Petra Kvitova vs Dominika Cibulkova, Wuhan Final Preview

Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, Championship Match 🇨🇳
(14) 🇨🇿 Petra Kvitova vs (10) 🇸🇰 Dominika Cibulkova

Petra Kvitova and Dominika Cibulkova have both produced some outstanding tennis this week to defy the odds and reach the final of the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open. A win here will keep Petra Kvitova’s slim hopes of qualifying for the WTA Finals alive whilst a win for Cibulkova will all but guarantee a spot in Singapore for the Slovakian in what would her first every appearance at the season finals.

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Agnieszka Radwanska vs Caroline Wozniacki, Wuhan R3 Preview

Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, Third Round 🇨🇳
(3) 🇵🇱 Agnieszka Radwanska vs 🇩🇰 Caroline Wozniacki

Agnieszka Radwanska and Caroline Wozniacki will renew hostilities on Wednesday night when they meet at the third round stage of the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open. Wozniacki has owned the head-to-head series between the pair in recent times having won the last four meetings between the pair, including a hard-fought three set win over the Pole last week in Tokyo. Continue reading "Agnieszka Radwanska vs Caroline Wozniacki, Wuhan R3 Preview"

Angelique Kerber vs Petra Kvitova, Wuhan R3 Preview

Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, Third Round 🇨🇳
(1) 🇩🇪 Angelique Kerber vs 🇨🇿 (14) Petra Kvitova

Angelique Kerber and Petra Kvitova will go head-to-head for the tenth time when they meet at the third round stage of the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open. Angelique Kerber is competing in her first tournament as the world number 1 and made a positive start to her Wuhan campaign on Tuesday. Continue reading "Angelique Kerber vs Petra Kvitova, Wuhan R3 Preview"

Agnieszka Radwanska vs Ekaterina Makarova, Wuhan R2 Preview

Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, Second Round 🇨🇳
(3) 🇵🇱 Agnieszka Radwanska vs 🇷🇺 Ekaterina Makarova

Agnieszka Radwanska will be wary of her first opponent at the 2016 Wuhan Open, Makarova has troubled Radwanska in the past and made a commanding start to her Wuhan campaign on Sunday evening with a thrashing of Sabine Lisicki.

Agnieszka Radwanska has been the most successful player during the Asian Swing over the last couple of years, winning more titles than anyone else. The Pole made another solid start in Asia last week where she reached the semi-final stage in Tokyo. However, the week ultimately ended in disappointment for the Pole as she squandered several significant leads before succumbing to Caroline Wozniacki in a tight third set in their semi-final match. Radwanska has a chance to climb up the rankings this week as she has no points to defend after falling in the first round in Wuhan last year.

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Roberta Vinci vs Yaroslava Shvedova, Wuhan R2 Preview

Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, Second Round 🇨🇳
(13) 🇮🇹 Roberta Vinci vs 🇰🇿 Yaroslava Shvedova

Two veterans of the tour will go head-to-head in what should be a tight second round match at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open on Tuesday. Vinci and Shvedova both won through to the second round with convincing straight set wins, both have been in good form of late.

Roberta Vinci has solidified her spot in the top 20 in season 2016, thanks largely to a solid run to the quarter-finals at the U.S Open earlier this month. Vinci was on a hot streak this time last year as she went on to reach the semi-finals in Wuhan, the zippy surface seems to suit the Italian. Vinci’s 2016 Wuhan campaign got off to a flying start on Sunday when she comfortably dispatched Monica Puig 6-3 6-3, Vinci served particularly well throughout the match as she served 7 aces and did not face a break point for the entire match.

 

Yaroslava Shvedova also arrived in Wuhan with confidence after a pleasing run to the second week in New York earlier this month. The Kazakh is competing in Wuhan for the very first time and made a near flawless start on Sunday when she thumped Saisai Zheng 6-0 6-3. Shvedova was unstoppable in the first set before holding off a late fightback from Zheng. Shvedova also went through her opening match without being broken, a good sign for Shvedova.

This looks like a rare match-up on the WTA tour where holding serve is very important, particularly on this surface. This is an old-school match-up between two players that frequently move forward to the net, both have great volleying technique. There is little to separate the pair, but Vinci seemingly has a slight edge.

The Italian holds a 3-2 head-to-head record over Shvedova. It was the Kazakh who won their most recent match earlier this year, a 6-0 4-6 6-3 win in Dubai. I suspect Vinci will avenge that loss on this occasion, both are capable of taking care of their service games but Vinci’s baseline game is generally more consistent and therefore she will win in this match-up more often than not.

Prediction: Roberta Vinci to defeat Yaroslava Shvedova in 3 sets

Venus Williams vs Garbine Muguruza, Wuhan Final Preview

Wuhan Final: Venus Williams vs (5) Garbine Muguruza

Venus Williams and Garbine Muguruza advanced through a bizarre semi-final day to set up a clash in Saturday’s final at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open. Both Venus and Garbine seemed to pick up injuries towards the end of their semi-final matches but both managed push through the pain. There is now uncertainty surrounding both Venus and Garbine heading into the final, hopefully we will see a full match with any retirements.

Venus Williams has rocketed into genuine contention to qualify for Singapore this week on the back of some stunning performances. The American started the week off particularly well, recording commanding straight set victories over Agnieszka Radwanska, Julia Goerges and Carla Suarez Navarro. The next two victories were not so straight forward for Venus, clinching marathon three set victories over Johanna Konta and Roberta Vinci.

 

Venus seemed to really run out of energy towards the end of her matches with Konta and Vinci. Venus also seemed to pick up an injury towards the end of her semi-final clash. Nevertheless, Venus wasn’t looking for excuses and kept fighting like a true champion and ultimately came out on top. Venus is now ranked 13th in the live race to Singapore standings and can move all the way up to 9th with a victory over Garbine Muguruza on Saturday.

Garbine Muguruza has been in stunning form this week, producing some scintillating tennis to reach the biggest final of her career. Garbine has all but confirmed her position at her first WTA Finals campaign, the Spaniard can clinch her spot in Singapore with a victory on Saturday. Garbine will also reach a career high ranking when the new rankings come out on Monday, Garbine is currently ranked 5th in the live rankings and will move up to 4th if she claims the title.

 

Garbine started the week in stunning form with a commanding straight set victory over Sloane Stephens before winning 12 of the last 13 games to rocket past Ana Ivanovic. The Spaniard went on to secure her place in the final with straight set victories over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and Angelique Kerber. Garbine’s performance against Kerber was quite impressive, she was clearly the better player throughout the match, totally dictating the play with her punishing play form the baseline. However a fall towards the end of the match threatened to halt Garbine’s progress, after a medical time-out at 3-3 in the second set tiebreak Garbine came out swinging and with a bit of luck she got the job done.

Venus Williams holds a perfect 2-0 head-to-head record over the Spaniard. Their most recent encounter took place in Auckland last year, Venus recorded a relatively comfortable 6-3 6-3 win.

It’s almost impossible to predict what will happen in this match given the injury concerns surrounding both ladies heading into the final. If both ladies are able to play out the match, I think Garbine has the clear edge. This is a good match-up for Garbine, the Spaniard will be able to take care the American’s weak second serve and can handle the American from the baseline.

Prediction: Garbine Muguruza to defeat Venus Williams in 2 sets

Garbine Muguruza vs Angelique Kerber, Wuhan SF Preview

Wuhan SF #2: (5) Garbine Muguruza vs (6) Angelique Kerber

The blockbuster semi-final of the day at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open sees Garbine Muguruza take on Angelique Kerber, the winner of this semi-final will be the strong favourite to claim the title on Saturday. Garbine and Angelique have built up quite a rivalry in 2015, Angelique won their first meeting in Sydney but Garbine won when it mattered most, claiming victories at Roland Garros and Wimbledon over the German.

Garbine Muguruza is having a wonderful week in Wuhan, recapturing the form that saw her reach her first career Grand Slam final earlier this year at Wimbledon. Garbine has been close to unplayable this week when she has been at her best, the Spaniard started the week with a commanding 6-2 6-0 victory over Sloane Stephens before winning 11 of the last 12 games to defeat Ana Ivanovic 4-6 6-1 6-0. Garbine’s third set against Ivanovic was almost flawless, committing just 1 unforced error whilst blasting Ivanovic off the court in a scintillating performance.

 

Garbine Muguruza booked her spot in the final 4 with a commanding 6-2 6-2 victory over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova. It was another superb performance by the Spaniard who never let the Slovakian settle into the match. Garbine Muguruza is now almost certain to reach her first ever WTA Finals campaign in Singapore, Garbine currently sits in 5th place in the live race and will also reach the top 5 in the rankings for the very first time when the new rankings come out next week.

Angelique Kerber is also very close to securing her spot at the upcoming WTA Finals in Singapore, Angie is up to 7th in the live race standings and can confirm her place at the season finale by claiming her fifth title of the year this week in Wuhan. Angie’s progression through the draw this week hasn’t been quite as impressive as Garbine’s, but she has done what she had needed to do. Angie started the week with a three set victory over Jelena Jankovic before defeating Camila Giorgi and CoCo Vandeweghe in straight sets.

 

Angie and Garbine have one of the most competitive rivalries on tour, the two seem to bring out the best in each other. Angelique Kerber holds a 3-2 head-to-head record over Muguruza, however the Spaniard has won 2 of their 3 meetings in 2015 including their two most recent matches. Garbine came from a set down to defeat Angie at Roland Garros before defeating the German 7-6 1-6 6-2 in a memorable match at Wimbledon. Importantly, Kerber has won all three of their previous encounters on a hard court.

This is a really tough match to call, this is one of the most event match-ups on tour. Garbine does have the firepower to hurt Angie, however the medium pace hard courts in Wuhan probably help Angie in this match-up. Kerber will still be hurting from her previous two losses to Garbine and will be desperate for revenge on Friday evening. Furthermore, Angie’s form has been far more consistent than Garbine’s over the last couple of months so I'm going to side with her.

Prediction: Angelique Kerber to defeat Garbine Muguruza in 3 sets

Venus Williams vs Roberta Vinci, Wuhan SF Preview

 Wuhan SF #1: Venus Williams vs (15) Roberta Vinci

The first semi-final of the day at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open features an unexpected match-up between two of the veterans of the tour when Venus Williams comes up against Roberta Vinci. Both Venus and Roberta are playing some of the best tennis they have played for years, the winner of this match will keep their slim chances of reaching the WTA Finals in Singapore well and truly alive.

Venus Williams is into her third semi-finals of 2015, the American has been in vintage form this week playing some of her best tennis in recent years in Wuhan. Venus waltzed through her opening three matches of the week, recording straight set victories over Agnieszka Radwanska, Julia Goerges and Carla Suarez Navarro. The American’s quarter-final match didn't go as smoothly, the American laboured to a 6-4 3-6 7-5 victory over British qualifier Johanna Konta. Venus seemed to be very low on energy towards the end of the third set but somehow managed to win the last four games of the match to set up a semi-final clash with Roberta Vinci. 

 

Roberta Vinci has carried her outstanding form from New York to Wuhan. The U.S Open finalist has now won 10 of her last 11 matches including 3 victories over top 10 opponents. Roberta made a wobbly start to her Wuhan campaign with a three set victory over Danka Kovinic but since then the Italian has been in clinical form, recording straight set victories over Irina-Camelia Begu, Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova. The Italian’s 7-6 6-3 victory over Karolina Pliskova was particularly impressive, it was an extremely clean performance by Roberta who dominated behind her serve and effectively mixed up the play for the baseline.

Venus Williams has a perfect 3-0 head-to-head record over the Italian. All three victories were on a hard court and all three victories were in straight sets, however the two haven’t met since Venus defeated Vinci 7-6 6-4 in Luxemburg back in 2012. This looks like Roberta’s greatest opportunity to record a victory over Venus, it will be tough for the American to recover from her gruelling quarter-final victory over Konta. Vinci is not the type of opponent a fatigued Venus would like to come up against, I think an in form Vinci can get the job done here. Vinci has had great preparation for this match, defeating Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova, similarly powerful opponents.

Prediction: Roberta Vinci to defeat Venus Williams in 3 sets

Angelique Kerber vs CoCo Vandeweghe, Wuhan QF Preview

Wuhan QF: (6) Angelique Kerber vs CoCo Vandeweghe

The fourth and final quarter-final of the day at the Wuhan Open sees Angelique Kerber come up against CoCo Vandeweghe. Angelique Kerber is now very close to securing her spot at the WTA Finals in Singapore whilst CoCo Vandeweghe has finally found the form which saw her reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon a couple of months ago. This will be an interesting match between the big serving, powerful American and the strong, counterpunching German.

Ever since claiming back-to-back titles in Charleston and Stuttgart, Angelique Kerber has been one of the most consistent performers on tour. Angie has continued her consistent from to start the Asian swing, reaching the quarter-final stage in Tokyo and now in Wuhan. As a result, Angie is now well positioned to reach the WTA Finals in Singapore, the German is now ranked 7th in the live race and should be considered one of the favourites to perhaps go all the way and claim the title this week at the Wuhan Open. 

 

Angelique Kerber received a bye into the second round where she defeated Jelena Jankovic 6-4 2-6 6-2. The German played some outstanding tennis in the final set of her match against Jankovic and carried that form into her 6-2 6-4 third round win over Camila Giorgi. Angie played an extremely solid match, playing smart tennis by committing just 9 unforced errors and forcing Giorgi to eventually go for too much.

CoCo Vandeweghe has come through extremely tight matches to reach the quarter-final stage in Wuhan. The American has recorded back-to-back victories for the first time since her run to the quarter-finals at Wimbledon earlier this year. Vandeweghe defeated Lesia Tsurenko in three topsy-turvy sets in the first round before saving two match points to defeat Caroline Garcia 6-3 6-7 7-6. The American booked her spot in the quarter-finals with another deciding set tiebreak victory, coming from a set down to defeat Barbora Strycova 3-6 6-2 7-6.

 

Angelique Kerber won the only previous encounter between the pair in Stanford last year, a 7-6 0-6 6-2 victory. As that match showed, Vandeweghe does have the ability to get on top of Kerber, but her ability to sustain a high enough level for long enough to hit past the German is very questionable. Angie will enter this match knowing how important it is for her chances of reaching Singapore, the determined German will ultimately be too solid for the American.

Prediction: Angelique Kerber to defeat CoCo Vandeweghe in 2 sets

Johanna Konta vs Venus Williams, Wuhan QF Preview

Wuhan QF: (Q) Johanna Konta vs Venus Williams

An unexpected Quarter-final match-up at the Wuhan Open on Thursday evening sees British qualifier Johanna Konta come up against a rejuvenated Venus Williams. Johanna Konta enters this match in the form of her life, having won 21 of her last 22 matches. Venus Williams also enters this match in great form, winning her first three matches in Wuhan in straight sets and in convincing style. It will be interesting to see how this one pans out.

Johanna Konta’s outstanding form has continued in Wuhan, the Brit arrived in China in career best form having won two ITF titles and come through qualifying to reach the fourth round in New York. Konta came through the qualifying draw in Wuhan without dropping a set before picking up a 6-4 7-5 upset victory over Andrea Petkovic in the first round. Konta advanced to the third round courtesy of Victoria Azarenka retiring from their second round match with an injury after dropping the first set.

 

It was in the third round that Johanna Konta picked up her biggest scalp, recording the biggest victory of her career with a 6-3 3-6 7-5 win over the top seeded Simona Halep. Konta trailed 1-5 in the final set but never stopped fighting as a wayward Halep twice failed to serve out the match. Konta did well to make the most of the situation, winning 6 straight games to claim a famous victory. Konta will enter her quarter-final clash with Venus Williams full of confidence, the Brit is now set to enter the top 50 for the very first time.

Venus Williams has been in vintage form this week in Wuhan, recording three straight set victories to storm into the quarter-finals. The American started the week by rocketing 50 plus winners past Agnieszka Radwanska in a 6-1 7-6 victory before recording a comfortable 6-4 6-3 win over German qualifier Julia Goerges. Venus became the 9th woman in the open era to record 700 career victories with her second round win over Goerges, an outstanding achievement. Venus continued her impressive week on Wednesday with a solid 6-3 6-4 victory over Carla Suarez Navarro, the American’s 6th victory over a top 10 opponent in 2015. Venus has served particularly well this week whilst her backhand her been on fire.

 

This will be the first career meeting between Johanna and Venus, both ladies enter this match in great form and will both see this as a massive opportunity. Venus looks to have the clear edge in this match-up, Konta’s game shouldn’t really trouble Venus, the Brit is the type of opponent Venus likes to play against. The American’s superior experience could also be a big factor here, especially if the match is close. This is a rare opportunity for Venus to reach the later stages of a big event at this stage in her career, I don’t see her letting such an opportunity slip by against Konta.

Prediction: Venus Williams to defeat Johanna Konta in 2 sets