Karolina Muchova vs. Venus Williams, US Open R1 Preview

2020 US OPEN – R1 preview + prediction: ??
?? (20) Karolina Muchova vs. ?? Venus Williams

A blockbuster opening round clash from the 2020 US Open sees 2-time former champion Venus Williams take on the 20th seeded Karolina Muchova. This will be the first career meeting between the pair in what is arguably the pick of the first round match-ups at this year’s championships.

Karolina Muchova made a decent start to her Flushing Meadows journey during the Western & Southern Open. Muchova defeated Ann Li in straight sets in the opening round before succumbing to Naomi Osaka in a competitive 3 set match. Whilst the Czech wasn’t able to get the job done against Osaka, it was a match that proved she can compete with the very best on this surface. The 24-year-old has a decent record at the US Open having reached the third round over the last couple of years in her only two appearances in the main draw.

At 40 years of age, Venus Williams is unsurprisingly the oldest players in the women’s singles draw at this year’s US Open. Williams brings decent form into the event. Williams returned to the tour at the Top Seed Open in Lexington where she defeated Victoria Azarenka in straight sets before succumbing to Serena Williams in 3 tights sets. Williams suffered another tight loss in her opening round match at the Western & Southern Open last week where she was beaten 7-5 in the deciding set by Dayana Yastremska. The draws certainly haven’t been kind to Williams, but that’s what can happen given her current ranking outside the top 50.

I’m going to give the edge to Muchova here. Muchova showed in her match against Naomi Osaka last week that her game matches up well against a big baseline hitter on this surface. Williams won’t be as challenging as Osaka was. Muchova has a great mix of power and versatility to her game, a style that is very well suited to the quick hard courts at Flushing Meadows. At this stage of their respective careers it is Muchova who should be getting the job done here. Two key factors could be Muchova’s greater stamina and greater reliability behind her serve.

Prediction: Karolina Muchova to defeat Venus Williams in 3 sets
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Naomi Osaka vs. Karolina Muchova, CincyTennis R2 Preview

?? Western & Southern Open – R2 Preview + Prediction:
?? (4) Naomi Osaka vs. ?? Karolina Muchova

Naomi Osaka begins her Western & Southern Open campaign on Monday with a tricky second round clash against Karolina Muchova. The fourth seeded Osaka received a bye through the opening round whilst Muchova took care of business against Ann Li with a comfortable 6-4 6-4 victory.

Naomi Osaka will be playing her first competitive match since a disappointing pair of losses early in the year, a third round exit at the Australian Open in January at the hands of Cori Gauff followed by a miserable loss to Sara Sorribes Tormo a few weeks later in a Fed Cup match. It’s a huge break between matches for Osaka, greater than most other players on tour who have at least played some exhibition matches or a tournament before arriving in New York.

Karolina Muchova is also playing her first official tournament since February, but the Czech player was involved in a number of exhibition events during the official tour shutdown. Muchova played 11 exhibition matches in total where she picked up some decent wins over solid opponents such as Barbora Strycova, Katerina Siniakova and Iga Swiatek. The 24-year-old made a decent start in New York with a relatively easy straight set win over Ann Li.

This will be the first career meeting between Osaka and Muchova, an interesting match-up between two young players who have rapidly climbed the rankings in recent years.

I’m going to go for the upset here. I think Muchova has what it takes to expose a potentially rusty Osaka. Muchova has the perfect mix of power and versatility to trouble Osaka, especially if the Japanese players is off her game, which is likely here given she hasn’t played a match in a long time. Osaka has historically struggled against versatile players such as Anastasija Sevastova, Su-Wei Hsieh and Yulia Putintseva. Muchova has a quality net game, nice touch and importantly a solid backhand slice, this combination has historically made Osaka uncomfortable. If Muchova plays the right way she can cause an upset here. 

Prediction: Karolina Muchova to defeat Naomi Osaka in 3 sets

Karolina Muchova vs. Magda Linette, Doha R1 Preview

Qatar Total Open, Doha R1 Preview + prediction:
?? Karolina Muchova vs. ?? Magda Linette

Karolina Muchova and Magda Linette will renew their rivalry when they do battle at the opening round stage of the 2020 Qatar Total Open in Doha. Muchova and Linette both claimed victories over each other during their respective runs to maiden titles in 2019. Linette defeated Muchova at the quarter-final stage in the Bronx before winning the title, Muchova avenged that loss in the Seoul final a few months later, who will edge ahead in the head-to-head series with a win in their third career meeting?

Karolina Muchova has made a very disappointing start to her 2020 campaign and arrives in Doha in desperate need of a strong run. Muchova ended 2019 as one of the form players on tour but has certainly failed to rediscover that form in the new year. Muchova has only won 1 match in 2020, most recently she was beaten by Katerina Siniakova in 3 sets in Dubai last week in the first round, Muchova failed to win a single game in the deciding set, a very deflating way to lose.

Magda Linette arrives in Doha full of confidence having just won her second career title in Hua Hin a few weeks ago. It was a fantastic week for Linette in Hua Hin where she dropped just 1 set on route to winning the title. Linette’s run in Hua Hin will be a big boost for Pole given she previously made a poor start to the year; Linette will be hoping to continue to gain momentum in Doha.

The head-to-head record between Muchova and Linette is split at 1 win apiece. Both meetings took place in 2019, It was Linette who emerged victorious in the Bronx with a 6-7 6-4 7-6 victory. Muchova then dominated Linette in the championship match in Seoul, a 6-1 6-1 win for the Czech.

I’m going to side with Linette here. It is Linette who brings far superior form and confidence into this match. On Paper this is a very even match-up, so the superior form and confidence of Linette means she is the favourite here. Muchova is really struggling to find her game at the moment and will find life tough in this match against the Pole who gives very little away. Expect Linette to be too solid on this occasion, Muchova doesn’t seem efficient enough at the moment to get past such a solid, in-form opponent.

Prediction: Magda Linette to defeat Karolina Muchova in 3 sets
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Anett Kontaveit vs. Karolina Muchova, Roland Garros R1 Preview

???? Roland Garros, R1 Preview
?? (17) Anett Kontaveit vs. ?? Karolina Muchova

One of the more intriguing opening round match-ups at Roland Garros sees the 17th seeded Anett Kontaveit take on the in form Karolina Muchova. Kontaveit and Muchova both showed what they are capable of on the clay prior to arriving in Paris. Kontaveit made the final in Stuttgart whilst Muchova made the final in Prague, this is a tough opening round match-up for both.

Anett Kontaveit of Estonia during practice at the 2019 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Kontaveit enters Roland Garros as the 17th seed, the highest she has been seeded at a Grand Slam, with that comes greater expectations. Kontaveit has slowly but consistently moved up the rankings over the last few years but is yet to have a huge breakthrough at a major, a couple of fourth round showings being her best result thus far at the Grand Slam level, including Paris last year. Kontaveit’s form since making the final in Stuttgart has been poor and she arrives in Paris on the back of a disappointing straight set loss to Maria Sakkari In the second round in Rome.

Karolina Muchova played just the one tournament on clay before Roland Garros, Muchova produced her greatest result on a the main tour as she reached her first WTA level final in Prague. Unfortunately for Muchova she did lose in the final to Jill Teichmann in 3 sets, a match she would have expected to win. Muchova has not played since the Prague final, so it will be interesting to see what level she can produce in her first match in about a month.

This will be the first carer meeting between Kontaveit and Muchova, two players who have steadily risen up the rankings in recent times, who will prevail?

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