Ashleigh Barty vs. Johanna Konta, Wuhan R1 Preview

🐉 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, R1 Preview
🇦🇺 (16) Ashleigh Barty vs. 🇬🇧 Johanna Konta

Ash Barty had her big breakthrough at a major event in Wuhan 12 months ago when she made it all the way to the final. The pressure is on Barty this week to defend her finalist points and she begins her 2018 campaign with a potentially tough opening round clash against Johanna Konta. Barty has won the last couple of matches between the two and will be the favourite to make it 3 wins in a row over the Brit.

Ashleigh Barty of Australia in action during her third-round match at the 2018 US Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Barty and Konta were both in action in Tokyo last week, both suffered disappointing second round losses. Barty was beaten by Victoria Azarenka in straight sets, whilst Konta was beaten by Donna Vekic in straight sets. In general it has been Barty that has been in the much better form over the last few months, highlighted by a semi-final showing in Montreal and a run to the fourth round at the US Open.

Barty holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Konta. The most recent match between the pair took place in the Nottingham final earlier this year, a 6-3 3-6 6-4 win for Barty. Barty also beat Konta in Wuhan last year on route to the final, a match that ended in a third set tiebreak.

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Aryna Sabalenka vs. Carla Suarez Navarro, Wuhan R1 Preview

🐉 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, R1 Preview
🇧🇾 Aryna Sabalenka vs. 🇪🇸 Carla Suarez Navarro

Aryna Sabalenka and Carla Suarez Navarro kick-start their Asian swings with an opening round clash in Wuhan on Monday. The pair squared off last month in the New Haven final, Sabalenka claimed a comfortable victory on that occasion. Can Suarez Navarro avenge that loss in Wuhan?

Arena Sabalenka of Belarus warms up for practice at the 2018 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

It will be interesting to see if Sabalenka can maintain her strong form from the North American hard court swing throughout the remainder of the year. Sabalenka played career best tennis over the last few months, reaching the semi-final in Cincinnati, winning the title in New Haven and reaching the fourth round in New York. The early signs are that she may not be able to continue that form after an opening round loss in Quebec City at the hands of Varvara Lepchenko a few weeks ago. Sabalenka will need to quickly regain her rhythm for a tough opening round clash against Suarez Navarro in Wuhan.

Suarez Navarro also had a great North American hard court swing. Suarez Navarro reached the final in New Haven before claiming some big wins on route to a quarter-final showing at the US Open. Suarez Navarro will enter this match keen for revenge after she was comfortably beaten by Sabalenka in the New Haven final.

Sabalenka smashed Suarez Navarro 6-1 6-4 in their only previous clash last month in New Haven. Suarez Navarro was unable to handle the firepower of a red-hot Sabalenka on that occasion but seemingly have a greater chance heading into this match.

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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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Naomi Osaka vs. Lesia Tsurenko, US OPEN QF Preview

🇺🇸🗽 US OPEN: QF Preview
🇯🇵 (20) Naomi Osaka vs. 🇺🇦 Lesia Tsurenko

A huge opportunity presents itself to Naomi Osaka and Lesia Tsurenko on Wednesday when they go head-to-head for a spot in the semi-finals at the US Open. These two are at very different stages of their careers but this will be the biggest moment for both. Osaka and Tsurenko will be making their first quarter-final appearance at a Grand Slam, who will step up and make the most of this rare chance?

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

Naomi Osaka stormed through the first week at Flushing Meadows. Osaka dropped a combined 7 games in commanding victories over Laura Siegemund, Julia Glushko and Aryna Sabalenka. Osaka faced her first big test in the fourth round where she won the battle of the young guns, a 6-3 2-6 6-4 win over a red-hot Aryna Sabalenka. It was an emotional win for Osaka, a huge occasion for the 20-year-old.

No one would have predicted that Lesia Tsurenko would reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final at this year’s US Open. Tsurenko also cruised through the first week of the event without dropping a set. The 29-year-old started her campaign with a win over Alison Van Uytvanck before claiming a huge 6-4 6-2 upset win over the 2nd seeded Caroline Wozniacki. Tsurenko eased past Katerina Siniakova 6-4 6-0 before securing her spot in the final 8 with a grueling 6-7 7-5 6-2 win over Marketa Vondrousova. Tsurenko has always been physically fragile, dealing with some type of injury every other week, there have been concerns this event but so far she has been able to battle through.

This will be the first meeting between the pair at the tour level. A match that features an interesting contrast in styles. The power of Osaka against the consistent game of Tsurenko. Osaka will look to overpower Tsurenko but the Ukrainian thrives on power and has experience on her side.

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Madison Keys vs. Carla Suarez Navarro, US OPEN QF Preview

🇺🇸🗽 US OPEN: QF Preview
🇺🇸 (14) Madison Keys vs. 🇪🇸 (30) Carla Suarez Navarro

Madison Keys will be out to maintain her perfect record over Carla Suarez Navarro when the pair meet at the quarter-final stage of the US Open on Wednesday. Keys reached her first and only Grand Slam final in New York 12 months ago, the American has reached the quarter-finals in 3 of Grand Slams in 2018 but claiming that elusive Grand Slam title is now the task for Keys. Suarez Navarro will be no pushover, the Spaniard is fresh off a big upset win over Maria Sharapova and is arguably playing the best tennis of her career right now.

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

Madison Keys rocketed into the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows with a commanding 6-1 6-3 win over Dominika Cibulkova. Keys played her greatest match of the tournament thus far as she breezed past the Slovakian. Keys was also untroubled in her first few matches in New York as she beat Pauline Parmentier and Bernarda Pera in straight sets. The American’s biggest test was in the third round where she defeated Aleksandra Krunic from a set down, an important win for Keys.

Carla Suarez Navarro has had a much more difficult route to the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows. Carla required 3 sets to get the better of Nicole Gibbs and Kristina Mladenovic in a pair of scrappy performances to start her campaign. The Spaniard claimed an epic third round win over the 6th seeded Caroline Garcia, outlasting the Frenchwoman to win in a third set tiebreak. Suarez Navarro secured her spot in a 7th Grand Slam quarter-final with a dominant 6-4 6-3 win over a wayward Maria Sharapova. Suarez Navarro has never reached the semi-finals at a Grand Slam having lost all 6 of her previous Grand Slam quarter-finals.

Keys holds a perfect 3-0 record over Suarez Navarro. All 3 of those victories required a third set. The most recent match between the two took place at the Rio Olympics in 2016, Keys won that match 6-3 3-6 6-3.

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Sloane Stephens vs. Anastasija Sevastova, US OPEN QF Preview

🇺🇸🗽 US OPEN: QF Preview
🇺🇸 (3) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇱🇻 (19) Anastasija Sevastova

Sloane Stephens and Anastasija Sevastova will go head-to-head for a spot in the US Open semi-finals. This is a rematch of last year’s epic quarter-final match that ended in a final set tiebreak, Stephens won that match on route to winning the title. Sevastova will be keen for revenge on Tuesday but it won’t be easy to come by given Stephens is arguably the top player left in the draw. Is this where Sloane’s title defense ends?

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

Sloane Stephens now looks a legitimate chance to successfully defend her title at Flushing Meadows. Sloane has been extremely impressive on route to the quarter-final stage. Sloane made a scratchy start to the tournament, beating Evgeniya Rodina in 2 sets and surviving a real scare in a 3 set win over
Anhelina Kalinina. Stephens has really raised her level in the last couple of matches with a 6-3 6-4 win over Victoria Azarenka and 6-3 6-3 win over Elise Mertens. The level Sloane has produced in the last couple of matches Is the type of tennis that saw her win the title 12 months ago.

Anastasija Sevastova is through to the quarter-finals in New York for the third year in a row, an outstanding achievement given Sevastova has not reached the final 8 at any other Grand Slam event. Sevastova has had several topsy-turvy victories on route to the final 8. Sevastova started her campaign with a 3 set win over Donna Vekic, a straight set win over Claire Liu and a 3 set win over Ekaterina Makarova. Sevastova’s most impressive performance came at the fourth round stage, a 6-3 1-6 6-0 win over Elina Svitolina, the Latvian’s best tennis in that match was outstanding, touch and precision that few could replicate.

Stephens holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Sevastova. All 3 of their previous meetings were in the last 12 months, starting with Sloane’s epic 6-3 3-6 7-6 victory at the quarter-final stage of the US Open last year. Sevastova beat Stephens in straight sets a few months later in Zhuhai. Their most recent match was in Montreal last month, Stephens won 6-2 6-2.

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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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Eugenie Bouchard vs. Harmony Tan, US Open R1 Preview

🇺🇸🗽 US OPEN: R1 Preview
🇨🇦 (Q) Eugenie Bouchard vs. 🇫🇷 (wc) Harmony Tan

Eugenie Bouchard is one of the form qualifiers to reach the main draw at Flushing Meadows. The Canadian steamrolled her way through the qualifying draw and will be a heavy favourite when she opens her main draw campaign on Tuesday against French wild card Harmony Tan. On paper this is a huge mismatch, a former Grand Slam finalist up against a Grand Slam main draw debutant.

Eugenie Bouchard of Canada in action during the first qualification round at the 2018 US Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Eugenie Bouchard cruised through the qualifying draw in New York. All eyes were on Bouchard, waiting for another potential slip up, but the Canadian made no such mistake. Bouchard easily defeated Zhao, Gorgodze and Loeb, losing a combined 7 games throughout the 3 victories. Bouchard has a complicated relationship with the US Open given her former lengthy legal battle against the USTA dating back to an incident in 2016. Bouchard has lost at the opening round stage in New York in the last couple of years but she now has a great chance to break that trend against a very inexperienced opponent.

Harmony Tan will be competing in the main draw of the Grand Slam, the Frenchwoman won the right to compete in the draw at a French regional playoff in July where she won a wild card entry into the main draw in New York. Not only is this Tan’s first main draw appearance at a Grand Slam, it is her first appearance in the main draw at the WTA tour level. This is a huge opportunity for the Frenchwoman.

This will be the first career meeting between the pair.

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Jelena Ostapenko vs. Andrea Petkovic, US Open R1 Preview

🇺🇸🗽 US OPEN: R1 Preview
🇱🇻 (10) Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇩🇪 Andrea Petkovic

Jelena Ostapenko will begin her 2018 Flushing Meadows campaign on Tuesday with a potentially tricky first round clash against Germany’s Andrea Petkovic. Ostapenko has shown over the last few seasons that she is always dangerous at Grand Slam events, the 2017 Roland Garros champion will be particularly keen for a good run in New York given it has historically been her least successful Grand Slam event.

Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in action during her first-round match at the 2018 Western & Southern Open WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Ostapenko was unable to win a match in her 2 lead-up events to the final Grand Slam of the year. The Latvian suffered first-up losses to Johanna Konta in Montreal and Alize Cornet in Cincinnati, both losses were in similar fashion, winning the opening set before crumbling as the match wore on. Prior to those losses Ostapenko did reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon, her best result of the season thus far. Ostapenko has generally performed well at the biggest events over the last few years so she will bring confidence into this event despite her recent losses.

Unlike Ostapenko, Petkovic has really struggled at the Grand Slam level over the last few years, Petkovic has won 5 matches in her last 7 Grand Slam main draw appearances. Petkovic’s U.S Open series campaign got off to a good start when she reached the semi-finals in Washington D.C but the last couple of weeks have not been so impressive. Petkovic failed to get through the qualifying draw in Cincinnati and New Haven, retiring injured in the later.

It was Ostapenko who won the only previous match between the pair, a 7-5 1-0 victory via retirement at the semi-final stage in Doha back in 2016. The pair have gone in completely different direction over the past few years, Ostapenko has solidified her spot in the top 10 whilst Petkovic has consistently slipped outside the top 50.

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