Aegon International, ?? Eastbourne R2 Preview
(10) ?? Jelena Ostapenko vs ?? Carla Suarez Navarro
Reigning Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko will return to competitive action for the first time since her unbelievable achievement in Paris when she takes on Carla Suarez Navarro In the second round at the Aegon International in Eastbourne. The eyes of the tennis world will be on Ostapenko to see how she deals with the pressure of being a Grand Slam champion, an unexpected one. Grass is probably Ostapenko’s most dangerous surface, so if she can replicate her Roland Garros form over the coming weeks she will again cause a lot of damage. Nevertheless, Suarez Navarro looms as a tough opponent for Ostapenko in Eastbourne.
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Roland Garros, ??? R4 Preview + Prediction
(3) ?? Simona Halep vs (21) ?? Carla Suarez Navarro
Simona Halep continues her quest for her first Grand Slam title when she comes up against clay court specialist Carla Suarez Navarro in the fourth round at Roland Garros. Both Halep and Suarez Navarro have reached the final 16 in Paris without dropping a set, both will therefore be full of confidence heading into this intriguing clash. Halep holds a 6-5 record over Suarez Navarro, interestingly it is Suarez Navarro that has won all 4 of their previous matches on a clay court.
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Doha SF #1: (3) Agnieszka Radwanska vs (8) Carla Suarez Navarro
Agnieszka Radwanska looks like the clear favourite to claim her first Qatar Total Open title heading into the semi-final stage of the event on Friday. The Pole will face Carla Suarez Navarro for a spot in the final, an opponent Aga has a good record against and recently defeated quite comfortably at the quarter-final stage of the Australian Open last month. Both ladies will be aiming to reach the final at the Qatar Total Open for the very first time with a win on Friday.
Aga Radwanska has clearly been the most consistent player on the WTA tour since the U.S Open last year, Aga has won 16 of her last 17 matches and 30 of her last 35 matches including 3 titles. Aga’s level of tennis has gradually improved this week in Doha. The world number 3 started the week with scrappy straight set wins over Kateryna Bondarenko and Monica Niculescu before producing a very high quality performance to defeat Roberta Vinci 3-6 6-2 6-3. Radwanska finished the match with some impressive statistics, hitting 40 winners to just 27 unforced errors and maintaining a very high first serve percentage of 78%. Aga has now reached the semi-final stage in Doha on 5 occasions but is yet to reach a final, the Pole will be confident she can change that record on Friday.
Carla Suarez Navarro is also playing some good tennis this week in Doha. The Spaniard has not dropped a set this week, recording straight set wins over Donna Vekic, Timea Bacsinszky and Elena Vesnina. Suarez Navarro has been typically consistent during the first couple of months of the year but has also typically struggled in big matches, Carla will be looking at her semi-final clash with Radwanska as a big opportunity to reverse that unwanted trend and reach her first final of the season.
Radwanska holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Carla. The pair met last month at the quarter-final stage of the Australian Open and it was Radwanska that won quite comfortably 6-1 6-3. I expect this match to be much closer but I expect the same result. This is a good match-up for Aga who does most things better than Carla. Aga seems to be peaking at the right stage of the tournament and really enjoys the court conditions in Doha. The title is Aga’s to lose from here, she shouldn’t slip up.
Prediction: Aga Radwanska to defeat Carla Suarez Navarro in 2 sets
Doha R2: (8) Carla Suarez Navarro vs (Q) Donna Vekic
Donna Vekic is starting to find some much needed form in Doha but faces a tough task in the second round at the Qatar Total Open when she comes up against the eighth seeded Carla Suarez Navarro. The Spaniard has generally made a positive start to the season and will be extra motivated for a good week in Doha after a disappointing first round loss in Dubai last week.
Carla had a great Australian summer, reaching the semi-finals in Brisbane and the quarter-final at the Australian Open but made a slow start to the Middle Eastern swing last week in Dubai. Carla suffered a three set loss to Caroline Garcia in her opening round clash. It was a bad loss for Carla given she was in a winning position when she led by a set and 4-3 and had game points for 5-3. Carla’s level deteriorated as the match wore on and as the pressure intensified. The Spaniard would have been disappointed with that loss and will be eager for a better week.
Donna Vekic recorded two tough victories to reach the main draw in Doha, claiming tight three set wins over Kai-Lin Zhang and Andrea Hlavackova. The Croatian made the most of a very favourable draw to claim her first main draw victory at the premier level for the first time since Madrid last year. Vekic stormed past local wild card Fatima Al-Nabhani 6-0 6-0 with total ease. Life will get much tougher for Vekic in the second round when she takes on Suarez Navarro.
This will be the first career meeting between Carla and Donna. The Croatian has the advantage of having already played three matches this week in Doha so she will be well acclimatised to the conditions. However, I don’t think Donna will enjoy much success in this match-up. Vekic hasn’t had any success against players of Carla’s calibre in recent times. Carla’s defensive skills are likely to really frustrate an often impatient Vekic and draw a large number of errors from the Croatian’s racquet. I suspect Carla will win this pretty comfortably.
Prediction: Carla Suarez Navarro to defeat Donna Vekic in 2 sets
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.
Prediction: Carla Suarez Navarro to defeat Caroline Garcia in 3 sets
Aus Open QF: (4) Agnieszka Radwanska vs (10) Carla Suarez Navarro
Two of the craftiest players on tour will go head-to-head for a spot in the semi-finals at the Australian Open when Agnieszka Radwanska takes on Carla Suarez Navarro at RLA on Tuesday. Radwanska and Carla have been in reasonably good form at Melbourne Park but both survived a scare in the fourth round. This should be an entertaining match between two of the cleverest and most skilful players on the WTA tour, it will not be easy to win points in this match-up.
Aga Radwanska will be making her sixth quarter-final appearance at Melbourne Park on Tuesday, the Pole has always been very consistent in Melbourne but is keener than ever to go a couple of steps further in 2016. Radwanska cruised through her opening three matches with relative ease, recording straight set victories over Christina McHale, Eugenie Bouchard and Monica Puig. Surprisingly, it was in the fourth round that Radwanska faced her biggest test. The Pole was outplayed for large chunks of her fourth round clash with Anna-Lena Friedsam but managed to outlast her German opponent to claim a 6-7 6-1 7-5 victory. The good news for Radwanska is that she hasn’t wasted too much energy to reach the crucial stage of the event and she should be relatively fresh when it matters most.
Carla Suarez Navarro has made the most of a very favourable draw to reach the quarter-final stage at Melbourne Park for the second time in her career. The Spaniard’s first three opponents were all ranked outside the top 100, Carla posted victories over Viktorija Golubic, Maria Sakkari and Elizaveta Kulichkova. Carla faced her toughest challenge in the fourth round where she came up against an in form Daria Gavrilova, Carla was totally outplayed in the first set but the Spaniard stuck around and eventually benefited from an erratic Gavrilova to record a 0-6 6-3 6-2 victory. Carla received treatment for a knee injury midway through the second set and admitted that she was in considerable pain throughout the match, not a good position to be in heading into a match with Agnieszka Radwanska.
Radwanska holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Suarez Navarro. However, it was the Spaniard who emerged victorious in their most recent encounter, defeating Radwanska 5-7 6-0 6-4 in Miami last year. Much has changed since that match, these two have generally gone in different directions with Radwanska’s form dramatically improving whilst Suarez Navarro has generally struggled since her run to the final in Miami.
I suspect Radwanska has a pretty clear edge heading into this match. Radwanska is in great form, heading into this match on a 12-match winning streak. Both ladies enter this match with injury concerns but Suarez Navarro’s injury problems seem to be far more serious and that could be a big factor in a match like this which will be very physical. On a relatively quick hard court Radwanska should have enough weapons to get past Suarez Navarro, Aga’s serve is stronger and she has a bit more firepower from the baseline and also seems stronger physically heading into this match.
Prediction: Aga Radwanska to defeat Carla Suarez Navarro in 2 sets
Australian Open R4: (10) Carla Suarez Navarro vs Daria Gavrilova
Daria Gavrilova is having an amazing tournament in her first Australian Open campaign representing the green and gold. Gavrilova has pulled off some monumental victories in the past couple of rounds to reach the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time in her young career. Daria now has a wonderful opportunity to go even further when she takes on Carla Suarez Navarro on Sunday evening on RLA.
Carla Suarez Navarro has quietly made her way through to the fourth round. The Spaniard has benefited from a dream draw to this point, Carla’s first three matches were all against opponents ranked outside the top 100. Carla started the week with a reasonably comfortable straight set win over Viktorija Golubic before being pushed to three sets by Greek rising-star Maria Sakkari. Carla then benefited from a Kulichkova retirement in the third round. The good thing for Carla is that she has not used much energy to this point and will be fresh heading into this clash which is always important for a player like her.
Daria Gavrilova’s route to the fourth round has been far tougher. The newly adopted Australian has won over the Australian public this week with passion and fighting spirit on the court. Gavrilova started the week with a hard-fought straight set victory over Lucie Hradecka before recording a 6-4 6-4 victory over Petra Kvitova in an impressive performance. It was in the third round where Gavrilova made the biggest impression, recording an extremely gutsy 6-4 4-6 11-9 victory over Kristina Mladenovic in an epic. Gavrilova’s energy and attitude towards the end of such a long match was truly impressive. Gavrilova seems be thriving in front of the Australian crowds and will like her chances against Suarez Navarro on Sunday in her first ever match on Rod Laver Arena.
Suarez Navarro emerged victorious in the only previous encounter between the pair, a 7-6 6-3 victory in Tokyo back in 2014. Much has changed since then and I believe Gavrilova has a pretty clear edge heading into their clash on Rod Laver Arena on Sunday night.
These two are quite evenly matched in terms of tennis ability, both play a pretty similar style. But the biggest difference is that Gavrilova has a far superior presence on court and will be boosted by a vocal Australian crowd. Gavrilova’s superior serve and ability to be more aggressive should give her the advantage here. Gavrilova has played far more tennis this week and far tougher matches, but Daria is extremely fit and I don’t think that will be a negative for her heading into this match, it could actually be a positive because she has been played in high intensity and high pressure situations whilst Carla has not.
Prediction: Daria Gavrilova to defeat Carla Suarez Navarro in 2 sets
Sydney R1: (7) Carla Suarez Navarro vs Sara Errani
A tough opening round match-up at the APIA International in Sydney sees the seventh seeded Carla Suarez Navarro come up against Sara Errani. This is a really tough match-up given these are two of the best defensive players on the tour, both are great movers and give very little away in terms of unforced errors. This promises to be a long battle, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top in this one.
Carla Suarez Navarro made a very positive start to the year in Brisbane last week, reaching the semi-final stage for the first time in her career. The Spaniard started with a convincing straight set victory over Ajla Tomljanovic before recording back-to-back hard-fought victories over Sam Stosur and Varvara Lepchenko. Carla faulted at the semi-final stage where she suffered a 2-6 3-6 loss to Angelique Kerber. Carla seemed to struggle physically in that match after a couple of tough matches in a row and a short turnaround.
Sara Errani’s start to the season was in complete contrast to Carla’s. The Italian suffered a crushing 1-6 2-6 loss to Belinda Bencic in the first round at the Brisbane International last week. Errani will be hoping for a better week in Sydney at a tournament where she has reached the quarter-final stage on multiple occasions. However it is going to be tough for Sara against Carla, but the Italian will be for the challenge and comes into this clash with a great recent record against Carla.
Sara Errani holds a 7-3 head-to-head record over Carla Suarez Navarro. The Italian has actually won 6 of her last 7 matches over the Spaniard, but the majority of those victories have been on clay (5 of them). Their last completed match took place at Roland Garros in 2013 where Sara recorded a hard-fought 5-7 6-4 6-3 victory in the fourth round.
Carla clearly has the better form heading into this match but Errani has a very good record against the Spaniard. I think Sara can actually cause an upset in this one. The conditions in Sydney are really tough and can play a major factor. These two are so evenly matched, that the difference could be who is better able to deal with the humid conditions. I suspect that will be Errani, Carla can struggle in situations like this, the Italian will eventually ware her down.
Prediction: Sara Errani to defeat Carla Suarez Navarro in 3 sets
Brisbane SF: (4) Angelique Kerber vs (6) Carla Suarez Navarro
The first semi-final match at the Brisbane International will see Angelique Kerber come up against Carla Suarez Navarro, both will be aiming to reach the Brisbane International final for the first time.
Angelique Kerber made her first Brisbane semi-final with a surprisingly comfortable 6-4 6-4 victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Angie didn’t do anything spectacular, she just did what she needed to do to get the victory. The German has made a solid start to the season in Brisbane also picking up victories over Camila Giorgi and Madison Brengle on route to the final four.
Carla Suarez Navarro is also into the semi-final stage at the Brisbane international for the first time. The Spaniard started the week with a commanding victory over an injured Ajla Tomljanovic before picking up tough three set victories over Sam Stosur and Varvara Lepchenko to advance to the final four. Carla’s victory over Lepchenko was particularly gruelling lasting almost three hours.
The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 2 wins apiece, it was Carla who won their most clash 7-5 6-4 at Stuttgart in 2014. I suspect Angie will avenge that loss here, the German was barely pushed in her quarter-final clash whilst Carla was forced to work extremely hard for her victory and will find it difficult to recover. I think Carla has been very lucky to get to this stage, she isn’t playing that well, she could have easily lost her last two matches. Angie should be far too strong.
Prediction: Angelique Kerber to defeat Carla Suarez Navarro in 2 sets
Brisbane R2: (6) Carla Suarez Navarro vs Sam Stosur
A Fascinating second round encounter sees Carla Suarez Navarro come up against home crowd favourite Sam Stosur in the second round of the Brisbane International on Tuesday night. This is great opportunity for both players to gain some much needed early season momentum after struggling through periods of 2015.
Carla Suarez Navarro eased into the second round of the Brisbane International with a comfortable 6-1 6-2 victory over an injured Tomljanovic. The Australian was clearly hampered by injury, but credit to Suarez Navarro as she did what she needed to do.
Sam Stosur picked up just her third ever victory at the Brisbane International on Monday, recording a 6-4 3-6 6-4 win over Jana Cepelova. It was a typical Stosur match in Australia, full momentum shifts and nervous moments. Stosur looked down and out at 0-3 down in the deciding set but she managed to raise her game and started to dominate her opponent with her powerful game. Stosur now has a good opportunity to reach a rare quarter-final in Australia when she comes up against an opponent she has a winning record against.
Sam Stosur holds a 3-2 head-to-head record over Carla Suarez Navarro. The Australian won the most recent encounter between the pair, a 1-6 6-2 6-3 victory at the Rogers Cup in 2013.
This is a really difficult math to call, these two are very evenly matched. Stosur does have the game to trouble Carla, her kick-serve is particularly effective in this match-up. I think it is finally time for Sam to reach a quarter-final in Australia.
Prediction: Sam Stosur to defeat Carla Suarez Navarro in 3 sets