar serving performance will be required to challenge Williams.

Serena Williams cruised through the first week at Flushing Meadows. The 6-time former champion easily defeated Magda Linette, Carina Witthoeft and Venus Williams to reach the second week. Serena seemed to be heading for another commanding win when she rocketed through the first set against Kaia Kanepi but Serena was surprisingly pushed all the way in a 6-0 4-6 6-3 victory. Serena has played some of her best tennis since her return over the last week in Flushing Meadows, that was particularly true in her 6-1 6-2 demolition of Venus Williams in the third round, the best match she has played this year.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. Williams beat Pliskova in straight sets in Stanford in 2014. More recently Pliskova claimed a 6-2 7-6 win over Williams at the semi-final stage at the US Open in 2016. It must be said that Williams was far from 100% fit when they last met, she was severely hampered by injury.

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Serena Williams vs. Johanna Konta, San Jose R1 Preview

Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, San Jose R1 Preview
🇺🇸 (6) Serena Williams vs. 🇬🇧 Johanna Konta

The pick of the opening round matches at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose sees Serena Williams take on Johanna Konta. Serena Williams will be in action for the first time since her runner-up appearance at Wimbledon last month. Johanna Konta looms as a tough opening round test for the American, It will be interesting to see what type of level Serena brings to this tournament.

Serena Williams came agonizingly close to creating some more history at Wimbledon last month as she made it all the way to the final. However, Serena was totally outplayed in the final against Angelique Kerber, an uncharacteristically uncompetitive performance by Serena on the biggest stage. Nevertheless, the signs are good for Serena just a couple of months into her return, she will be aiming to claim a couple of titles back at home over the next few months.

Johanna Konta had a relatively poor grass court swing, a second round exit at the hands of Dominika Cibulkova at Wimbledon was a big blow for Konta who was defending semi-finalist points. The pressure is now off Konta, she is outside the top 30 and doesn’t have big chunks of points to defend, perhaps she can return to her best whilst the pressure is off.

The only previous match between the pair took place at the Australian Open in 2017. The match loomed as a blockbuster quarter-final between the two form players on tour but Serena proved to be a class above Konta, winning quite comfortably 6-2 6-3.

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Angelique Kerber vs. Serena Williams, Wimbledon Final Preview

🇬🇧 Wimbledon championships match preview
🇩🇪 (11) Angelique Kerber vs. 🇺🇸 (25) Serena Williams

After a tournament full of upsets we are left with a blockbuster final at SW19 as Angelique Kerber and Serena Williams renew hostilities. This is a heavyweight battle, Kerber will be aiming for a third Grand Slam title whilst Serena Williams will be playing to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam titles. This will be the third consecutive meeting between the pair in a Grand Slam final, Kerber famously got the better of Williams at the Australian Open in 2016 to win her first Grand Slam title whilst Williams won the Wimbledon final later that year. Who will edge ahead in their Grand Slam final battles with a win on Saturday?

Angelique Kerber of Germany in action during the third round at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships Grand Slam tournament

Angelique Kerber is at the peak of her powers at the moment. The German may have made a slow start to the tournament in wins over Vera Zvonareva and Claire Liu but has bas been in ominous form since then. Kerber has navigated her way to a second Wimbledon final with straight set wins over 4 dangerous young opponents, beating Naomi Osaka (6-2 6-4), Belinda Bencic (6-3 7-6), Daria Kasatkina (6-3 7-5) and finally a commanding 6-1 6-3 victory over Jelena Ostapenko. Kerber has been extremely solid from the baseline in the second week of the tournament and importantly she has served very well. A 77% first serve percentage against Ostapenko meant the German was in control of her service games, a similar performance in the final will give her a great chance at victory.

It has taken Serena Williams little time to return to the top of the game. This time last year Serena was pregnant, it is truly remarkable what she has achieved, especially given how complicated her pregnancy was. Serena cruised through the first 4 rounds against inferior opposition, beating Arantxa Rus (7-5 6-3), Viktoriya Tomova (6-1 6-4), Kristina Mladenovic (7-5 7-6) and Evgeniya Rodina (6-2 6-2). It was at the quarter-final stage where Serena overcame her first big challenge, coming from a set to down to claim a 3-6 6-3 6-4 victory over Camila Giorgi. Serena really raised her level in an impressive 6-2 6-4 semi-final victory over Julia Goerges, arguably the highest level of tennis we have seen from Serena this year.

Serena Williams of the United States in action during her first round match at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships Grand Slam tournament

The signs are good for Kerber and Williams heading into this match. Kerber has ended her last 4 matches with a positive winner / unforced error ratio whilst Serena has had a better ratio in all of her matches except a rusty opening round performance. Expect a high quality encounter here!

Williams holds a 6-2 H2H record over Kerber. The pair have built up a really competitive rivalry over the last couple of years. The last 3 matches between the pair were in finals, a 7-6 6-3 win for Williams in the Stanford final in 2014, 6-4 3-6 6-4 win for Kerber at the Australian Open in 2016, most recently Williams defeated Kerber 7-5 6-3 in a very competitive Wimbledon final in 2016. This is a fascinating match-up as it sees the almighty Serena Williams, the most powerful and intimidating player out tour take on the best counter-puncher on tour.

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Julia Goerges vs. Serena Williams, Wimbledon SF Preview

🇬🇧 Wimbledon semi-final preview
🇩🇪 (13) Julia Goerges vs. 🇺🇸 (25) Serena Williams

Serena Williams is now just two wins away from claiming a historic 24th Grand Slam title. Standing in Serena’s way is the 13th seeded Julia Goerges, the pair will do battle in Thursday’s second semi-final at SW19. Serena enters this match as a strong favourite, this will be the German’s very first Grand Slam semi-final appearance, clearly there is a huge gulf in class between the pair. Nevertheless, Goerges has a big game that can challenge anyone when she is at her best.

Serena Williams of the United States in action during her first round match at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships Grand Slam tournament

Julia Goerges has already broken new ground at this event. The German had never previously made it to the quarter-final stage of a Grand Slam prior to this event. It has not been a straightforward passage to the final 4 for Goerges, the 13th seed started the event with a tight straight set win over Monica Puig before requiring 3 sets to get past Vera Lapko and Barbora Strycova. Goerges went on to thrash Donna Vekic before conforming her spot in the final 4 with a 3-6 7-5 6-1 victory over Kiki Bertens.

Serena Williams is through to a 10th Wimbledon final and will be playing for an 8th title. Serena stormed through the first week with straight set wins over Arantxa Rus, Viktoriya Tomova and Kristina Mladenovic. Serena easily defeated Evgeniya Rodina in the fourth round before overcoming her first big challenge as she came from a set down to defeat Camila Giorgi 3-6 6-3 6-4, it was typical Serena win as she really raised her level and intensity after an early challenge.

Serena holds a perfect 2-0 H2H record over Goerges. The pair haven’t played for a while, their most recent match between the pair was at the Rogers Cup way back in 2011, Serena won 6-1 7-6. This will be the first career meeting between the pair on a grass court.

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Serena Williams vs. Evgeniya Rodina, Wimbledon R4 Preview

🇬🇧 Wimbledon, R4 Preview
🇺🇸 (25) Serena Williams vs. 🇷🇺 (Q) Evgeniya Rodina

Serena Williams continues her quest for a 24th Grand Slam title on Monday with an unexpected fourth round match-up against Russian qualifier and fellow mother: Evgeniya Rodina. On paper, this is a huge mismatch, a 7-time former champion up against a player that had never previously made it past the second round at Wimbledon heading into this event. Can the Russian challenge the champ?

Serena Williams of the United States in action during her first round match at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships Grand Slam tournament

The draw has suddenly opened right up for Serena Williams. There are only two seeded players left in Serena’s half of the draw heading into the round of 16 (#7 Pliskova and #13 Goerges). Amidst all the carnage it is Serena who has now emerged as the tournament favourite. Serena has gradually improved her level throughout the event, claiming straight set wins over Arantxa Rus, Viktoria Tomova and Kristina Mladenovic.

Evgeniya Rodina is having the best couple of weeks of her career. The 29-year-old journey-woman started her campaign by progressing through a tough qualifying draw at Roehampton before claiming 3 consecutive 3 set victories in the main, 3-6 7-5 6-4 win over Antonia Lottner followed by a 1-6 6-3 6-3 win against Sorana Cirstea. Rodina made her biggest move at the third round stage where she eliminated the 10th seeded Madison Keys 7-5 5-7 6-4 win, a topsy-turvy encounter, arguably the biggest win of her career.

The will be the first career meeting between the pair

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Serena Williams vs. Kristina Mladenovic, Wimbledon R3 Preview

🇬🇧 Wimbledon, R3 Preview
🇺🇸 (25) Serena Williams vs. 🇫🇷 Kristina Mladenovic

Serena Williams faces her first real test of the tournament when she takes on Kristina Mladenovic on Friday with a spot in the fourth round up for grabs at Wimbledon. It was hard to know what to expect from Serena heading into this event but after a couple of matches it seems she is a genuine contender in a draw that has already lost multiple big names. However, Mladenovic has pushed Serena in the past and often raises her level for matches like this where she has nothing to lose. Can the Frenchwoman cause a big upset?

Kristina Mladenovic of France in action during the second round at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships Grand Slam tournament

Serena Williams has gradually improved her level over her first couple of matches this week. The 7-time former champion started the event with a nervy 7-5 6-3 victory over Arantxa Rus. Serena looked far more comfortable in a 6-1 6-4 victory over Viktoriya Tomova. Whilst the calibre of opponent hasn’t been too troublesome, the signs are good for Serena, her serve is working well, her movement is also looking much sharper than it did in previous events this year.

Kristina Mladenovic arrived at Wimbledon having been eliminated at the opening round stage in her last 3 Grand Slam appearances. Therefore, it has already been a great event for the Frenchwoman as she has equaled her best ever showing at SW19. Mladenovic started the event with a 5-7 6-2 6-2 win over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova before claiming a commanding 6-2 6-2 win over Tatjana Maria. Importantly, Mladenovic’s match against Maria was moved to Centre Court, a good experience before this big match with Serena.

The only previous match between the pair took place at Roland Garros in 2016. It was an extremely competitive match, Serena ultimately claimed a 6-4 7-6 victory. It will be interesting to see how this match-up pans out on a grass court.

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Maria Sharapova vs. Serena Williams, Roland Garros R4 Preview

🇫🇷 Roland Garros, R4 Preview
🇷🇺 (28) Maria Sharapova vs. 🇺🇸 Serena Williams

Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams will renew hostilities when they meet at the fourth round stage at Roland Garros on Monday. This will be the 22nd chapter of the most talked about ‘rivalry’ in women’s tennis. Williams has absolutely dominated Sharapova, the American has won the last 18 matches between the pair. Nevertheless, Sharapova will be quietly confident heading into this match. It is Sharapova who is more match-hardened and brings the better form into this blockbuster clash, can Sharapova finally beat Williams?

Serena Williams of the United States in action during her third-round match at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Maria Sharapova is looming as a real contender in Paris. The Russian started the event with a tough 3 set win over Richel Hogenkamp. Sharapova was in danger of a shock opening round exit when she trailed Hogenkamp 0-3 in the deciding set but the Russian rallied to win the next 6 games. Sharapova has improved as the tournament has progressed. The 28th seed claimed a decent 7-5 6-4 win over Donna Vekic in the opening round before producing a superb performance to thrash the 6th seeded Karolina Pliskova 6-2 6-1 in just under an hour. For the first Maria looks like her old self again.

Serena Williams continues to defy the critics. Unseeded, ranked outside the top 450, playing in her first Grand Slam since giving birth about a year ago, the odds are against Serena. However, Serena has risen to the occasion, as we should expect from the 23-time Grand Slam champion. Serena started her Paris campaign with a hard-fought 7-6 6-4 win over Kristyna Pliskova before battling from a set and a break down to defeat Ashleigh Barty 3-6 6-3 6-4. Serena produced her best performance since her return to the tour at the third round stage where she comfortably beat the 11th seeded Julia Goerges 6-3 6-4. Can Serena go all the way in Paris?

Williams holds a 19-2 H2H record over Sharapova and has won the last 18 matches between the pair. An obliteration. The most recent match between the pair was at the Australian Open in 2016, Serena won that match 6-4 6-1. Sharapova has never beaten Serena on clay, will that change on Monday in Paris?

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Julia Goerges vs. Serena Williams, Roland Garros R3 Preview

Roland Garros, R3 Preview
🇩🇪 (11) Julia Goerges vs. 🇺🇸 Serena Williams

Serena Williams continues her quest for glory on Saturday with a tough third round clash with the 11th seeded Julia Goerges at Roland Garros. Serena has scrapped her way into the third round in Paris, the 23-time Grand Slam champion has had to call on her trademark fighting spirit to get her over the line in a couple of tough matches. Serena is likely to face another tough test against Goerges, the German was in career best form earlier this year and has the weapons to trouble any opponent.

Serena Williams of the United States in action during her second round match at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Julia Goerges started 2018 on fire after an outstanding end to the 2017 season. The German’s form has cooled off in recent times but she remains a threat. Goerges arrived in Paris on the back of a disappointing opening round exit in Nuremburg at the hands of Kristyna Pliskova. Nevertheless, Goerges has made a decent start to her Roland Garros campaign by defeating 2 quality opponents. Goerges started the week with a 6-4 5-7 6-0 win over Dominika Cibulkova before defeating Alison Van Uytvanck 7-5 7-6. Goerges does not have a great record in Grand Slams and she will be desperate to change that here after another disappointment in Melbourne earlier this year.

The return of Serena Williams has been the greatest talking point of the tournament. Competing in her first Grand Slam since winning the Australian Open in 2017 and since giving birth the signs have been decent for Serena. The American started the tournament with a 7-6 6-4 win over Kristyna Pliskova in a match that was very serve dominated. The 3-time former champion was in trouble in the second round when she trailed the 17th seeded Ash Barty by a set and break but as is often the case, Serena was able to raise her intensity and her level as ran away with a 3-6 6-3 6-4 victory.

Interestingly these two have only gone head-to-head on two previous occasions. The pair have not met since 2011 where Serena claimed a 6-1 7-6 victory in Cincinnati.

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