Dubai R2: (3) Carla Suarez Navarro vs Caroline Garcia
An intriguing second round clash at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships sees Carla Suarez Navarro come up against Caroline Garcia. This is a fascinating match-up because of the extreme contrast in styles and because it will be the first ever clash between the pair. Suarez Navarro has made a good start to the season and says she feels comfortable in Dubai but after receiving a bye into the second round this will be a tough opening to the tournament for the Spaniard.
Carla Suarez Navarro made a great start to the season, reaching the semi-final stage in Brisbane and more importantly the quarter-final stage at the Australian Open. Carla has recorded a number of typically gutsy victories over three sets in 2016, including a memorable fourth round win over Daria Gavrilova in Melbourne where Carla recovered from a losing the first set without winning a game. Carla also enjoyed some success in the Fed Cup last weekend, helping guide Spain to victory over Serbia with a straight set win over Jelena Jankovic. Carla will be full of confidence heading into this event, the Spaniard has had a good amount of time to practise and enjoys the Dubai conditions.
Caroline Garcia has had mixed results at the start of 2016, the Frenchwoman built good momentum in the lead up to the Australian Open but suffered a disappointing first round loss to Barbora Strycova in Melbourne. Garcia recovered well at the Fed Cup last weekend, recording two critical victories over Sara Errani and Camila Giorgi to guide France to victory over Italy. Garcia got off to a great start in Dubai, Garcia produced a steady performance to defeat Anna Schmiedlova 6-4 6-1 and will look to her match against Carla is big opportunity.
This is a fascinating match because it will be the first career meeting between Carla Suarez Navarro and Caroline Garcia. This is one of those match-ups that features a pretty extreme contrast in styles, the powerful, flamboyant Garcia up against the solid, steady Suarez Navarro. On this occasion I’m going to side with the Spaniard. Carla has been impressive so far this year, Carla is clearly the more consistent player and I think the conditions in Dubai will actually help Carla in this match-up. This is likely to be a close match with Carla eventually wearing down her opponent.