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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Ashleigh Barty vs. Serena Williams, Roland Garros R2 Preview

Roland Garros, R2 Preview
🇦🇺 (17) Ashleigh Barty vs. 🇺🇸 Serena Williams

The pick of the second round clashes at Roland Garros sees the 17th seeded Ashleigh Barty take on 3-time former champion Serena Williams. This is a match where we will learn a lot about Serena’s current level. Serena made her much anticipated return to Grand Slam action on Tuesday where she claimed a tight 2 set win over Kristyna Pliskova. The 23-time Grand Slam champion will face a tough test against Barty, the Aussie has a complete game and is ready to claim a big scalp.

Ashleigh Barty of Australia in action during her first-round match at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

There were question marks surrounding the fitness of Ash Barty heading into Paris after the Aussie retired injured in her semi-final match in Strasbourg the week before Roland Garros. However, The 17th seed showed no sign of any injury in a comfortable 6-3 6-1 demolition of Natalia Vikhlyantseva in the opening round. It was a very clean and consistent performance by Barty, the serve of Barty was not broken throughout the match as she made light work of her Russian opponent.

All eyes were on Serena Williams as she returned to Roland Garros on Tuesday, it was a successful return for Serena as she claimed a hard-fought 7-6 6-4 victory over Kristyna Pliskova. It was a match with little margin, there were no breaks of serve in the opening set and both players squandered leads in the second. Ultimately Serena was too strong from the baseline and she was more composed under pressure. What stood out was the high level of intensity that Serena brought to the court and maintained throughout the match, clearly she is on a mission in Paris.

The only previous match between the pair took place at the Australian Open in 2014. It was a David vs. Goliath battle on that occasion and Serena won easily 6-2 6-1. Fast forward 4 and a half years and a lot has changed, Barty is one of the most improved players on tour and is now a star in her own right, is she ready to take down the champ?

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Kristyna Pliskova vs. Serena Williams, Roland Garros R1 Preview

Roland Garros, R1 Preview
🇨🇿 Kristyna Pliskova vs. 🇺🇸 Serena Williams

Serena Williams will make her first appearance at a Grand Slam event since winning the 2017 Australian Open title when she takes on Kristina Pliskova in the opening round in Paris. Serena has played minimal tennis since that amazing triumph, the 23-time Grand Slam champion will be competing in the main draw at Roland Garros for the first time since a runner-up showing in 2016.

Serena Williams of the United States practices at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Kristyna Pliskova’s form in the lead up to Paris has been surprisingly impressive. Pliskova reached the quarter-finals in Prague and Nuremburg whilst she came through the qualifying draw to reach the third round in Madrid. Clay is considered Pliskova’s least preferred surface but clearly she is competent on the surface.

Serena Williams made her much anticipated return to the tour earlier this year during the sunshine double. Serena’s form was decent but she was clearly rusty and not close to her best. Serena won a couple of matches in Indian Wells before succumbing to Venus in the third round, A week later Serena was beaten in the opening round in Miami by Naomi Osaka in straight sets. A few months later It will be fascinating to see what type of level Serena can bring to the courts at Roland Garros.

This will be the first career meeting between the pair, can Pliskova cause a big upset?

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Naomi Osaka vs Serena Williams, Miami R1 Preview

Miami Open, 🇺🇸🌞🐬🌴 R1 Preview
🇯🇵 Naomi Osaka vs. 🇺🇸 (wc) Serena Williams

The pick of the opening round clashes at the Miami Open sees the newly crowned Indian Wells champion: Naomi Osaka, come up against 8 time former Miami champion: Serena Williams. This is by far the toughest opening round match-up in the draw, a brutal match-up for both. This will be the first career meeting between Osaka and Williams, an intriguing clash between the future and the present/past of women’s tennis. In many ways, there are real similarities between Osaka and a young Williams, similar strengths and power. Also linking the pair is the fact that Osaka’s coach is Serena’s long time former hitting partner Sascha Bajin. Intriguing indeed.

Naomi Osaka of Japan in action at the 2018 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Naomi Osaka arrives in Miami on a high after winning the first title of her career at the premier mandatory level event in Indian Wells. It was an outstanding event for Osaka, the 20-year-old handily beat multiple quality opponents on route to the title, winning 7 consecutive matches for the first time in her career. Osaka claimed wins over Sharapova, Radwanska, Vickery, Sakkari, Pliskova, Halep and Kasatkina. A list that includes wins over 3 former/current number 1’s. The way in which Osaka cruised through her last 3 matches in straight sets dropping a combined 13 games was exceptionally impressive, especially given Osaka’s inexperience at later stages of big events. Osaka showed consistency, patience and maturity that we have not seen from her before. It will be interesting to see how Osaka responds after such an amazing event.

Serena Williams made her much anticipated return to the WTA tour in Indian Wells. The 23-time Grand Slam champion managed to win a couple of matches in her first tournament in over a year, her first tournament since giving birth. Serena claimed straight set wins over Zarina Diyas and Kiki Bertens before succumbing to Venus Williams in straight sets. Overall it was a positive week for Serena who showed that it will not be long before she returns to the top of the game. Miami is a second home to Serena Williams, the 36-year-old has won the Miami Open on 8 previous occasions, most recently in 2015. `After a reasonably early exit in Indian Wells expect Serena to be extremely motivated heading into Miami.

It will be interesting to see what type of level Osaka can bring to this match, if she plays how she did throughout the last couple of weeks in Indian Wells then she has a great chance of pushing Serena Williams. However, replicating her Indian Wells level in Miami will be a tough, that’s for sure, getting passed a determined Serena will also be very tough.

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Venus Williams vs Serena Williams, Indian Wells R3 Preview

BNP Paribas Open, 🇺🇸🌴 Indian Wells R3 Preview
🇺🇸 (9) Venus Williams vs. 🇺🇸 Serena Williams

A blockbuster third round clash from Indian Wells sees the Williams sisters go head-to-head for 29th time on Monday evening at the BNP Paribas Open. This promises to be one of the most special matches between the pair, their first meeting since Serena became a mother, 17 years after their infamous scheduled meeting in Indian Wells. This match will be a celebration of all they achieved. a full circle moment since the horrible scenes of 2001. On court, this looks like the greatest chance Venus has to beat Serena in a while.

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Venus Williams has not played much tennis in 2018, the American suffered consecutive first round losses in Australia before winning a couple of matches in a Fed Cup tie against the Netherlands. Venus kickstarted her Indian Wells campaign on Saturday with a decent performance as she defeated Sorana Cirstea 6-3 6-4. Venus looked much sharper than she had in previous matches this year.

Serena Williams has made an outstanding return to the tour, claiming a couple of straight set victories in her first tournament since winning the Australian Open last year. Serena has come up against a pair of inspired opponents, beating Zarina Diyas 7-5 6-3 and Kiki Bertens 7-6 7-5. Serena faced difficult moments in each set but on each occasion she was too strong in the critical moments which has been her trademark over the years. Importantly, Serena’s speed, movement, serve and strength seem to all still be there, it seems like Serena will be contending for the biggest title sooner rather than later, perhaps even at the BNP Paribas Open.

Serena holds a 17-11 head-to-head record over Venus. Serena has won 7 of the last 9 matches between the pair. Most recently Serena defeated Venus in last year’s Australian Open final.

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Serena Williams vs Jelena Ostapenko, Abu Dhabi MWTC Preview

Mubadala World Tennis Championship, Exhibition

🇺🇸 Serena Williams vs 🇱🇻 Jelena Ostapenko

Serena Williams will make her much anticipated return to competitive play at a special exhibition match in Abu Dhabi. The 23-time Grand Slam Champion will come up against reigning Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko. This promises to be an exciting encounter, the pair have never played each other in a competitive match, just one of the exciting factors heading into the match.

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Serena Williams will be playing her first match in almost a year after giving birth to her first child in September. Williams and Ostapenko will bring the spotlight to the WTA at the 10th Edition of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, the first time women have competed at the annual season opening championship.

Jelena Ostapenko arrives in Abu Dhabi soon after competing at an exhibition event in Hua Hin, Thailand. Ostapenko played a couple of matches in Hua Hin, losing in straight sets on both occasions. The Latvian was beaten by Karolina Pliskova and Johanna Konta quite comfortably. Notably, Ostapenko changed racquet’s during the off-season, the 20-year-old was seemingly struggling to find her range in her matches in Hua Hin and gestured that she was having trouble with her new racquet on a few occasions.

Serena Williams has not played a competitive match since she claimed her 23rd Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in 2017. It was later revealed that Williams was in the early stages of pregnancy during her title run in Melbourne. It has remained doubtful that Serena would make the trip to Australia to defend her title, however it is now clear that Serena will remarkably defend her title in Melbourne given her appearance in Abu Dhabi. Every match Serena can play before Melbourne is important given her lengthy time away from the court, it will be interesting to see what kind of level Serena can bring to the court at the MWTC.

It is worth noting that the addition of this match in Abu Dhabi is related to the high profile withdrawals from the annual men’s event. Rafael Nadal, Milos Raonic and Stan Wawrinka have all pulled out of the event. Serena was undoubtedly lured to Abu Dhabi with a huge pay cheque.

Serena Williams vs Venus Williams, Australian Open Final Preview

Australian Open, 🇦🇺🏆 Championship match preview
(2) 🇺🇸 Serena Williams vs (13) 🇺🇸 Venus Williams

Serena Williams and Venus Williams will go head-to-head in a Grand Slam singles final for the 9th time when they compete for the Australian Open title on Saturday night. The sisters competed in the final of the Australian Open in 2003, now 14 years later they are still at the top of the game. The longevity and dominance of the Williams sisters is unprecedented, Saturday’s final will be a good chance to celebrate this fact. As for the match, Serena has always said that Venus is her toughest opponent and Venus would say the same about Serena. This is more than just a tennis match, with so much on the line for both and so many emotions involved, it will be intriguing to see how the 2017 Australian Open championship match unfolds.

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Serena Williams vs Mirjana Lucic-Baroni Australian Open SF Preview

Australian Open, 🇦🇺 Semi-Final #2 match preview
(2) 🇺🇸 Serena Williams vs 🇭🇷 Mirjana Lucic-Baroni

Serena Williams and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni first went head-to-head in Sydney in 1998. On Thursday, almost two decades later, the pair will meet at the semi-final stage of the Australian Open. Lucic-Baroni’s fairytale story has gone on for longer than anyone could have expected, the Croat is now unbelievably just two wins away from achieving one of the great sporting miracles. In her way is the 22-time Grand Slam champion, Serena Williams. Serena will is now within touching distance of Grand Slam 23 which will see her surpass Steffi Graff which will leave the American as the most successful champion in the open era.

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Serena Williams vs Johanna Konta, Australian Open QF Preview

Australian Open, 🇦🇺 Quarter-Final #4 match preview
(9) 🇬🇧 Johanna Konta vs (2) 🇺🇸 Serena Williams

The most anticipated match of the tournament thus far will take place on Wednesday when 6-time former champion Serena Williams comes up against Johanna Konta. Konta and Williams have both advanced to the final eight stage without dropping a set. The Brit is the form player on the tour at the moment, clearly playing the best tennis in the last couple of weeks, having absolutely dominated some quality opponents. This will be the first ever match between Serena and Johanna, it will be very interesting to see how Konta’s game matches up against the almighty Serena Williams.

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