(1) Serena Williams vs (13) Lucie Safarova
After surviving a gigantic scare in the opening round, Serena has safely progressed to the third round where she will face Lucie Safarova in what promises to be an interesting encounter.
In Serena’s opening round match she remarkably found herself trailing Soler Silvia Espinosa 0-5 15-40 in the opening set. Like only Serena can, the world number 1 went on to win seven straight games to take the opening set 7-5. Serena was untroubled in the second set, cruising to a 7-5 6-2 victory. Serena’s second round victory over Tsventana Pironkova was far more straightforward, the American claimed a dominant 6-2 6-3 victory.
After falling ill in Wuhan, Lucie Safarova has rebounded strongly at the China Open this week. In the opening round Lucie overcame the always dangerous Camila Giorgi in two tight sets 7-6 6-4. Giorgi found herself ahead in both sets and looked to be in control of the match in the opening set when she raced away to a 3-0 lead, Giorgi served for the set at 5-3. Safarova managed to work her way into the match just in time, taking the first set in a tiebreaker. In the second round Lucie overcame another potentially tricky opponent, defeating Mona Barthel 6-3 6-3. The key to this match was the extreme contrast in break point conversion rates, Lucie saved 10 out of 10 break points whilst converting all three of her own break points chances.
Serena has an absolutely dominant head to head record over Lucie; Serena has won all eight of their previous encounters. Their three most recent encounters have been straight set victories for the world number 1, however Lucie did challenge Serena in Montreal about a month ago. In the opening round Serena showed once again that she is still quite vulnerable whilst a confident Lucie Safarova is playing well at the moment, perhaps this is Lucie’s best chance to finally defeat the world number 1?
Prediction: Serena Williams to defeat Lucie Safarova in 3 sets