Victoria Azarenka vs. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, Roland Garros R2 Preview

ūüáęūüá∑ūüźĆ Roland Garros, R2 preview + prediction:
ūüáßūüáĺ (10) Victoria Azarenka vs. ūüáłūüáį Anna Karolina Schmiedlova

A red-hot Victoria Azarenka comes up against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova at the second round stage in Paris. Azarenka is one of the form players on tour at the moment, fresh from a runner-up appearance at the US Open the Belarusian has quickly found her footing on the red clay having reached the final 8 in Rome a few weeks ago. Azarenka enters this second round clash as a big favourite.

Azarenka made a strong start to her 2020 Roland Garros campaign when she easily defeated Danka Kovinic 6-1 6-2. Azarenka wasn’t pleased with the cold, rainy conditions, but her tennis certainly wasn’t thrown off by the conditions. Roland Garros has traditionally been Azarenka’s least successful major, unsurprisingly given clay has traditionally been Azarenka’s least successful surface, the 2-time major winner hasn’t reached the third round in Paris since 2015.

Schmiedlova broke a run of 4 consecutive opening round exits at Roland Garros thanks to a 6-4 6-4 victory over Venus Williams on day 1 of the 2020 tournament. Schmiedlova’s equal best run at a major took place in Paris back in 2014. Clay is Schmiedlova’s best surface but her mediocre results over the last few years haven’t reflected the talent she possesses.

This will be the first career meeting between the pair.

Azarenka is rightfully the big favourite heading into this match given her superb recent form. However, Schmiedlova has the game to make this closer than expected. Schmiedlova is one player that will enjoy the heavy conditions in Paris, conditions that could bring this match closer. Schmiedlova has a powerful return of serve and a handy drop shot, a few shots that are important against Azarenka, to punish the Belarusian’s weak second serve and to move her off the baseline. Schmiedlova has nothing to lose and a dangerous game. Nevertheless, Azarenka should prevail here, she is a class above and full of confidence at the moment.

Prediction: Victoria Azarenka to defeat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in 3 sets

Naomi Osaka vs. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, Roland Garros R1 Preview

???? Roland Garros, R1 Preview
?? (1) Naomi Osaka vs. ?? Anna Karolina Schmiedlova

Naomi Osaka begins her Roland Garros campaign against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova. Osaka is undoubtedly the biggest star in the women’s game at the moment, Osaka has taken over the tour in the last year by winning the last two Grand Slam titles and holding onto the number 1 ranking for several months. Despite this, Osaka is not considered one of the favourites in Paris as she is yet to prove herself on clay.

Naomi Osaka of Japan during practice at the 2019 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Naomi Osaka arrives in Paris on the back of some of her best ever results on clay, Osaka reached the quarter-final stage in Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome where she played some quality matches on the red dirt. Osaka has never made it to the second week in Paris, her best previous result was a third round finish which she achieved in 2016 and 2018. The recent signs from Osaka suggest that her damaging weapons can be just as effective on clay as they are on a hard court.

Anna Karolina Schmiedlova heads into one of the biggest matches of her life in poor form. Schmiedlova suffered an embarrassing opening round loss to Xinyun Han in Strasbourg last week where she managed to win just 2 games despite heading into the match as a heavy favourite. Schmiedlova has stumbled at the opening round stage in Paris in the last 3 years and will suffer the same fate here unless she produces a miracle performance.

This will be the first career meeting between Osaka and Schmiedlova, a big mismatch on paper.

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Caroline Garcia vs Anna Schmiedlova, Dubai R1 Preview

Dubai R1: Caroline Garcia vs Anna Schmiedlova

Two of the tours most promising rising stars will collide in an exciting first round match on Monday at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships when Caroline Garcia comes up against Anna Schmiedlova. Both ladies have made relatively disappointing starts to the season and will look at this match as an opportunity to gain a much needed boost in confidence.

Caroline Garcia’s Australian Open campaign started off in promising fashion after amassing a perfect record at the Hopman Cup and a good week in Sydney. However, Garcia’s Australian summer ultimately ended in disappointment when she suffered a first round loss to Barbora Strycova in Melbourne. Garcia still arrives in Dubai in some good form after guiding France to a crucial Fed Cup victory over Italy last weekend. Garcia recorded victories over Camila Giorgi and Sara Errani, both in straight sets. There is an opportunity for Garcia to go on a deep run this week given the vulnerability of the top seeds in the draw.

 

Anna Schmiedlova had a wonderful season 2015 but has been unable to bring that form into 2016. Schmiedlova has suffered some crushing defeats in 2016, including straight set losses to Varvara Lepchenko, Monica Puig and Daria Kasatkina during the Australian summer. The Slovakian has shown that she is a quality player and will no doubt turn her poor form around at some stage in the near future, this match could be a good opportunity for Schmiedlova to gain a much needed win.

This will be the first career meeting between Garcia and Schmiedlova. These two are pretty evenly matched and have similar capabilities. However, Garcia looks to have the edge heading into this particular match. The Frenchwoman has the better form heading into this match, playing much more consistent tennis. Garcia is likely to hold serve easier than her opponent in this match-up, one of the key differences between the pair who are both very competent from the baseline.

Prediction: Caroline Garcia to defeat Anna Schmiedlova in 3 sets


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WTA Elite Trophy, Zhuhai Day 4 Match Previews & Predictions

Zhuhai Day 4 Match Previews & Predictions 

Venus Williams, Karolina Pliskova and Roberta Vinci secured semi-final births on day 3, the final semi-finalist will be confirmed on the final day of group stage action on Friday. Elina Svitolina and Carla Suarez Navarro will battle for the final position, the winner will progress to the final 4. Roberta Vinci advanced to the semi-finals courtesy of Caroline Wozniacki retiring against Kuznetsova and withdrawing from the event, essentially eliminating the Russian from the event. 

Group B: (2) Carla Suarez Navarro vs (8) Elina Svitolina

Friday’s most intriguing match sees Carla Suarez Navarro and Elina Svitolina go head-to-head for a spot in the semi-finals. Carla and Elina both pick up victories over Andrea Petkovic, the winner of this match will finish on top of Group B and progress to the semi-final stage.¬†

 

Carla Suarez Navarro routed a wounded Andrea Petkovic 6-0 6-0 in her opening group stage match in Zhuhai. Petkovic was not competitive, offering little to no resistance. Nevertheless, Carla was seemingly playing at a pretty reasonable level. 

Elina Svitolina started the week with a 7-6 6-3 victory over Andrea Petkovic. The German was certainly much more¬†competitive¬†in this match, offering¬†much more¬†resistance. Svitolina’s form during the Asian Swing was poor but she seems to be in a better place this week and will be keen to make an impact in Zhuhai, this is a good opportunity for Elina.¬†

The head-to-head record between Carla and Elina is split at 1 win¬†apiece, Elina¬†won their most¬†recent¬†clash 4-6 6-4 6-4 in Cincinnati last year. This should be a good match with both ladies desperate to win, I like Elina’s chances¬†here. Carla and Elina are both great grinders from the baseline, but Elina is more solid and has a greater ability to attack.¬†

Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Carla Suarez Navarro in 2 sets 

Group D: (4) Roberta Vinci vs Anna Schmiedlova 

Roberta Vinci and Anna Schmiedlova will go head-to-head for the first time on Friday.¬†Courtesy¬†of Caroline Wozniacki’s withdrawal from the event, Anna Schmiedlova has taken her spot as an alternate.¬†

 

Roberta Vinci started her Zhuhai campaign in style with a commanding 6-4 6-4 victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova. Vinci was on top from start to finish, the Italian’s serve was never broken.¬†

Schmiedlova is certainly a dangerous opponent and is more than capable of competing with the U.S Open finalist, Schmiedlova has nothing to lose and I think she will cause an upset here. 

Prediction: Anna Schmiedlova to defeat Roberta Vinci in 3 sets 

Group A: (7) Madison Keys vs (12) (WC) Saisai Zheng 

The Final match of the day is a dead rubber. Madison and Saisai both lost their opening group stage matches to Venus Williams meaning the American will finish on top of the group and advance to the semi-finals. 

Madison and Saisai both showed promising signs in their opening group matches despite being defeated. Keys came particularly close to victory, outplaying Venus for the majority of the first 2 sets but ultimately succumbing 6-3 6-7 1-6.  Keys will be hoping to end the best season of he career on a high with a victory over Zheng. 

 

Saisai Zheng pushed Venus Williams much more than expected. Saisai made a terrific start to the match and hung on the claim the first set. However Venus would eventually raise her level to steamroll past the local hopeful 4-6 6-1 6-1. 

This will be the first career meeting between the pair and it should end in a victory for the American, unless she has a really bad day. 

Prediction: Madison Keys to defeat Saisai Zheng in 2 sets

Garbine Muguruza vs Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, Wuhan QF Preview

 Wuhan QF: (5) Garbine Muguruza vs Anna Karolina Schmiedlova

Two of the tour’s most promising rising stars will go head-to-head at the quarter-final stage of the Wuhan Open on Thursday when Garbine Muguruza comes up against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova. Garbine Muguruza is now just won win away from reaching the top 5 for the first time in her career and is a couple of victories away from confirming her position at the WTA Finals in Singapore. This is also an extremely important match for Schmiedlova, a real chance to solidify her spot in the top 30 and guarantee a seeding at the first Grand Slam of 2016.

Garbine Muguruza struggled to back up her spectacular run to the final at Wimbledon during the North American summer. The Spaniard seems to have finally settled in Wuhan, producing her two best victories since Wimbledon to advance to the quarter-final stage. After receiving a bye into the second round, Muguruza began her week with a commanding 6-2 6-0 thrashing of Sloane Stephens. Garbine backed up that performance by winning 11 of the last 12 games to defeat Ana Ivanovic 4-6 6-1 6-0.

 

Garbine played near flawless tennis in the final two sets of her third round victory over Ivanovic, reminding us all of what she is capable of when she is at her brilliant best. Garbine will like her chances of moving forward in Wuhan when she comes up against an opponent she has never lost to on Thursday, a real chance to take a big step towards her first appearance at the upcoming WTA Finals in Singapore.

Anna Karolina Schmiedlova has also had an impressive week in Wuhan, reaching her 8th quarter-final of the year. Schmiedlova started the week with a routine straight set victory over Duque-Marino before recording one of the biggest victories of her career when she came from 1-6 1-4 down to defeat Caroline Wozniacki 7-6 in the third set. Schmiedlova backed up her victory over Wozniacki with a very mature performance to defeat Kristina Mladenovic 6-4 6-2 to set up an intriguing quarter-final clash with Garbine Muguruza, Schmiedlova will be searching for her first career victory over the Spaniard.

 

Garbine Muguruza holds a perfect 2-0 head-to-head record over Schmiedlova. Both of their previous meetings took place in 2014, both won by Muguruza in straight sets: a 6-3 6-3 win in Melbourne before a 6-2 6-4 win at Roland Garros.

This seems like a good match-up for Garbine, the Spaniard does most things better than Schmiedlova, the Slovakian will need to rely on her superior defensive skills and hope Muguruza has an off day. That seems unlikely, Garbine has played some awesome tennis this week and should be too powerful for Schmiedlova. With a position in Singapore on the line, this is a match Garbine simply cannot afford to lose.

Prediction: Garbine Muguruza to defeat Anna Schmiedlova in 2 sets

Kristina Mladenovic vs Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, Wuhan R3 Preview

Wuhan R3: Kristina Mladenovic vs Anna Karolina Schmiedlova

An unexpected third round match-up at the Wuhan sees Kristina Mladenovic take on Anna Karolina Schmiedlova. This will be the first career meeting between Mladenovic and Schmiedlova, a wonderful opportunity for both to reach a rare premier 5 level quarter-final and pick up valuable ranking points.

Kristina Mladenovic is finally starting to live up to her enormous potential. The Frenchwoman reached her first ever Grand Slam quarter-final at the U.S Open last month and she now has an opportunity to go on a deep run in Wuhan. Mladenovic started her week with a convincing 6-1 6-4 victory over Patricia Tig before advancing to the third round with a 7-5 1-6 6-2 win over Madison Keys. It was a big victory for Mladenovic, another big scalp she has claimed in 2015.

 

Anna Karolina Schmiedlova continues to impress. The Slovakian reached the semi-finals in Seoul last week and has made a fabulous start to her Wuhan campaign. Schmiedlova recorded a 6-4 6-4 first round victory over Duque-Marino before picking up arguably the biggest victory of her career in the second round where she defeated Caroline Wozniacki 1-6 6-4 7-6.

Schmiedlova trailed 1-6 1-4 and looked destined for a routine loss, however the Slovakian really raised her level, matching Wozniacki from the baseline in a stunning display to turn the match around. The Schmiedlova backhand more than matched Wozniacki’s famous backhand, the Slovakian did well at the end of the match to maintain her composure as Wozniacki took several medial timeouts at questionable times.

This will be the first career meeting between Mladenovic and Schmiedlova, this is a critical match for both, a great opportunity to reach the quarter-finals. I’m leaning towards Schmiedlova, the Slovakian is just a little more reliable and is far more solid from the baseline. It will be tough for Mladenovic to hit through Schmiedlova.

Prediction: Anna Schmiedlova to defeat Kristina Mladenovic in 3 sets

Jelena Jankovic vs Anna Schmiedlova, Cincinnati QF Preview

Cincinnati QF #4: Jelena Jankovic vs (Q) Anna Schmiedlova

An unexpected quarter-final match-up sees Jelena Jankovic come up against Anna Schmiedlova for a place in the semi-finals at the Western & Southern Open. This is an important match for both ladies, who are in very different stages in their respective careers.

Jelena Jankovic once again finds herself in the later stages of the Western & Southern Open. The 2009 Champion has now reached the quarter-final stage in Cincinnati 5 times, Jelena clearly enjoys playing in Ohio.

Jankovic has picked up some solid victories this week, defeating Madison Keys 7-6 6-4 in the second round before defeating Karolina Pliskova 6-2 3-6 7-5 to advance to the final 8. Jankovic was down 2-5 in the deciding set but somehow found a way to grind her way past a wayward Pliskova. Jankovic has typically saved her best tennis for the U.S Open series, the draw has opened up nicely for her to perhaps reach the final this week and build some confidence ahead of another deep run in New York?

 

Anna Schmiedlova has had a wonderful week in Cincinnati, fighting her way through the qualifying draw before reaching her first ever quarter-final at a premier level event. Schmiedlova’s week has been highlighted by a 4-6 6-3 6-1 victory over Agnieszka Radwanska in the first round, the Slovak’s second career top 20 victory. Schmiedlova dictated play, hitting 44 winners in a superb performance. Schmiedlova backed up her victory over the Pole with solid victories over Irina-Camelia Begu and Varvara Lepchenko.

This will be the first career meeting between Jankovic and Schmiedlova and it promises to be an extremely tight match. It’s difficult to pick a winner in this one. The obvious difference between the two is Jankovic’s far greater experience which could play a factor in this one. Jankovic should also be a bit fresher heading into this one given Schmiedlova had to come through the qualifying draw, Jankovic should have the slight edge in this one. 

Prediction: Jelena Jankovic to defeat Anna Schmiedlova in 3 sets

Agnieszka Radwanska vs Anna Schmiedlova, Cincinnati R1 Preview

Cincinnati R1: (13) Agnieszka Radwanska vs (Q) Anna Schmiedlova

Agnieszka Radwanska will kick-start her 2015 Western & Southern Open campaign with a first round clash against qualifier: Anna Schmiedlova. The Pole has made a solid start to her U.S Open series campaign and will be keen to continue to build momentum ahead of the final Grand Slam of the year in New York. The Pole is certainly one to look out for this week, seemingly perfectly poised for a deep run.

After a disappointing start to the year, a rejuvenated Radwanska got her season back on track during the grass court season. The Pole seems to have picked up where she left off, playing some solid tennis in Stanford and Toronto. Aga’s results haven’t been outstanding in the last couple of weeks, but there have been some promising signs for the Pole.

Radwanska suffered quarter-final losses in Stanford and Toronto, beaten by Angelique Kerber in Stanford and Simona Halep in Toronto. Aga won the first set in each of those matches, playing some of her best tennis. However Aga was unable to sustain a high level for long enough in each match and was ultimately outlasted by Kerber and Halep. Aga’s physical weaknesses remain her greatest problem moving forward.

 

Anna Schmiedlova’s recent form has been solid, however most of her victories in the last couple of months have been at international events and mostly on clay courts. Schmiedlova advanced through to the main draw in Cincinnati through qualifiers, picking up two solid victories over Taylor Townsend and Olga Govortsova.

In the only previous encounter between Aga and Anna, the Pole picked up a hard-fought 6-4 7-5 victory in Miami earlier this year. Schmiedlova is a crafty opponent from the baseline, however Aga more consistent and has more strings to her bow. The quicker conditions in Cincinnati should heavily favour the Pole.

Prediction: Aga Radwanska to defeat Anna Schmiedlova in 2 sets