Veronica Cepede Royg vs Belinda Bencic, Acapulco R1 Preview

Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, ??? Acapulco R1 Preview
?? Veronica Cepede Royg vs ?? Belinda Bencic

Belinda Bencic will begin her 2018 Abierto Mexicano campaign on Monday with an opening round clash against Paraguay’s Veronica Cepede Royg. This will be the first career meeting between Cepede Royg and Bencic. It is Bencic who heads into this match as a strong favourite but Cepede Royg is rarely a pushover, can the Paraguayan cause an opening round upset in Acapulco?

Belinda Bencic started the season in great form. Bencic didn’t really have an off-season, instead she competed at a number of ITF and WTA 125K events where she won 3 titles in a row. However, the transition to success at the higher level has not been immediate. Bencic suffered a big setback when she was beaten in the second round at the Australian Open by Lesia Kumkhum. More recently, Bencic suffered consecutive straight set losses in Switzerland’s unsuccessful Fed Cup tie with the Czech Republic. Bencic was beaten by Barbora Strycova and Petra Kvitova. It will be interesting to see what level Bencic will bring to Acapulco.

Veronica Cepede Royg was the hero for Paraguay as she guided the Paraguayan Fed Cup team into the world group 2 playoffs with a critical epic 3 set win over Beatriz Haddad Maia. Cepede Royg has improved her tennis on hard courts in recent times, she is certainly a more aggressive player than in the past and is willing to step up into the court more often, something she will need to do against Bencic.

It will be interesting to see how competitive Cepede Royg can be in the first career meeting between the pair.

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Beatriz Haddad Maia vs Heather Watson, Acapulco R1 Preview

Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, ??? Acapulco R1 Preview
?? Beatriz Haddad Maia vs ?? Heather Watson

Beatriz Haddad Maia and Heather Watson will go head-to-head for the first time when they meet at the opening round stage in Acapulco. Both players will see this as a winnable opening round clash at the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, an important match for both.

Beatriz Haddad Maia is a player on the rise, perhaps the most exciting prospect in Brazilian tennis right now. The 21-year-old has had a tough start to the season, Haddad Maia has been dealt tough draws at each event she has competed in which has ensured an early exit at each event. Most recently, Haddad Maia came agonizingly close to helping guide Brazil into the Fed Cup world group 2 playoffs, Haddad Maia won her first couple of matches before falling to Cepede Royg in a third set tiebreak which ended Brazil’s chances of progression. It will be interesting to see how Haddad Maia rebounds after such a devastating loss.

Heather Watson’s most recent matches were also in Fed Group 1 playoffs. Watson won all 3 of her singles matches against much lower ranked opponents as Great Britain successfully qualified for the world group 2 playoffs. Watson’s last tour level match was at the Australian Open over a month ago where she suffered a very disappointing straight set loss to Yulia Putintseva. Watson did manage to reach the semi-finals in Hobart earlier in the year, so overall she has won a decent match of matches in 2018, albeit against inferior opposition.

This should be an interesting match-up between two contrasting styles. The powerful left-handed: Haddad Maia, against the consistent, baseline game of Heather Watson.

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Lesia Tsurenko vs Lauren Davis, Acapulco R1 Preview

Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, ??? Acapulco R1 Preview
?? (7) Lesia Tsurenko vs ?? Lauren Davis

Lesia Tsurenko will begin her Acapulco title defense with a tough opening round clash against America’s Lauren Davis. Tsurenko has made a mediocre start to the season and will hope to ignite her 2018 campaign in Acapulco where she played so well 12 months ago. Lauren Davis will be in action for the first time since her epic 3 set loss at the hands of Simona Halep at the Australian Open. This will be the first career meeting between the pair.

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Lesia Tsurenko has a had a few good victories in 2018 but the Ukrainian has not been as consistent as she would have liked. Tsurenko arrives in Acapulco fresh off a decent week in Dubai. Tsurenko won 3 matches to advance through a tough qualifying draw in Dubai before succumbing to Sara Errani in the opening round. A vast majority of Tsurenko’s ranking points are to be defended this week, the pressure is on the 2017 Acapulco champion.

Lauren Davis showed just what she is capable of in epic third round clash at the Australian Open about a month ago, a match that ended 15-13 in the third set. Davis had match points in that match to beat the then world number 1, although she could not get over the line, it was still an impressive performance from Davis, one that should give the American confidence moving forward. Davis has not played a competitive match since the Australian Open but was in the squad for the USA’s 3-0 win over the Netherlands where she got value practise time with the Williams sisters.

It will be interesting to see how the first matchup between these two pans out.

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Daria Gavrilova vs Madison Brengle, Acapulco R1 Preview

Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, ??? Acapulco R1 Preview
?? (3/wc) Daria Gavrilova vs ?? Madison Brengle

Daria Gavrilova has been granted a late wild card into the 2018 Abierto Mexicano TELCEL as she attempts to find a much needed form reversal heading into a couple of big events in Indian Wells and Miami. Gavrilova will begin her Acapulco campaign against America’s Madison Brengle.

Gavrilova had a fairly disappointing Australian summer, beaten in the second round at the Australian Open and more recently having horror weekend in Fed Cup action. Gavrilova was beaten by 16-year-old Marta Kostyuk and the unraked Nadiia Kichenok on grass in Australia’s 3-2 Fed Cup win over the Ukraine. Gavrilova is clearly not feeling very confident on court at the moment, the Australian has had the yips on serve, a big issue she will need to rectify.

Madison Brengle arrives in Acapulco with confidence after winning the ITF Midland title a few weeks ago. Brengle did not drop a set on route to the title and beat decent opposition such as Mihaela Buzarnescu. It was an important week for Brengle to build confidence after being dealt a horror draw at the Australian Open, suffering an opening round loss to Johanna Konta.

The only previous match between the pair took place at an ITF event in 2014, Brengle won that match in 3 sets.

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Irina-Camelia Begu vs Christina McHale, Acapulco R1 Preview

Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, ??? Acapulco R1 Preview
?? (5) Irina-Camelia Begu vs ?? Christina McHale

The 5th seeded Irina Camelia Begu begins her 2018 Acapulco campaign with an opening round clash against 2017 semi-finalist Christina McHale. Begu and McHale both arrives in Acapulco with fairly unspectacular form, the American has been particularly disappointing of late. McHale will hope a return to Acapulco will help inspire a form reversal.

Irina-Camelia Begu has had a couple of good results in 2018, most notably her run to the semi-finals in Shenzhen to start the year. Begu has suffered early exits at her last couple of tournaments, beaten by Petra Kvitova in the second round in St. Petersburg and an opening round loss in Doha where she was beaten by Sam Stosur.

Christina McHale has lost 8 of her last 10 matches at the WTA tour level and has not won a tour level main draw match since Tianjin last year. McHale failed to get through the qualifying draw in Doha and Dubai over the last couple of weeks, stumbling at the second round hurdle on both occasions. McHale’s results have been bitterly disappointing given what she has shown she is capable of. The good news for McHale is that she has reached the semi-finals in Acapulco in her last two visits to the event.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. It was Begu who won the most recent match between the pair, a 6-7 6-4 6-4 victory in Madrid in 2016.

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Sloane Stephens vs Pauline Parmentier, Acapulco R1 Preview

Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, ??? Acapulco R1 Preview
?? (1) Sloane Stephens vs ?? Pauline Parmentier

2016 Abierto Mexicano champion Sloane Stephens begins her 2018 Acapulco campaign against Pauline Parmentier. Incredibly, Stephens has not won a match since her U.S Open triumph almost 6 months ago. This opening round clash in Acapulco is seemingly a great opportunity for Stephens to end her 6-match losing streak since becoming a Grand Slam champion, will she make the most of this opportunity?

Stephens has not played since her opening round defeat at the Australian Open over a month ago, it will be interesting to see what type of level the American can bring to Acapulco. Stephens will be competing at the event for the first time since her triumph at the event in 2016, where she beat Dominika Cibulkova in an epic final. Perhaps a return to Acapulco will allow Stephens to rediscover some confidence and better form.

Pauline Parmentier has also struggled in 2018. The Frenchwoman has a poor 1-5 win/loss record. Parmentier was in action last week in Budapest where she was beaten in the opening round by Sabine Lisicki in straight sets.

The head-to-head record between these two is split at 1 win apiece. Stephens won the only previous match between the pair on a hard court, a 3 set win in Miami in 2012 whilst more recently, Parmentier beat Stephens in 3 sets on clay in Strasbourg.

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Christina McHale vs Monica Puig, Acapulco QF Preview

Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, ??? Acapulco QF Preview
(5) ?? Christina McHale vs (4) ?? Monica Puig

Christina McHale and Monica Puig will surprisingly go head-to-head for the very first time at the WTA tour level when they face off at the quarter-final stage of the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL in Acapulco on Friday. This promises to be an intriguing match-up between two very competent baseliners. Both McHale and Puig are starting to build some strong positive moment over the last couple of weeks, this is big match both ladies, both big title contenders this week in Acapulco if they can get through this match.

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Kristina Mladenovic vs Heather Watson, Acapulco R2 Preview

Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, ??? Acapulco R2 Preview
(2) Kristina Mladenovic vs Heather Watson

An interesting second round clash at the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL on Wednesday sees the second seeded Kristina Mladenovic come up against Heather Watson. Mladenovic is playing good tennis in recent weeks, most notably at the premier level event in St. Petersburg where the Frenchwoman claimed her first career title. Watson is not in such great form having only won 5 of her last 7 matches. Nevertheless, matches between Mladenovic and Watson are usually close and I suspect this one will be no different…

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Eugenie Bouchard vs Ajla Tomljanovic, Acapulco R1 Preview

Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, ??? Acapulco R1 Preview
(6) ?? Eugenie Bouchard to defeat ?? Ajla Tomljanovic

Ajla Tomljanovic will make her long-awaited return to competitive action on Tuesday when she takes on the sixth seeded Eugenie Bouchard in the opening round in Acapulco. Tomljanovic has not played a competitive match in over a year due to a shoulder injury. It is likely to be a tough return for Tomljanovic, but winning or losing will not be her main concern here, just getting through the match without pain would be a win for the talented Australian. Whilst, it is essential that Bouchard claim a victory here.

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Mirjana Lucic-Baroni vs Belinda Bencic, Acapulco R1 Preview

Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, ??? Acapulco R1 Preview
(1) ?? Mirjana Lucic-Baroni vs ?? Belinda Bencic

Mirjana Lucic-Baroni will be in unfamiliar territory as she enters the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL as the top seed. Lucic-Baroni will be in action for the first time since her extraordinary run to the semi-finals at the Australian Open in January. The 34-year-old may be the top seed but she will be the underdog heading into her first round match where she faces Belinda Bencic, Bencic is on a 6 match losing streak at WTA tour events and will be desperate to reverse that trend in Acapulco.

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