Australian Open R1: (32) Caroline Garcia vs Barbora Strycova
The most intriguing first round clash on Tuesday at the Australian Open sees Caroline Garcia come up against Barbora Strycova. This is a very tough first round match for both ladies, Strycova is certainly one of the most dangerous unseeded players and is the type of opponent that Caroline Garcia has struggled against in the past, the Czech has won the two most recent matches between the pair.
Caroline Garcia’s preparation for the first Grand Slam of the year has been great. The Frenchwoman started the season by winning all three of her singles matches at the Hopman Cup, recording victories over Sabine Lisicki, Heather Watson and Daria Gavrilova. Garcia then went on to have a good week in Sydney, recording a solid straight set victory over Kristina Mladenovic before succumbing to Simona Halep in three sets. Garcia also reached the final of the doubles in Sydney alongside Kristina Mladenovic where the pair unfortunately squandered a winning position to lose to Hingis and Mirza.
Barbora Strycova’s preparation for the Australian Open has been far less ideal. Strycova suffered a disappointing second round to Julia Goerges in Auckland and was unable to make up for it in Hobart where she was beaten by Johanna Larsson in straight sets in the first round. Strycova’s ranking continues to steadily drop and it will drop even further if she is unable to navigate her way through a tough opening round fixture.
Barbora Strycova holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Garcia. The Czech has won the two most recent clashes between pair, including a 7-5 6-2 victory at New Haven in 2014 in their most recent match. Caroline Garcia has improved drastically since their last meeting whilst Strycova’s form has dipped. Garcia will enter this clash with all the momentum and will know that she has the game to hurt Strycova if she remains patient. Garcia clearly has more firepower but Strycova will mix things up and try to make things awkward for Garcia. The Frenchwoman has impressed me lately and I think she is ready for a big week starting with a victory here.