Sofia Kenin vs. Elena Rybakina, Dubai R1 Preview

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, R1 Preview
🇺🇸 (5) Sofia Kenin vs. 🇰🇿 Elena Rybakina

A blockbuster opening round match-up at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Tuesday sees reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin come up against a red-hot Elena Rybakina. Kenin and Rybakina are arguably the two form players on tour over the first month and a half of 2020. It will be interesting to see how this match-up pans out in the first career meeting between the pair.

The fifth seeded Sofia Kenin will be making her first appearance at a regular WTA event for the first time since winning her maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open last month. In the meantime, Kenin did compete in the USA’s 3-2 Fed Cup victory over Latvia last week where she defeated Anastasija Sevastova in straight sets before succumbing to Jelena Ostapenko in 3 sets. Kenin paired up with Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the decisive doubles rubber to guide the USA to victory. Can Kenin continue her rise in Dubai?

Elena Rybakina has already made 3 finals in 2020. Rybakina made back-to-back finals to start the year, Rybakina was runner-up in Shenzhen before winning her first WTA title in Hobart. Rybakina’s run came to an end at the Australian Open where she was beaten by the top seeded Ash Barty in the third round. The 20-year-old arrived in Dubai fresh from a runner-up showing in St. Petersburg where she was comfortably defeated by Kiki Bertens in straight sets. Rybakina now has a 15-3 win/loss record in 2020.

I’m going to side with Kenin here. Firstly, Rybakina only has a day to prepare for this match, having just competed in the St. Petersburg final on Sunday, that’s a short turnaround. Secondly, I think this match-up will favour Kenin. The American has the relentless consistency and versatility to disrupt the powerful game of Rybakina.

Prediction: Sofia Kenin to defeat Elena Rybakina in 2 sets
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Sofia Kenin vs. Garbine Muguruza, Australian Open Final Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, FINAL 🏆 preview + prediction:
🇺🇸 (14) Sofia Kenin vs. 🇪🇸 Garbine Muguruza

The 2020 Australian Open final promises to be an epic as 2019’s most improved player: Sofia Kenin, comes up against 2-time former Grand Slam champion: Garbine Muguruza. The pair head into this match on a high after stunning upset victories in their respective semi-final matches.

Sofia Kenin continues to reach new heights, the American will enter the top 10 for the first time after this tournament. Kenin cruised through the first week of the event with straight set wins over Martina Trevisan, Ann Li and Shuai Zhang. It was in the fourth round where Kenin dropped her only set of the tournament thus far, the 14th seed came from a set down to defeat Cori Gauff 6/7 6/3 6/0 before easing past Ons Jabeur in straight sets. It was at the semi-final stage where Kenin made her biggest move, a 7/6 7/5 win over the top ranked Ash Barty, Kenin saved a couple of set points in each set on route to record a famous win over the Aussie.

Garbine Muguruza has been in vintage form at Melbourne Park over the last fortnight, the Spaniard is arguably playing the best tennis she has played in over 2 years. The former world number 1 made a wayward start to the tournament but managed to claim back-to-back 3 set wins over Shelby Rogers and Ajla Tomljanovic. Muguruza significantly stepped up her level in the third round to defeat Elina Svitolina 6/1 6/2 before beating Kiki Bertens 6/3 6/3 to record back-to-back top 10 wins for the first time since Doha 2018. Muguruza defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7/5 6/3 before securing a spot in a maiden Australian Open final with an extremely impressive 7/6 7/5 win over Simona Halep. Muguruza has been amazingly tough in the important moments of every single one of her matches this tournament.

It was Sofia Kenin who won the only previous match between the pair, a 6/0 2/6 6/2 win for the American at the China Open last year. Kenin will face a very different Muguruza on this occasion, is the American good enough to maintain her perfect record over the Spaniard?

Yes, I’m going to side with Kenin here. Granted Muguruza is a 2-time former Grand Slam champion and therefore has the edge in terms of experience. However, Kenin is unfazed and on a mission. I doubt Kenin will be troubled by the occasion, if anything she will rise to the occasion. Over the last 12 months it is Kenin who has been the far more consistent and reliable player, I’m going to give that more importance than immediate form because both are clearly playing well at this event. Kenin has the versatility to disrupt the rhythm of Muguruza as well as the power to the Spaniard, I think this is a good match-up for Kenin, the American can go all the way.

Prediction: Sofia Kenin to defeat Garbine Muguruza in 3 sets
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Ash Barty vs. Sofia Kenin, Australian Open SF Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, SF #1 preview + prediction:
🇦🇺 (1) Ash Barty vs. 🇺🇸 (14) Sofia Kenin

Ash Barty continues her quest to become the first Australian woman to win the Australian Open since 1978 when she comes up against the 14th seeded Sofia Kenin in the first semi-final on Thursday. Barty heads into this match as a strong favourite but will be unlikely to have things all go her own way against a feisty opponent that has previously beaten the Australian. 

Ash Barty is on a 9-match winning streak heading into semi-final day at Melbourne Park. The world number 1 arrived in Melbourne fresh from winning the title in Adelaide and has steadily worked her way into top form at her home major to reach the final 4 for the first time. Barty has twice been pushed to 3 sets this tournament but managed to get the job done in 2 over her trickiest opponent thus far to confirm her spot in the semi-finals with a 7/6 6/2 win over the 7th seeded Petra Kvitova. The Barty backhand slice continues to cause her opponents all types of problems, a weapon that could take Barty all the way to the title. 

Sofia Kenin has made the most of a favourable draw to motor her way through to a maiden Grand Slam semi-final appearance. Kenin moved through the first week with straight set wins over Martina Trevisan, Ann Li and Shuai Zhang. It was in the fourth round that the American dropped her only set of the tournament, fighting from behind to defeat Cori Gauff 6/7 6/3 6/0. Kenin booked her spot in the semi-finals with a tricky 6/4 6/4 win over Ons Jabeur. 

Barty heads into this clash with a 3-1 head-to-head record over Kenin. The pair met on 3 occasions in 2019, it was Barty who won the most recent match between the pair, a 6/3 7/5 win in Wuhan. Kenin pushed Barty to 3 sets at Roland Garros before beating the Aussie 6/7 6/3 6/4 at the Rogers Cup. 

I get the sense of an upset here, I’ll side with Kenin. This is certainly the biggest test Barty has faced, Kenin is a difficult match-up for Barty and is not messing around at the moment. Kenin has beaten Barty on a hard court, recently at the Rogers Cup last year and has challenged Barty in all of their previous matches. Kenin has the solid baseline game to deal with the variety of Barty, she isn’t afraid to get into extended rallies and has the firepower to hurt the Aussie when the right opportunity presents. Kenin will be able to deal with the Barty backhand slice better than any of the Aussie’s previous opponent have this tournament. Barty has mainly faced powerful opponents at this event but will face a different task here. 

Prediction: Sofia Kenin to defeat Ash Barty in 3 sets
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Sofia Kenin vs. Cori Gauff, Australian Open R4 Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, R4 preview + prediction:
🇺🇸 (14) Sofia Kenin vs. 🇺🇸 Cori Gauff

An intriguing round of 16 clash from Melbourne Park sees the 14th seeded Sofia Kenin come up against Cori Gauff. Both Kenin and Gauff will be playing to reach the quarter-final stage of a major for the very first time. This will be the first career meeting between the pair.

Sofia Kenin has progressed to the round of 16 at Melbourne Park without dropping a set. The 14th seeded started the event with comfortable victories over a pair of qualifiers, a 6/2 6/4 win over Martina Trevisan followed by a 6/1 6/3 win over Ann Li. Kenin’s first real test came at the third round stage where she defeated China’s Shuai Zhang 7/5 7/6. Kenin came from a break down in both sets in her win over Zhang, saving a set point in a tense second set tiebreak to get the job done, a mature win from the 21-year-old.

Cori Gauff is the talk of the town. The 15-year-old is through to the second week of a major for the first time and did it in style with a shock straight set win over the 4th seeded Naomi Osaka at the third round stage. Gauff’s 6/3 6/4 win over Naomi Osaka was one of the upsets of the tournament thus far, though it must be said that Osaka played an awful match, Gauff was there to take advantage. The American sensation started the event with a 7/6 6/3 win over Venus Williams before beating Sorana Cirstea 4/6 6/3 7/5.

I’m siding with Kenin here. Kenin is the far superior player at this stage and should be smart enough to get through this one. Gauff is being heavily overrated based on a few wins this week. Looking closely at those wins they’re not as impressive as one would first assume, Venus Williams played a horrible match, Cirstea could have easily beaten Gauff and Osaka also played a very bad match. Kenin is too solid to make the same mistake, Gauff won’t be getting any gifts here. Kenin is a top 15 player for a reason, expect Kenin to be too strong for Gauff.

Prediction: Sofia Kenin to defeat Cori Gauff in 2 sets
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Elina Svitolina vs. Sofia Kenin, Shenzhen RR Preview

🇨🇳👑🐲 WTA Finals – Shenzhen RR preview
🇺🇦 (8) Elina Svitolina vs. 🇺🇸 (Alt) Sofia Kenin

Elina Svitolina and Sofia Kenin will go head-to-head for the fifth time in 2019 when they do battle on the final day of group stage matches at the 2019 WTA Finals Shenzhen. The pair have split their four previous meetings, each match was tight with at least 1 tiebreak being played in each of their previous matches.

The scenario heading into this match is a strange one. Svitolina has already secured top spot in the purple group and will be playing Belinda Bencic in the semi-finals on Saturday regardless of what happens in this match. Meanwhile Kenin received a late call to play as the second alternate when Bianca Andreescu pulled out of her final group stage match due to injury. Essentially this is a dead rubber as Kenin can’t progress and Svitolina is through, however there are ranking points and prize money at stake.

Elina Svitolina has made a perfect start to her title defense in Shenzhen and has easily been the most impressive player of the tournament thus far. The Ukrainian kick-started her title defense with a 7-6 6-4 win over Karolina Pliskova before defeating Simona Halep 7-5 6-3. The slow, lifeless courts in Shenzhen are proving to be a perfect surface for Svitolina, just as the similar surface was for her last year in Singapore. Svitolina heads into this match having won her last 7 matches at the WTA Finals, an amazing run given the quality of opposition.

Sofia Kenin will get one last chance to shine in 2019. Kenin has been one of the most improved players this year and deservedly gets a chance to play on the biggest stage. It has been a long season for the American who was competing at the Elite Trophy in Zhuhai last week where she failed to progress through the group stage.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 2 wins apiece. The most recent match between the two took place in Beijing a month ago where Svitolina won 6-3 6-7 6-3. Matches between these two are always a physical battle with many long rallies, expect the same here on a slow court.

This is a tough match to predict given circumstances. Svitolina is through and Kenin can’t progress. I’m going to side with Kenin. It is Kenin who knows this is her last match, she can give her all, whilst Svitolina knows she has to play Bencic tomorrow in the semi-finals. In a match-up that requires Svitolina to grind for victory it wouldn’t be wise for the defending champion to push too hard. If Kenin gets on top early the resistance from Svitolina may understandably be minimal.

Prediction: Sofia Kenin to defeat Elina Svitolina in 2 sets

Sofia Kenin vs. Laura Siegemund, US Open R2 Preview

🇺🇸🗽🍎 US OPEN, R2 match preview
🇺🇸 (20) Sofia Kenin vs. 🇩🇪 Laura Siegemund

The 20th seeded Sofia Kenin continues her 2019 US Open campaign with second round clash against Germany’s Laura Siegemund on day 3 at Flushing Meadows. Kenin is one of the form players on tour at the moment and is one of many players outside the top 10 that have a legitimate shot at causing some major damage over the next fortnight. Can Kenin navigate safely past the tricky Siegemund?

Sofia Kenin arrived in New York fresh from back-to-back semi-final showing in Toronto and Cincinnati. Kenin is certainly full of confidence right now and she needed to draw on some of that confidence in a hard-fought 7-6 6-3 victory over CoCo Vandeweghe in her first round match on Monday. A tough early test for Kenin which should serve her well moving forward as she attempts to reach the third round at Flushing Meadows for the third consecutive year.

Laura Siegemund is still scrapping away. The 31-year-old has overcome several injury obstacles over the last few years and has done well to re-establish a spot in the top 100. Siegemund kick-started her US Open campaign with a typically gutsy 5-7 6-4 6-3 win over Polish qualifier Magdalena Frech. Facing Kenin in the next round will be a big step up in opposition.

This will be the first career meeting between Kenin and Siegemund, two feisty competitors. The pair have somewhat similar games, both move well and like to mix up play, neither are afraid to get into a long grind. The difference is that Kenin has more firepower and is simply much stronger and more reliable at the moment. I expect Kenin to come through this quite comfortably, she does most things better than Siegemund and is in much better form the surface also favours the American. Ultimately this seems like a bad matchup for Siegemund, Kenin can match the German’s tenacity whilst Kenin has many more weapons.

Prediction: Sofia Kenin to defeat Laura Siegemund in 2 sets

Serena Williams vs. Sofia Kenin, Roland Garros R3 Preview

🇫🇷🥖💶 Roland Garros, R3 Preview
🇺🇸 (10) Serena Williams vs. 🇺🇸 Sofia Kenin

Serena Williams continues her Roland Garros campaign on Saturday with a third round clash against Sofia Kenin. Williams made a nervy start to the tournament but produced an improved performance in the second round, there still room for huge improvement. The 23-time Grand Slam champion will probably face her first real test of the tournament against Kenin, an opponent that has troubled some of the best players in the world in recent times. Can Kenin upset Williams to claim the biggest win of her career?

Serena Williams of the United States in action during her first-round match at the 2019 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Serena Williams was the great unknown heading into Roland Garros 2019. As a 23-time Grand Slam champion the 33-year-old can never be dismissed heading into a major. However, Serena arrived in Paris having not won back-to-back matches since the Australian Open thanks to ongoing injury concerns. The 10th seed has broken that streak in Paris, starting with a less than convincing 2-6 6-1 6-0 win over Vitalia Diatchenko in the first round before a more respectable 6-3 6-2 triumph over Kurumi Nara.

Sofia Kenin only had to defeat the world number 164 in order to reach the third round in Paris for the first time. Kenin started her Roland Garros with a messy 6-3 5-7 6-2 win over the 164th ranked Giulia Gatto-Monticone before receiving a walkover in the second round thanks to Bianca Andreescu’s withdrawal from the tournament. Kenin has never made it past the third round of a Grand Slam before and will need to produce her very best tennis here if she is to giver herself a chance to break new ground in Paris,

This will be the first career meeting between Williams and Kenin.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here
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Elina Svitolina vs. Sofia Kenin, Indian Wells R2 Preview

🇺🇸🌵 BNPPO19, Indian Wells – R2 Preview
🇺🇦 (6) Elina Svitolina vs. 🇺🇸 Sofia Kenin

Elina Svitolina and Sofia Kenin will go head-to-head for the first time when they meet at the second round stage of the 2019 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. The 6th seeded Svitolina received a bye through the opening round in the Californian desert whilst Kenin battled from a set down to defeat Yafan Wang, avenging her loss to Wang in the Acapulco final just last week.

Elina Svitolina has made a typically decent start to the year, headlined by a quarter-final showing at the Australian Open and more recently back-to-back semi-final appearances in Doha and Dubai. On paper these results look good but unfortunately for Svitolina she has consistently lost in the really important matches which has been the case all her career.

Sofia Kenin has had a busy couple of weeks. The young American arrives in Indian Wells fresh from a runner-up appearance in Acapulco where she lost from a set and a break up against Yafan Wang. Kenin got another shot at Wang in the opening round at the BNP Paribas Open and narrowly escaped another painful loss with a 1-6 7-5 6-4 victory. Kenin squandered a double break lead in the deciding set against Wang before pulling it together right in time by winning the last 3 games of a dramatic match where the American hit well over 50 unforced errors.

Kenin has troubled the best players in the world in the past, most recently she pushed Simona Halep all the way at the third round stage of the Australian Open, can Kenin use her immense power to take down the 6th seed in Indian Wells?

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here
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Simona Halep vs. Sofia Kenin, Australian Open R1 Preview

Australian Open, R2 Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇺🇸 Sofia Kenin

Simona Halep navigated her way through a tough opening round match on Tuesday evening against Kaia Kanepi and faces another tough early round test on Thursday against America’s Sofia Kenin. Halep was forced to come from a set and a break down in her first round match and is likely to face another stern challenge against Kenin who arrived in Melbourne fresh off winning her first career singles title in Hobart.

Simona Halep of Romania in action during her first-round match at the 2019 Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Halep’s opening round match-up with Kanepi was always going to be a tough one. Kanepi defeated Halep at the opening round stage of the US Open last year and it seemed the same would happen in Melbourne when Kanepi led by a set and a break. However, the world number 1 dug deep and eventually broke the spirits of Kanepi midway through the third set to claim an important 6-7 6-4 6-2 victory. Halep showcased her improved mental strength and was increasingly aggressive in the important moments.

Sofia Kenin has made a very strong start to the season. Kenin won the doubles title in Auckland in week 1 before winning the singles title in Hobart the week after. Kenin was very impressive in Hobart, especially in the final where she dominated Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in her first career singles final on the WTA tour. Kenin also needed to dig deep to get through her opening round match in Melbourne, the American battled past Veronika Kudermetova 6-3 3-6 7-5 in what was her first main draw victory at the Australian Open.

This will be the first career meeting between Halep and Kenin. Can an in-form Kenin push the world number 1?

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

Maria Sharapova vs Sofia Kenin, U.S Open R3 Preview

US Open, 🇺🇸🍎🗽🚕 R3 Preview + Prediction
(wc) 🇷🇺 Maria Sharapova vs (wc) 🇺🇸 Sofia Kenin

Maria Sharapova’s comeback has been one of the biggest stories of the opening week at Flushing Meadows. The 2006 Champion will continue her U.S Open campaign on Thursday night with a third round clash against American wild card Sofia Kenin. Sharapova made the biggest statement of day 1 when she eliminated the second seeded Simona Halep in an epic, 6-4 4-6 6-3 before backing up that win with a 6-7 6-4 6-1 win over Timea Babos. Sharapova will be hoping for a more straightforward night on Thursday against an unheralded opponent.

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