🇨🇳👑🐲 WTA Finals – Shenzhen RR preview 🇨🇿 (2) Karolina Pliskova vs. 🇺🇦 (8) Elina Svitolina
Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina will renew hostilities when they go head-to-head on the opening day of matches from the purple group at the WTA Finals Shenzhen. Pliskova and Svitolina have followed similar pathways over the last few years, arguably the two best players on tour at the moment not to win a major title. Svitolina played inspired tennis to win this event in Singapore last year, can the Ukrainian regain that stunning form this time around to defend her title?
Karolina Pliskova arrives in Shenzhen as the number 2 player in the word but she certainly isn’t one of the favourites this week. Pliskova has a poor record against her fellow elite 8 members and hasn’t been in the best form of late. Pliskova managed to win just 1 match during the Wuhan, Beijing double. To her credit, Pliskova has had another solid season but when the going gets tough she usually stumbles.
Elina Svitolina booked her spot in the WTA Finals in the final few weeks of the season for a second year in a row. The 2018 Singapore champion knows what it takes to win this tournament, Svitolina spectacularly won all 5 matches of her matches at the event last year to become one of the most deserving champions of the event in recent times. Svitolina brings decent form into this years event having reached 3 quarter-finals during the Asian swing.
Pliskova holds a 5-3 record over Svitolina. However, Svitolina has won the last 3 matches between the pair and in general I would think that this match-up favours the Ukrainian. The most recent match between the pair took place at the WTA Finals last year, Svitolina won 6-3 2-6 6-3.
I’m going to side with Svitolina here. Pliskova struggles in these match-ups against the best counter-punchers, Pliskova has bad recent records against Halep, Kerber and has lost her last 3 matches against Svitolina. Pliskova needs to be at her very best to win these matches, Svitolina is so consistent that it means Pliskova needs to redline to hit through the Ukrainian. Once Svitolina gets into a neutral rally with Pliskova she has the big advantage, Svitolina should be able to get into enough of those to get over the line. Svitolina is tougher and is in better form at the moment.
Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Karolina Pliskova in 3 sets
🇨🇳👑🐲 WTA Finals – Shenzhen RR preview 🇦🇺 (1) Ashleigh Barty vs. 🇨🇭 (7) Belinda Bencic
Ash Barty and Belinda Bencic will go head-to-head for the first time as the pair kick-start their respective debut appearances at the season ending championships. Ash Barty may head into this tournament as the world number 1 but she will have her work cut out to live up to that ranking, Barty has a poor record against her fellow elite 8 members and will face a tough first-up test against an in-form Bencic.
Ash Barty arrives in Shenzhen fresh from a strong Asian Swing. Barty reached the semi-finals in Wuhan before making the final in Beijing. A lingering calf injury was the only major concern for Barty during the Asian swing but she has had some time off back at home before arriving in Shenzhen and should be ready to go come Sunday. Barty finished 2018 on a high by winner the Elite Trophy in Zhuhai so she does have some experience in this type of event despite this being her first showing at the WTA Finals.
Belinda Bencic just snuck into the 2019 WTA Finals at the last minute. Bencic secured her spot in Shenzhen last week by winning the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. Bencic claimed several hard-fought wins in Moscow under great pressure so she arrives in Shenzhen full of confidence and essentially with nothing to lose. Bencic may have been the last to qualify for the event but she is a contender, the Swiss player has a good record against her fellow elite 8 members and has always thrived when playing against the best.
Surprisingly this will be the first career meeting between Barty and Bencic.
I’m going to side with Bencic here. Bencic is battle hardened heading into this opening match having just won the Kremlin Cup a week ago, conversely Barty hasn’t completed a match in almost a month and may take a while to find her rhythm. Bencic has the consistent and efficient game to deal with the variety of Barty, If Bencic remains patient in the rallies and waits for her chance to pull the trigger up the line, she should be strong enough to get the better of the Aussie, especially on an indoor hard court.
Prediction: Belinda Bencic to defeat Ashleigh Barty in 3 sets
🇨🇳👑🐲 WTA Finals – Shenzhen RR preview 🇯🇵 (3) Naomi Osaka vs. 🇨🇿 (6) Petra Kvitova
A blockbuster contest between Naomi Osaka and Petra Kvitova will kick-start the 2019 WTA Finals in Shenzhen. A rematch of this year’s epic Australian Open final, expect another exciting clash between two of the most dynamic players on tour. Kvitova will be keen for revenge after suffering a painful loss in the Australian Open final but Osaka is arguably the form player on tour and will be tough to stop.
Naomi Osaka arrives in Shenzhen on a 10-match winning streak. The Japanese star has reached at least the quarter-final stage in each of her last 5 tournaments and should be considered the favourite heading into the final tournament of the season. This will be Osaka’s second year in a row competing at the season ending championships. Osaka failed to win a single match at last year’s championships so she will be hoping for a much more successful campaign this time around.
Petra Kvitova returns to the WTA Finals for a seventh time, the 2011 champion is the only player who has played at each of the last 4 venues the tournament has been held at. Kvitova rebounded with some decent results during the Asian swing after a disappointing US Open series. Kvitova reached the semi-finals in Wuhan and the quarter-finals in Beijing.
The only previous match between the pair was in the Australian Open final earlier this year, Osaka claimed a dramatic 7-6 5-7 6-4 victory to capture her second major title.
I’m going to give the slight edge to Kvitova on this occasion. Experience and conditions favour the 2-time Wimbledon champion. Kvitova is the most experienced player in the draw and that will count for a lot in a tournament like this. Conversely, Osaka has never won a match at the WTA Finals. Kvitova has a fantastic career record at indoor events whilst the same isn’t true for Osaka. This is a big match for Kvitova, the Australian Open final defeat to Osaka this year was one of the toughest losses of her career and she will be eager for revenge, I think she gets it, Osaka is also due for a loss.
Prediction: Petra Kvitova to defeat Naomi Osaka in 3 sets
🇺🇸🗽🍎 US OPEN, SF match preview 🇨🇭 (13) Belinda Bencic vs. 🇨🇦 (15) Bianca Andreescu
A pair of maiden Grand Slam semi-finalists will go head-to-head for the second spot in the 2019 US Open final when the 13th seeded Belinda Bencic comes up against the 15th seeded Bianca Andreescu. This will be the first career meeting between Bencic and Andreescu, it will be interesting to see how this matchup pans out with so much at stake. Andreescu’s strong recent form means she heads into this match as the favourite but Bencic is the more accomplished player and will fancy her chances here.
Belinda Bencic navigated her way through the first week of the tournament quite easily, Bencic cruised past Mandy Minella in 2 sets before winning a topsy-turvy 3 set clash with Alize Cornet. Bencic received a walkover into the fourth round when Anett Kontaveit withdrew from their third round match. The 13th seed has stepped up her game in the last few matches to reach the final 4 at a Grand Slam for the first time, a 7-5 6-4 win over the top ranked Naomi Osaka followed by a 7-6 6-3 win over Donna Vekic suddenly gives Bencic a very real chance to go all the way in New York.
Bianca Andreescu continues to get the job done. Andreescu has become a third set specialist in 2019, she has won 11 consecutive matches that went the distance. The Canadian’s latest third set triumph booked her a spot in a maiden Grand Slam semi-final when she came from a set down to defeat Elise Mertens 3-6 6-2 6-3. Andreescu has won a couple of 3-time matches in a row in New York having defeated Taylor Townsend in 3 in the fourth round. It was a simple progression for Andreescu through the first week of the event with straight set wins over Katie Volynets, Kirsten Flipkens and Caroline Wozniacki.
I’m going to side with Belinda Bencic. I think Bencic has what it takes to end Andreescu’s winning streak. Mertens outplayed Andreescu in the opening set of their quarter-final clash, the strong, disciplined, flat hitting of Mertens got the better of Andreescu as she was able to move Andreescu side-to-side and open up the court, Bencic can execute a similar game and should be able to sustain a high enough level to get the job done. Bencic is slightly more solid off both sides of the court and seems to be in better shape physically heading into this match. Andreescu’s backhand can be exposed and her fitness may also be exposed by Bencic.
Prediction: Belinda Bencic to defeat Bianca Andreescu in 2 sets
🇺🇸🗽🍎 US OPEN, SF match preview 🇺🇦 (5) Elina Svitolina vs. 🇺🇸 (8) Serena Williams
A blockbuster semi-final encounter at Flushing Meadows sees the 5th seeded Elina Svitolina come up against 23-time major winner Serena Williams. Svitolina enters this clash full of confidence, the Ukrainian is playing the best tennis of her career right now and will be eager to reach her first Grand Slam final. Svitolina has beaten Williams before but will be coming up against a formidable opponent on Thursday evening, Williams is on a mission and is approaching her best level. Can Svitolina pull off the upset victory?
Elina Svitolina is through to back-to-back Grand Slam semi-finals thanks to some fantastic victories. Svitolina also enters this semi-final clash on the back of some stunning performances. The 5th seed played scintillating tennis to defeat Madison Keys and Johanna Konta in straight sets to advance to the final 4. The consistency and movement of Svitolina overwhelmed Keys and Konta, a pair of big hitters, Svitolina will be hoping to execute a similar game against Williams Svitolina has moved through the entire draw without dropping a set having defeated Whitney Osuigwe, Venus Williams and Dayana Yastremska in straight sets during the first week of the event.
Serena Williams is once again on the verge of capturing that elusive 24th Grand Slam title. Williams is yet to win a major since returning from giving birth despite reaching the later stages on numerous occasions. Williams is seemingly desperate to make this the tournament she goes all the way, the 8th seed enters the semi-final stage on the back of her most dominant performance of the tournament where she thrashed China’s Wang Qiang 6-1 6-0 in a near-flawless display of power hitting. Williams has dramatically improved her level since she played some scratchy tennis in a 3-set win over Caty McNally in the second round, straight set wins over Karolina Muchova and Petra Martic preceded Williams’ domination of Wang.
Williams holds a 4-1 head-to-head record over Svitolina. It was Svitolina who won the most recent match between the pair, a 6-4 6-3 victory at the Rio Olympics on a hard court. Much has changed since their last meeting, both are in totally different places right now so it will be interesting to see how this matchup unfolds.
I’m going to go for the upset here and side with Svitolina. It feels like this is Svitolina’s time to breakthrough and claim her first career major title. Svitolina is playing amazing tennis at the moment, her movement and defensive skills are the best on tour and that could spell trouble for Williams. Williams has consistently struggled at this stage of Grand Slams since her return from giving birth, specifically against top level counter-punchers, Svitolina falls into this category. If Svitolina’s serve holds up, she has a great chance at winning this match. Svitolina’s first serve has improved dramatically, if she lands enough first serves and gets involved in enough rallies on the Williams serve she should find a way a fight through this one.
Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Serena Williams in 3 sets
🇺🇸🗽🍎 US OPEN, QF match preview 🇨🇭 (13) Belinda Bencic vs. 🇭🇷 (23) Donna Vekic
A spot in a maiden Grand Slam semi-final will be up for grabs when Belinda Bencic and Donna Vekic go head-to-head at the 2019 US Open. This is a huge opportunity for both players looking to take the next step in their respective careers. Bencic and Vekic are good friends and are very familiar witch each other’s games, it will be interesting to see how this matchup pans out with so much at stake.
Belinda Bencic heads into this quarter-final clash on the back of a huge win over the top seed and defending champion. Bencic booked her spot in a second career Grand Slam quarter-final with a 7-5 6-4 victory over Naomi Osaka. Bencic has won more matches over top 10 and top 5 opponents than anyone else on tour in 2019, clearly she likes the challenge of playing a top player, can she bring the same attitude into this quarter-final clash with Vekic?
Donna Vekic is through to the quarter-final stage of a Grand Slam for the very first time. The 23rd seed cruised through the first week with straight set wins over Richel Hogenkamp, Kaia Kanepi and Yulia Putintseva. Vekic claimed her most notable win at the fourth round stage where she battled from a set and a break down to defeat Julia Goerges 6-7 7-5 6-3. Vekic has won multiple matches in 2019 from similarly precarious positions, a testament to her fighting spirit.
Bencic holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Vekic. However, it was Vekic who won their most recent match, a surprisingly comfortable 6-4 6-1 victory at Roland Garros earlier this year.
I’m going to side with Bencic here. Simply, I believe that Bencic is superior to Vekic in every aspect, she is the better player. Bencic heads into this match full of confidence after a big win over Osaka and should be smart enough to execute her game and get the better of Vekic on a surface that favours the Swiss player.
Prediction: Belinda Bencic to defeat Donna Vekic in 2 sets
🇺🇸🗽🍎 US OPEN, QF match preview 🇺🇸 (8) Serena Williams vs. 🇨🇳 (18) Qiang Wang
Serena Williams continues her quest for an elusive 24th Grand Slam title on Monday night when she takes on China’s Wang Qiang at the quarter-final stage of the 2019 US Open. The pair bring hugely contrasting experience into this match, Williams will be competing in her 52nd Grand Slam singles quarter-final whilst Wang will be making her first ever appearance at this stage of a major.
Serena Williams is seemingly getting stronger and stronger as the tournament rolls on in New York. Williams started her campaign with a 6-1 6-1 drubbing of Maria Sharapova before being forced to fight from a set down to beat Caty McNally. The 23-time major winners struggle against McNally was seemingly a wakeup call. Williams has produced two improved performances to secure a spot in the final 8 with straight set wins over Karolina Muchova and Petra Martic. Williams has consistently come across unfamiliar opponents in New York, her match with Wang will be a fourth consecutive first-time matchup for Williams, a rarity given her experience.
Qiang Wang is on the verge of cracking the WTA top 10 for the first time having reached her first major quarter-final. Wang has had a good few weeks in New York having arrived at Flushing Meadows fresh from a semi-final showing in the Bronx. Wang is yet to drop a set this tournament, Wang cruised through the first week with wins over Caroline Dolehide, Alison Van Uytvanck and Fiona Ferro. Wang made her biggest move in the fourth round where she upset the 2nd seeded Ash Barty with a 6-2 6-4 win. Wang was amazingly clutch in her win over Barty, the Chinese number 1 saved all 9 break points she faced against the Aussie to claim the biggest win of her career.
This will be the first career meeting between Serena Williams an Wang Qiang.
Obviously it is Serena Williams who rightfully heads into this match as a strong favourite. The record of Williams speaks for itself but Wang will be no pushover, Wang is playing the best tennis of her career and has nothing to lose heading into this match. Wang absorbs pace very well, she likes playing against big hitters so it will be interesting to see how she matches up against Williams. I think this will be much closer than expected, Wang can match Williams from the baseline, tempted to pick Wang but the experience of Williams and her superior serve will likely win out in the end.
Prediction: Serena Williams to defeat Qiang Wang in 3 sets
🇺🇸🗽🍎 US OPEN, QF match preview 🇺🇦 (5) Elina Svitolina vs. 🇬🇧 (16) Johanna Konta
Elina Svitolina and Johanna Konta will both be aiming to reach a second Grand Slam semi-final in 2019 when they go head-to-head in Tuesday’s first quarter-final at Flushing Meadows. Svitolina and Konta both enter this match in great form, both took down quality opposition in the previous round and will be full of confidence. It is Svitolina who holds a dominant record over the Brit, can the British number 1 flip the script on this occasion?
Elina Svitolina has cruised into her first US Open quarter-final without dropping a set. Svitolina moved through the first week with easy wins over Whitney Osuigwe, Venus Williams and Dayana Yastremska. Svitolina’s most impressive performance came at the fourth round stage where she defeated an in-form Madison Keys 7-5 6-4. Svitolina did not face a single break point against Keys, in fact she wasn’t even taken to deuce in a service game or behind in a service game at any point.
Johanna Konta is through to a third consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final, an outstanding effort from the British number 1. Konta’s pathway to the final 8 hasn’t been easy. The 16th seed required 3 sets to get through a tricky opening round matchup with Daria Kasatkina before thrashing Margarita Gasparyan and Shuai Zhang. Konta’s biggest win also came at the fourth round stage where she fought from a set and a break down to defeat the 3rd seeded Karolina Pliskova 6-7 7-5 6-3, a gutsy win by Konta over one of the pre-tournament favourites.
Svitolina holds a perfect 4-0 record over Konta. The most recent meeting between the pair took place at the Rogers Cup last year where Svitolina won 6-3 6-4.
I expect Svitolina to maintain her unbeaten record over Konta. The head-to-head record doesn’t lie, this is a good matchup for Svitolina and a bad matchup for Konta. Svitolina’s tenacity and consistency from the baseline will make life very tough for Konta, especially given how well Svitolina has served of late. If Svitolina serves well then she will win this match, she will win the majority of the baseline exchanges. The 5th seed is currently looking like the player that won the WTA Finals last year, on that form she is so hard to beat. Konta usually stumbles at this stage of a major.
Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Johanna Konta in 2 sets
🇺🇸🗽🍎 US OPEN, R4 match preview 🇺🇦 (5) Elina Svitolina vs. 🇺🇸 (10) Madison Keys
A blockbuster round of 16 clash at the US Open sees the 5th seeded Elina Svitolina take on the 10th seeded Madison Keys. This is a huge match for both women, Svitolina and Keys are two of the most accomplished players on tour yet to win a Grand Slam, both have what it takes to go all the way. Keys holds a slight 2-1 head-to-head advantage over Svitolina but it was the Ukrainian who came out on top in their most recent match earlier this year, who will prevail in this critical meeting at Flushing Meadows?
Elina Svitolina has cruised through the first week in New York. Svitolina booked her spot in the fourth round with straight set wins over Whitney Osuigwe, Venus Williams and Dayan Yastremska. Importantly Svitolina has played 3 big-hitters so she is very much prepared to face Keys, granted Keys will be her toughest test yet.
Madison Keys is one of the form players on tour right now. Keys is on a 9-match winning streak having arrived in New York fresh from winning the title in Cincinnati. Keys moved through the first week in New York without dropping a set, straight set wins over Misaki Doi, Lin Zhu and Sofia Kenin saw her through to the round of 16. The bad news for Keys is that she was struggling physically during her 6-3 7-5 win over Sofia Kenin, it’s hard to know what to expect from Keys in the next round.
Madison Keys has won 2 of the 3 meetings between the pair, one of which was via retirement. Keys defeated Svitolina at the US Open in 2017, a 3 set victory. Most recently it was Svitolina who prevailed 6-2 1-6 6-1 at the round of 16 stage at the Australian Open earlier this year.
I’m going to side with Svitolina here. Svitolina has cruised through her 3 matches and seems to be in perfect shape heading into the second week of the tournament. Keys may be on a 9-match winning streak but it seems this is where her run comes to an end, Keys was suffering physically in her latest match and seems due for a bad match. This is a bad matchup for Keys, the American generally struggles against the best counter-punchers on tour, Svitolina falls into this category. I don’t think Keys will be able to produce a clinical enough performance to get the better of a rock-solid Svitolina.
Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Madison Keys in 2 sets
🇺🇸🗽🍎 US OPEN, R2 match preview 🇦🇺 (2) Ashleigh Barty vs. 🇺🇸 Lauren Davis
The second seeded Ash Barty continues her US Open campaign on Wednesday with a second round clash against Lauren Davis. Barty will be hoping for an improved performance after she was forced to come from a set down against Zarina Diyas in her opening round match at Flushing Meadows. Davis will have other ideas and has proven to be a player capable of causing big upsets at majors.
Ash Barty made a less than convincing start to the final major of the season. The reigning Roland Garros champion was rusty in a 1-6 6-3 6-2 win over Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas. Barty arrived in New York fresh from a semi-final showing in Cincinnati where she also had to battle from a set down on multiple occasions, it’s good that the Aussie is able to come through these tough situations but she would certainly like to be playing better tennis.
Lauren Davis is through to the second round at the US Open for the third time in her 7th main draw appearance at the event. Davis has never made it past the second round in New York and will need to claim a huge upset win to change that in 2019. Davis started her campaign with a 7-5 6-2 win over Swedish qualifier Johanna Larsson but will face a far stronger challenge against the second ranked Ash Barty. Davis can take confidence from her big upset win over Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon earlier this year.
Barty won the only previous match between the pair, a 2-6 6-3 7-5 win in Acapulco in 2014. That win was considered an upset win for Barty, since then Barty is one of the most improved players on tour whilst Davis has made little ground.
I expect Barty to produce an improved performance here after a bit of a scare in her opening round match. This should be a comfortable match-up for Barty, the hard courts of New York suit Barty’s game perfectly and she has the game to handle Davis. Barty has the power to punish Davis and the versatility to unsettle the American. Barty is simply far more reliable and mentally tough.
Prediction: Ashleigh Barty to defeat Lauren Davis in 2 sets