Angelique Kerber vs Monica Puig, Dubai R3 Preview

?? Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, R3 Preview:
?? (1) Angelique Kerber vs ?? Monica Puig

Angelique Kerber and Monica Puig will do battle for the first time since their Gold medal match at the Rio Olympics last year. Monica Puig famously overcame the German in the final to claim the biggest win of her career and won the first Olympic Gold medal for Puerto Rico. Puig has failed to fire since her Rio heroics whilst Kerber has started 2017 in a slump, this is a vital match for both ladies and could have a big impact moving forward.

Angelique Kerber arrived in Dubai with a modest 4-4 win/loss record in 2017 after a first up defeat at the hands of Daria Kasatkina in Doha last week. The world number 2 revealed that she was not 100 percent last week and is in better shape to perform at her best in Dubai this week. Kerber started her Dubai campaign with a solid performance, beating Mona Barthel 6-4 6-3 and playing some of her best tennis of the season in the process.

Monica Puig started the year off poorly in Australia, much more is expected of Puig in 2017 after her Gold medal performance in Rio. Puig showed signs of improvement in Doha last week where she reached the semi-final stage and has won a couple of tough matches in Dubai this week. Puig has come past Yaroslava Shvedova and Caroline Garcia, both in three sets to reach the third round stage in Dubai. On both occasions, Puig won the first set before being pushed to a decider, in both matches Puig was able to fight off break points early in the third before breaking and holding onto the lead.

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Angelique Kerber holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Puig, Of course Puig won their most recent match at the Rio Olympics last year, a 6-4 4-6 6-1 victory, the biggest win of her career. Kerber will head into this match with a point to prove and desperate to avenge her devastating loss to Puig in the Olympic final. Puig was on fire in that match and in this type of match-up she needs to be near her best. The surface in Dubai is much quicker than Rio and will suit Kerber as she can rush Puig and force more errors, I suspect Kerber will be too solid on this occasion.

Prediction: Angelique Kerber to defeat Monica Puig in 2 sets

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