Jelena Ostapenko vs. Andrea Petkovic, US Open R1 Preview

??? US OPEN: R1 Preview
?? (10) Jelena Ostapenko vs. ?? Andrea Petkovic

Jelena Ostapenko will begin her 2018 Flushing Meadows campaign on Tuesday with a potentially tricky first round clash against Germany’s Andrea Petkovic. Ostapenko has shown over the last few seasons that she is always dangerous at Grand Slam events, the 2017 Roland Garros champion will be particularly keen for a good run in New York given it has historically been her least successful Grand Slam event.

Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in action during her first-round match at the 2018 Western & Southern Open WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Ostapenko was unable to win a match in her 2 lead-up events to the final Grand Slam of the year. The Latvian suffered first-up losses to Johanna Konta in Montreal and Alize Cornet in Cincinnati, both losses were in similar fashion, winning the opening set before crumbling as the match wore on. Prior to those losses Ostapenko did reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon, her best result of the season thus far. Ostapenko has generally performed well at the biggest events over the last few years so she will bring confidence into this event despite her recent losses.

Unlike Ostapenko, Petkovic has really struggled at the Grand Slam level over the last few years, Petkovic has won 5 matches in her last 7 Grand Slam main draw appearances. Petkovic’s U.S Open series campaign got off to a good start when she reached the semi-finals in Washington D.C but the last couple of weeks have not been so impressive. Petkovic failed to get through the qualifying draw in Cincinnati and New Haven, retiring injured in the later.

It was Ostapenko who won the only previous match between the pair, a 7-5 1-0 victory via retirement at the semi-final stage in Doha back in 2016. The pair have gone in completely different direction over the past few years, Ostapenko has solidified her spot in the top 10 whilst Petkovic has consistently slipped outside the top 50.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Angelique Kerber vs Andrea Petkovic, Indian Wells R2 Preview

BNP Paribas Open, ??? Indian Wells, R2 Match Preview
(2) ?? Angelique Kerber vs ?? Andrea Petkovic

Angelique Kerber will begin her BNP Paribas Open campaign against compatriot and good friend Andrea Petkovic on Saturday. The German will return to the world number 1 position at the end of the tournament no matter what happens after Serena Williams was a late withdrawal from the event. Now that Kerber has been handed back the number 1 ranking, it will be interesting to see if her results will improve as if feel like there is suddenly less pressure on her shoulders.

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Caroline Garcia vs Andrea Petkovic, Dubai QF Preview

Dubai QF: Caroline Garcia vs Andrea Petkovic

Thursday’s first quarter-final at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships sees Caroline Garcia take on Andrea Petkovic. This is a huge match for both players who will looking to reach the semi-finals of an event for the first time in 2016. Garcia and Petkovic have both shown good form in Dubai and are quite evenly matched, this should be a highly competitive match to start the day.

Caroline Garcia booked her spot in her first quarter-final of the year courtesy of a 4-6 6-4 6-3 victory over Carla Suarez Navarro. Garcia trailed for the majority of the match and was extremely close to suffering a straight set loss when Carla had game points to take a 5-3 lead in the second set. However, Garcia got better and better as the match went on. The Frenchwoman played smart tennis, hitting the ball hard but with good margin and wasn’t afraid to stay with Carla in long baseline exchanges. Garcia’s patient attitude was ultimately rewarded with an important victory.

 

Andrea Petkovic has breezed through her opening matches in Dubai. The German recorded a crushing 6-2 6-1 victory over a wayward Camila Giorgi in the first round before ousting Jelena Jankovic with a surprisingly easy 6-3 6-2 win. Petkovic will be looking to win three consecutive matches for the first time since Charleston last year and will fancy her chances against an opponent she has never lost to.

Andrea Petkovic has won both of the previous encounters between the pair, both in 2015. Firstly, a 6-2 6-4 win in Eastbourne followed by a 3-6 6-4 7-5 win at the U.S Open. Despite the head-to-head record I’m going to side with Garcia in this match. Garcia is on a four match winning streak and has generally impressed me in the new year. I think Garcia’s attitude as well as her game has really improved and she should be good enough to record her first career win over Petkovic.

Prediction: Caroline Garcia to defeat Andrea Petkovic in 3 sets


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Dubai DFTC Day 3 Recap

Day 3 at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships was one of the most bizarre days in terms of results we have seen all year on the WTA tour. Almost every single match ended with the underdog emerging victorious. Heading into the quarter-finals there are no seeded players left in the draw, in fact no seeded player won a match this week. The draw is now wide open for any of the remaining 8 players to become an unlikely champion this week in Dubai. After days like this the dedication of the top players has to be questioned as players such as Garbine Muguruza produced a ridiculously poor level of tennis.

 

The day started with 2 strange matches. Both Barbora Strycova and Caroline Garcia came back from a set and a break down to record what seemed like an unlikely victory. Barbora Strycova trailed Julia Goerges by a set and 0-3 before winning 12 of the next 13 games to book her spot in the quarter-finals. Goerges was seemingly cursing to victory playing unbelievably well before suddenly collapsing as Strycova raised her level of play. Strycova was actually in tears after the first set and seemed like she little or no fight left in her which made her stunning end to the match all the more surprising.

Caroline Garcia pulled a similar trick, coming from a set and 4-2 down to advance to the final 8 with a 4-6 6-4 6-3 victory. Suarez Navarro had multiple game points to take a 5-3 lead in the second set but was typically shaky when the pressure was on and committed far too many unforced errors. A rain delay halted proceedings with Garcia serving for the match at 5-3 in the deciding set, Garcia did well to close out the match when play resumed after an awkward wait. It was a good win for Garcia who was not at her best for most of the match but never stopped fighting and was ultimately rewarded for her efforts.

 

When play resumed after a lengthy rain delay the upsets continued. Andrea Petkovic recorded a surprisingly comfortable 6-3 6-2 victory over Jelena Jankovic whilst Sara Errani thumped a hopelessly disappointing Yaroslava Shvedova 6-3 6-0. The Kazakh was a shadow of her best, and a shadow of the player that smashed Errani at Wimbledon in their previous meetings. Shvedova hit far too many reckless unforced errors and pretty much handed Errani a place in the next. Credit to Errani, she was there to take advantage of her opponent’s poor performance.

Sara Errani will face Madison Brengle in the quarter-finals after the American produced yet another upset win by defeating Petra Kvitova 0-6 7-6 6-3. It was a gutsy victory by Brengle considering she was totally outplayed in the opening set. The American also trailed by a break in the deciding set before rallying to win the final 5 games of the match. It was a horrific loss for Kvitova as her season goes from bad to worse. Garbine Muguruza’s season has also gone from bad to worse, the Spaniard hit a whopping 68 unforced errors in straight set loss to Elina Svitolina. Muguruza didn’t seem to interested in the match and couldn’t have played much worse. Svitolina finished the match with 8 winners and 28 unforced errors but that was good enough to get he win on the night. 

 

Day 3 also saw the defending champion dumped from the event in her opening match of the week. The top seeded Simona Halep was ousted by Ana Ivanovic who recorded a 7-6 6-2 victory over the Romanian. Halep has ahead for almost the entire first set and served for the set at 5-4 where she squandered a set point before eventually being totally outplayed in the tiebreak. Simona offered very little resistance in the second set as Ivanovic ran away with the match and continued her resurgence after a poor start to the year. CoCo Vandeweghe was also victorious on day 3, winning a topsy-turvy three match against Kristina Mladenovic.

With no seeded player left in the day heading into the quarter-finals every player left in the draw should feel as though they have a legitimate chance to win the title. It will be interesting to see who is able to make the most of this rare opportunity.


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Dubai DFTC Day 1 Recap

Day 1 at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships was dominated by upsets (as is so often the case with a WTA event). A pair of American’s recorded impressive, surprise victories: CoCo Vandeweghe defeated 2015 runner-up Karolina Pliskova whilst Madison Brengle defeated 2015 semi-finalist Ekaterina Makarova. Julia Goerges recorded a dominant victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova whilst Andrea Petkovic recorded a much needed win over Camila Giorgi.

 

The day started with a huge upset, Madison Brengle recorded one of the biggest victories of her career, defeating an erratic Ekaterina Makarova 6-4 7-5. Brengle showed great resilience throughout the match, coming from behind in each set courtesy of dogged defense. Brengle’s reward is a second round clash with 2013 champion Petra Kvitova. Fellow American CoCo Vandeweghe also recorded a significant win, defeating Karolina Pliskova 7-6 6-1. It was the American’s first singles victory of 2016. Vandeweghe won a tight opening set which featured no breaks of serve before running away with the match in the second set.

A pair of German’s made brilliant starts to their Dubai campaign on Monday. Andrea Petkovic thrashed Camila Giorgi 6-2 6-1 whilst Julia Goerges produced a superb performance to defeat Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-0 6-1. Goerges blasted 28 winners past the Russian, it was the worst loss inflicted on the Russian in her 13-year career. The challenge for both Petkovic and Goerges will be to bring their great form into the next round, both have struggled to be consistent in recent times.

 

On a day of upsets there was some stability, Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia both got off to a positive start in Dubai. Mladenovic overcame Lesia Tsurenko with a 6-2 7-6 win whilst Caroline Garcia defeated Anna Schmiedlova 6-4 6-1. Kristina Mladenovic will face CoCo Vandeweghe in the second round, Caroline Garcia will face Carla Suarez Navarro for a place in the quarter-finals.

The qualifying draw was also finalised on Monday with Tsvetana Pironkova, Yaroslava Shvedova, Jana Cepelova and Saisai Zheng all winning their way into the main draw. A strong group of qualifiers, it wouldn’t be surprising to see one or more of them progress through the first round in Dubai.


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Andrea Petkovic vs Samantha Crawford, Brisbane QF Preview

Brisbane QF: Andrea Petkovic vs (Q) Samantha Crawford

A surprise quarter-final match-up at the Brisbane International sees Andrea Petkovic come up against American qualifier Samantha Crawford in the only quarter-final match to feature two unseeded players. This is a big opportunity for both ladies to reach the semi-final stage of a premier event and gain valuable ranking points at this early stage of the season.

 

Andrea Petkovic had a difficult ending to her 2015 season, admitting that she had lost her love for the game of tennis. The German recaptured her love for the sport and her will to fight during the offseason and as a result she has made a positive start to the new season. Andrea kick-started her campaign with a commanding 6-1 6-2 victory over Teliana Pereira. In the second round Andrea battled past Ekaterina Makarova to record an impressive 7-5 6-4 win, a solid confidence boosting victory at this early stage of the season.

Samantha Crawford is having the best week of her young career in Brisbane. The American picked up a couple of solid victories as she progressed through the qualifying draw, including victories over Tsvetana Pironkova and Oceane Dodin. The American’s biggest win of the week and her whole career came in the second round of the main draw where she upset Belinda Bencic with a 7-5 7-5 victory. The American dominated play and served exceptionally well to cause a major upset.

This will be the first career meeting between Petkovic and Crawford. This is a big occasion for both ladies, both will feel that this is a very winnable match. I expect this to be a really close match, ultimately the experienced German should be too strong when it matters most.

Prediction: Andrea Petkovic to defeat Samantha Crawford in 3 sets

WTA Elite Trophy, Zhuhai Day 2 Match Previews & Predictions

Zhuhai Day 2 Match Previews & Predictions

The inaugural Huajin Securities WTA Elite Trophy commenced on Monday in Zhuhai. It looks like the controversial tournament will be much better than expected. The opening day was a major success with 3 entertaining, hard-fought matches in front of a large crowd. Venus Williams, Jelena Jankovic and Elina Svitolina all recorded victories.  Play will continue on Wednesday with 3 more group stage matches.

 

Group D: (4) Roberta Vinci vs (11) Svetlana Kuznetsova

The first match from Group D will kick-start proceedings on Wednesday, U.S Open finalist Roberta Vinci will come up against Moscow champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. Both veterans of the tour have ended the season on a high and are showing no signs of letting up.

Kuznetsova arrives on Zhuhai on a high after claiming her biggest title in year at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. Conversely, Vinci’s form has deteriorated since her stunning run to the final at the U.S open, suffering early round losses in Beijing and Linz.

Kuznetsova holds a 3-2 head-to-head record over Vinci and won their most recent clash 6-2 6-3 in Moscow back in 2013. The Russian should have a slight edge in this match-up, I think she will continue her recent winning ways with a victory over the Italian. 

Prediction: Svetlana Kuznetsova to defeat Roberta Vinci in 2 sets

 

Group C: (3) Karolina Pliskova vs (9) Jelena Jankovic

Karolina Pliskova will make her Zhuhai debut on Wednesday against Jelena Jankovic. The Serb made a winning start to her campaign on Tuesday by defeating Sara Errani 6-4 7-5. A victory for Jankovic in this match will see her confirm her spot in the semi-finals.

 

In their only previous encounter, Jankovic defeated Pliskova 6-2 3-6 7-5 in Cincinnati earlier this year. Pliskova squandered a major lead in the final set of that match. This isn’t the greatest match-up for Pliskova because of Jankovic’s solid return and ability to absorb pace.

Pliskova’s recent form has been poor and she will probably be rusty in her first match at the event. Jankovic’s recent form has been good and she will be better adjusted to the conditions. The Serb should get the job done here if she makes the most of her opportunities. 

Prediction: Jelena Jankovic to defeat Karolina Pliskova in 3 sets

 

Group B: (2) Carla Suarez Navarro vs (10) Andrea Petkovic

Arguably the 2 most out of form players in Zhuhai will go head-to-head in the final match of the day. This will be Carla’s first match of the tournament, whilst for Andrea Petkovic it is a must win clash after she lost her opening match 6-7 3-6 to Elina Svitolina.

 

Andrea Petkovic has now lost 4 matches in a row whilst Suarez Navarro’s last match was a disastrous early round loss in Moscow which saw her squander an opportunity to compete in Singapore. Carla did however reach the doubles final in Singapore alongside Garbine Muguruza.

Suarez Navarro holds a 3-2 head-to-head record over Andrea, including a 6-3 6-3 victory in their most recent encounter at the semi-final stage in Miami earlier this year. This is a tough match to call because both players are in such poor form, I will side with Andrea just because she has already played a match in Zhuhai and the quicker conditions should help her.

Prediction: Andrea Petkovic to defeat Carla Suarez Navarro in 3 sets

WTA Elite Trophy, Zhuhai Day 1 Match Previews & Predictions

Zhuhai Day 1 Match Previews & Predictions

The inaugural Huajin Securities WTA Elite Trophy will commence on Tuesday. The introduction of this second tier tour final event has been controversial, with many airing their displeasure for the event, including players. Nevertheless, the field is quite strong, Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki are the headline acts.

 

Group A: (1) Venus Williams vs (7) Madison Keys

The opening match of the tournament will be an all American affair when Venus Williams comes up against Madison Keys. This is a critical match in Group A, the winner of this match is almost certain to progress to the semi-finals given Saisai Zheng is the other player in the group.

Madison Keys famously defeated Venus 6-3 4-6 6-4 at the quarter-final stage of the Australian Open earlier this year. I think this is a good match-up for Keys, she has all the power to match Venus and arguably has a clearly better upside at this stage in their careers.

Venus showed strong form throughout the Asian Swing as she made one last big push to reach the WTA Finals. I think Venus is likely to be a little burnt out at the moment at this stage of the year. This is a good opportunity for Keys. Madison has more to gain here.

Prediction: Madison Keys to defeat Venus Williams in 3 sets

 

Group C: (6) Sara Errani vs (9) Jelena Jankovic

Jelena Jankovic will be looking to claim her first victory over Sara Errani since 2010 when the 2 go head-to-head in the 2nd match of the day in Zhuhai. Errani has won the last 3 encounters between the pair, but 2 of those were her beloved clay.

Jankovic has shown good form towards to the end of the year, claiming 2 international titles during the Asian Swing including Hong Kong where she beat Venus Williams and Angelique Kerber.

 

Jankovic will be determined to defeat Errani given their recent record and should have the weapons to handle Errani on this surface. Jelena should way to defeat the Italian if she remains patient and waits for her opportunities. 

Prediction: Jelena Jankovic to defeat Sara Errani in 2 sets

 

Group B: (8) Elina Svitolina vs (10) Andrea Petkovic

The final match of the day sees Elina Svitolina and Andrea Petkovic go head-to-head for the first time on the WTA tour. Elina and Andrea both arrive in Zhuhai in poor form and will desperate to turn that around and finish the year on a high.

This is a tough match to call, I’m going to side with Svitolina. The Ukrainian has been in Zhuhai training for quite some time and should be well placed to perform at a decent level. This is not a good match-up for Andrea, she will struggle to hit through Svitolina.

Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Andrea Petkovic in 3 sets

Andrea Petkovic vs Eugenie Bouchard, Beijing R1 Preview

Beijing R1: (13) Andrea Petkovic vs Eugenie Bouchard

An interesting first round match at the China Open on Monday sees the 13th seeded German Andrea Petkovic come up against Eugenie Bouchard. The Canadian will be competing in her first tournament since the U.S Open where her campaign was cut short due to a concussion. Andrea Petkovic’s recent form has been quite lacklustre, Eugenie Bouchard will see this a very winnable clash.

Andrea Petkovic arrives in Beijing arrives in on the back of 3 consecutive losses, including first round exits in Guangzhou and Wuhan. The German suffered a straight set loss to Monica Puig in Guangzhou before succumbing to Johanna Konta in straight sets in the first round in Wuhan. Andrea Petkovic is not in contention to reach Singapore but she is still a chance to reach Zhuhai with a couple of victories in Beijing.

 

Eugenie Bouchard recorded back-to-back victories for the first time since Indian Wells at the U.S Open, where she picked up hard-fought victories over Riske, Hercog and Cibulkova before being forced to withdraw from her fourth round clash with Roberta Vinci due to a concussion which she obtained due to an unfortunate call in the locker room. Bouchard arrived in Wuhan last week expecting to play her first tournament since the U.S Open but was unable to compete due to her concussion symptoms reappearing. Hopefully Bouchard will be right to play some good tennis in Beijing, her last chance to make a big impact in season 2015. 

Andrea Petkovic holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Eugenie Bouchard, the German won the first three encounters between the pair but it was the Canadian who emerged victorious in their most recent encounter. Bouchard recorded a 6-3 6-4 victory over Petkovic on route to the final at Wimbledon last year. I like Eugenie’s chances in this match, the quicker conditions in Beijing should suit the Canadian and will not favour the German. Bouchard has the ability to dominate Petkovic on a quicker surface, but Genie must serve well. 

Prediction: Eugenie Bouchard to defeat Andrea Petkovic in 3 sets

Simona Halep vs Andrea Petkovic, Cincinnati R3 Preview

Cincinnati R3: (3) Simona Halep vs (15) Andrea Petkovic

Simona Halep faces Andrea Petkovic for a spot in the quarter-finals at the Western & Southern Open on Thursday evening. The Romanian is building some much needed momentum ahead of the upcoming U.S Open and will keen to keep progressing through the draw in Cincinnati.

After a run to the final last week at the Rogers Cup (defeating Jankovic, Kerber, Radwanska and Errani in the process) Simona Halep kick-started her Cincinnati campaign with a 7-5 5-7 6-4 victory over Kristina Mladenovic. It was the Romanian’s first victory in three attempts against Mladenovic. It wasn’t the prettiest match, both ladies were wayward whilst Halep squandered chances to close the match out in straight sets. Nevertheless I’m sure Halep will be relieved to finally get a victory over Mladenovic.

 

Andrea Petkovic has done surprisingly well this week. The German limped onto court for her first round match and even requested to see the trainer before the match eve started. The German has shown her fighting spirit this week, claiming a 6-4 6-2 first round victory over Julia Goerges before coming from a set down to defeat Camila Giorgi 5-7 6-3 6-3 in the second round. Pekovic’s victory over Giorgi was the German’s first victory in four attempts against the Italian.

Simona Halep holds a 4-1 head to head record over Petkovic and has won the 4 last four encounter between the pair. Their most recent match was an epic, Simona emerged victories 7-5 6-7 7-6 in Beijing last year. This will be an interesting match but Simona should once again have the edge against the German. It will take an almighty effort from the wounded German to hit past Halep in this one.

Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Andrea Petkovic in 2 sets