(1) Serena Williams vs Samantha Stosur
Defending champion Serena Williams begins her title defence at the Rogers Cup on Wednesday evening where she will take on Samantha Stosur for a spot in the third round. After a disappointing couple of months, Serena returned to the winner’s circle at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford last week. Serena overcame a slow start to rocket past Angelique Kerber to claim her fourth title of the season. Conversely, Sam Stosur suffered one of the worst loses of her career last week in Stanford. Stosur was stunned by 16-year-old Naomi Osaka in her opening round match, going down in three sets. Stosur has quickly turned things around with a solid win in her opening round match in Stanford, comprehensibly defeating Monica Puig in straight sets.
Stosur is one of very few that have a reasonable head to head record against the current world number 1. Stosur has defeated Serena on three occasions, most famously in the final of 2011 U.S Open. Since then the two have gone in completely different directions, Serena has dominated the tour whilst Sam Stosur has gradually slipped down the rankings. Serena has won the last two meetings between the two, both in straight sets and will be the raging favourite heading into this match. Despite winning the title in Stanford, Serena still seemed quite vulnerable at certain points in all of her matches. If Stosur turns up and puts in a peak performance she certainly has the weapons to trouble the world number 1. However Serena will be wary of the potential banana skin and will certainly be up for the fight.
Prediction: Serena Williams to defeat Samantha Stosur in straight sets
Venus Williams vs (Q) Yulia Putintseva
Yulia Putintseva claimed her first ever top 30 scalp on Monday when she defeated Flavia Pennetta in straight sets. Despite clearly having potential, Yulia has struggled to break back into the top 100. Another win or two at the Rogers Cup will certainly help her in achieving this. On Wednesday the Kazakh comes up against Venus Williams for a spot in the third round. Venus Williams progressed through to the second round with a come from behind victory over Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Venus came out looking sluggish just like she did in her quarter-final match against Andrea Petkovic last week in Stanford.
Yulia seems to thrive on the big stage. She certainly wont be intimidated by the situation despite this arguably being one of the biggest matches of her career. Yulia is a good returner and a greater mover with the ability to really mix up her shots. Her biggest problem in this match will be her serve. If she gives Venus a look at her second serve too often, she will seriously struggle to hold serve. It feels like a really flat performance is just around the corner for Venus given her recent slow starts. I think Yulia is ready for a breakthrough week in Montreal.
Perdition: Yulia Putintseva to defeat Venus Williams in three sets
(7) Jelena Jankovic vs Sloane Stephens
Jelena Jankovic returns to court for the first time since her opening round loss at Wimbledon. After receiving a bye into the second round, Jelana faces Sloane Stephens for a spot in the third round in Montreal. Sloane Stephens cruised through her opening round match on Monday, comprehensively defeating local hopeful Aleksandra Wozniak 6-3 6-0.
These two match up extremely evenly; the score in their only previous meeting reflects this. Jelena came from a set down to edge past Sloane 3-6 7-5 7-5 in Cincinnati last year. We can expect to see some long, testing rallies between these two but ultimately the winner of this match will be the one who steps up and plays aggressive (without hitting too many errors, of course). I expect Jelena to be a little rusty given this is her first match in over a month. For this reason and I think it will be Sloane Stephens who steps up and takes control of the match.
Prediction: Sloane Stephens to defeat Jelana Jankovic in straight sets
(2) Petra Kvitova vs Casey Dellacqua
In her first match since claiming her second Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, Petra Kvitova faces fellow leftie Casey Dellacqua in the second round at the Rogers Cup in Montreal. The last time the Rogers Cup was played in Montreal, it was Kvitova who claimed the title back in 2012. Inconsistency has been Petra’s biggest problem over the years; she will be desperate to avoid an early exit here after her recent success at Wimbledon. Casey advanced to the second round with an erratic three set victory over Kirsten Flipkens on Tuesday. Dellacqua is having a great season; she will certainly be no pushover on Wednesday night.
Surprisingly, this will be the first career meeting between the two. Petra really should have too much firepower for the Australian. However there is a chance Petra will be slightly rusty in her first match since Wimbledon, Casey could cause Petra some problems. I wouldn't be surprised to see Casey win a set but I cant see her winning the match.
Prediction: (2) Petra Kvitova to defeat Casey Dellacqua in three sets
other Match Predictions:
(9) Ana Ivanovic to defeat Coco Vandeweghe in straight sets
(10) Dominika Cibulkova to defeat Heather Watson in straight sets
(6) Angelique Kerber to defeat Caroline Garcia in three sets
Elena Vesnina to defeat Ekaterina Makarova in three sets
Karolina Pliskova to defeat (14) Carla Suarez Navarro in straight sets
(4) Maria Sharapova to defeat Garbine Muguruza in straight sets
(11) Caroline Wozniacki to defeat Klara Koukalova in three sets
Madison Keys to defeat Sabine Lisicki in three sets
(15) Lucie Safarova to defeat Magdalena Rybarikova in three sets