Angelique Kerber vs. Kristina Mladenovic, US Open R1 Preview

🇺🇸🗽🍎 US OPEN, R1 match preview
🇩🇪 (14) Angelique Kerber vs. 🇫🇷 Kristina Mladenovic

Angelique Kerber will kick-start her 2019 US Open campaign with a first round clash against France’s Kristina Mladenovic. Kerber arrives in New York in the midst of a form slump, Kerber has lost 3 consecutive matches and hasn’t won a match on a hard court since Monterrey in April. Nevertheless, Kerber is a former US Open champions, a 3-time Grand Slam singles champion and former world number 1, she is still one of the major threats at this years championships in New York.

Angelique Kerber will fancy her chances against Kristina Mladenovic but will need to improve on her recent form to contend for the title at Flushing Meadows. Kerber hasn’t won a match since her shock second round exit at Wimbledon at the hands of Lauren Davis where she was defending the title. The Us Open series hasn’t gone to plan for Kerber who was beaten by Daria Kasatkina in 3 sets at the Rogers Cups, more recently the German was beaten by Anett Kontaveit in straight sets in Cincinnati. Kerber has shown in the past that she can regain her form at a major, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see that happen over the next few weeks.

Kristina Mladenovic also arrives in New York fresh from back-to-back opening round losses in Toronto and Cincinnati. Mladenovic has somewhat turned into a double specialist in 2019, it is on the doubles court where Mladenovic enjoys far more success. On the singles court, Mladenovic’s weaknesses are frequently exposed. Unfrequently for Mladenovic, Kerber looms as an opponent that will not have a hard time exposing the Mladenovic weaknesses.

Kerber holds a 4-1 head-to-head record over Mladenovic, the German has won all 4 of the previous meetings between the pair on a hard court, including a commanding 6-2 6-2 victory in Beijing last year in what was their most recent clash.

Despite her recent poor form, I don’t see Kerber having many problems in this match-up. Kerber is simply too solid for Mladenovic, especially on a hard court. Kerber’s has no problems picking on the Mladenovic backhand, she can expose Mladenovic’s backhand from anywhere in the court, Kerber’s defense also causes Mladenovic all types of problems, Kerber is one of the best players on tour at playing passing shots which takes away one of Mladenovic’s greatest assets. Furthermore, Kerber’s strong return of serve will likely cause the extremely vulnerable Mladenovic serve to crumble.

Prediction: Angelique Kerber to defeat Kristina Mladenovic in 2 sets

Naomi Osaka vs. Kristina Mladenovic, Indian Wells R2 Preview

🇺🇸🌵 BNPPO19, Indian Wells – R2 Preview
🇯🇵 (1) Naomi Osaka vs. 🇫🇷 Kristina Mladenovic

Naomi Osaka gets a shot at revenge in her opening round clash in Indian Wells as she takes on Kristina Mladenovic. Osaka suffered a shock opening round loss to Mladenovic in Dubai a few weeks ago in her only match prior to winning the Australian Open in January. Osaka will be keen to avoid back-to-back losses to Mladenovic and more importantly look to start her title defence strongly in the Californian desert.

Naomi Osaka of Japan during practice ahead of the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

The eyes of the tennis world are again very much focused on Naomi Osaka over the next week in Indian Wells. Osaka started her rapid rise to the top of women’s tennis this time last year when she won the BNP Paribas Open before going on to win the US Open and the Australian Open. Things haven’t quite gone smoothly since Naomi’s Australian Open triumph, Osaka split with her coach Sascha Bajin and suffered a shock first-up loss to Mladenovic in Dubai in her only match since winning her second Grand Slam title.

Kristina Mladenovic is seemingly starting to build some confidence. Mladenovic’s win over Osaka in Dubai was a big one as she won back-to-back matches for the first time in 2019 before succumbing at the third round stage. Mladenovic made a good start in Indian Wells with a 7-5 6-2 win over Saisai Zheng. Mladenovic dug deep in her win over Zheng, coming from behind in the opening set where she was forced to save a couple of set points before running over the top of her Chinese opponent in the second set.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. Osaka beat Mladenovic 6-2 6-2 in Dubai in 2018 whilst just a few weeks ago Mladenovic won 6-3 6-3 also in Dubai.

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Kristina Mladenovic vs. Saisai Zheng, Indian Wells R1 Preview

🇺🇸🌵 BNPPO19, Indian Wells – R1 Preview
🇫🇷 Kristina Mladenovic vs. 🇨🇳 Saisai Zheng

Kristina Mladenovic and Saisai Zheng will go head-to-head for the first time when they meet at the opening round stage of the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday. The bookmaker’s are struggling to separate the pair, however once digging into this match-up there should actually be a clear favourite.

Kristina Mladenovic has continued to struggle throughout the early months of 2019. Mladenovic has won just 1 tour level match and that was virtually a bye against a local player in Dubai, otherwise Mladenovic has lost all of her other 5 matches in fairly disappointing fashion, including a 3 set loss to Timea Bacsinszky at the opening round stage of the Indian Wells 125K event last week.

Saisai Zheng is quietly putting together a solid start to the year. Zheng failed to win a match in January but put together a respectable month in February and arrives in Indian Wells in good form on the back of a quarter-final showing in Acapulco. Zheng also reached the quarter-finals in Hua Hin earlier in the month, the challenge for Zheng is now to put together some good results at the bigger WTA events such as this one.

Mladenovic and Zheng have fairly contrasting styles so it will be interesting to see how the first meeting between the pair pans out. The all-court game of Mladenovic against the baseline grinder in Zheng.

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Kristina Mladenovic vs. Carla Suarez Navarro, Dubai R3 Preview

🇦🇪🐪 Dubai DFTC – R3 Preview
🇫🇷 Kristina Mladenovic vs. 🇪🇸 Carla Suarez Navarro

Kristina Mladenovic will return to action in Dubai on Wednesday for a third round clash with Carla Suarez Navarro, less than 24 hours after the Frenchwoman stunned the top ranked Naomi Osaka. Mladenovic enters this match on a high but will quickly need to refocus if she is to get past a tough test against the Spaniard.

Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain in action during her second-round match at the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Mladenovic secured her spot in the third round in Dubai with one of the biggest wins of her career. Mladenovic fairly comfortably defeated an out of sorts Naomi Osaka 6-3 6-3 having previously beaten Fatma Al-Nabhani 6-1 6-1 in the opening round. Mladenovic really stepped up her game against Osaka, amazingly she did not hit a single double fault which must be some kind of record for the usually erratic Frenchwoman.

Suarez Navarro is quietly having a good week in Dubai. Carla has navigated her way past two tough opponents with relative ease, Suarez Navarro started her Dubai campaign with a 6-1 6-3 win over Barbora Strycova before beating Shuai Zhang 6-4 6-4 to secure back-to-back wins for the first time in 2019.

Suarez Navarro holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Mladenovic and has won all 3 of their previous meetings on a hard court, including a 6-1 4-6 6-4 win in their most recent match at the US Open last year.

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Naomi Osaka vs. Kristina Mladenovic, Dubai R2 Preview

🐪 Dubai DFTC – R2 Preview
🇯🇵 (1) Naomi Osaka vs. 🇫🇷 Kristina Mladenovic

Naomi Osaka will be in action for the first time since her historic Australian Open triumph when she comes up against France’s Kristina Mladenovic at the second round stage of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. The top seeded Osaka received a bye through the first round and will be playing her first match since splitting with coach Sascha Bajin.

Naomi Osaka of Japan during the All Access Hour ahead of the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Naomi Osaka is the undisputed world number 1 in the women’s game. Osaka has won the last two Grand Slam titles and now rightfully sits at the top of the rankings. All the more reason why her recent decision to split with coach Sascha Bajin was such shocking news, especially given how far she has come under his guidance. It will be very interesting to see how Osaka goes without Bajin, perhaps this is where she starts to stutter?

Kristina Mladenovic has made a typically ordinary start to the season but benefited from a favourable opening round draw in Dubai. Mladenovic came up against local wild card Fatma Al-Nabhani and easily won 6-1 6-1. Safe to say Mladenovic will face a far, far greater test against Osaka in the next round.

The only previous meeting between the pair took place in Dubai last year, Osaka won that match 6-2 6-2.

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Victoria Azarenka vs. Kristina Mladenovic, Montreal R1 Preview

🇨🇦 Rogers Cup, Montreal R1 Preview
🇧🇾 (wc) Victoria Azarenka vs. 🇫🇷 Kristina Mladenovic

Victoria Azarenka begins her Rogers Cup campaign on Tuesday evening in Montreal. The Belarusian will come up against France’s Kristina Mladenovic. There is a bit of uncertainty surrounding Azarenka heading into this event after injury forced her to retire from her quarter-final match in San Jose last week. Can Azarenka rebound in Montreal?

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in action during her second-round match at the 2018 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic WTA Premier tennis tournament

Injury continues to interrupt the progress of Victoria Azarenka. The 2-time former Grand Slam champion has shown glimpses of her best in 2018 but has not been able to consistently compete at a high level. Azarenka started her U.S hard court swing last week in San Jose where she played some good tennis on route to the quarter-finals. Unfortunately the week ended in disappointment as Azarenka was forced to retire injured from a set up against Collins, a sudden back complaint early in the second set cut her week short.

Kristina Mladenovic also started her U.S hard court swing in San Jose last week. Mladenovic’s campaign was over at the first hurdle as she was defeated by Timea Babos 4-6 2-6. Prior to that Mladenovic had a decent grass court season, she is certainly playing better lately than she did during her horror run late last year.

The only previous match between the pair took place at Wimbledon in 2015, Azarenka claimed a 6-4 6-4 victory.

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Serena Williams vs. Kristina Mladenovic, Wimbledon R3 Preview

🇬🇧 Wimbledon, R3 Preview
🇺🇸 (25) Serena Williams vs. 🇫🇷 Kristina Mladenovic

Serena Williams faces her first real test of the tournament when she takes on Kristina Mladenovic on Friday with a spot in the fourth round up for grabs at Wimbledon. It was hard to know what to expect from Serena heading into this event but after a couple of matches it seems she is a genuine contender in a draw that has already lost multiple big names. However, Mladenovic has pushed Serena in the past and often raises her level for matches like this where she has nothing to lose. Can the Frenchwoman cause a big upset?

Kristina Mladenovic of France in action during the second round at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships Grand Slam tournament

Serena Williams has gradually improved her level over her first couple of matches this week. The 7-time former champion started the event with a nervy 7-5 6-3 victory over Arantxa Rus. Serena looked far more comfortable in a 6-1 6-4 victory over Viktoriya Tomova. Whilst the calibre of opponent hasn’t been too troublesome, the signs are good for Serena, her serve is working well, her movement is also looking much sharper than it did in previous events this year.

Kristina Mladenovic arrived at Wimbledon having been eliminated at the opening round stage in her last 3 Grand Slam appearances. Therefore, it has already been a great event for the Frenchwoman as she has equaled her best ever showing at SW19. Mladenovic started the event with a 5-7 6-2 6-2 win over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova before claiming a commanding 6-2 6-2 win over Tatjana Maria. Importantly, Mladenovic’s match against Maria was moved to Centre Court, a good experience before this big match with Serena.

The only previous match between the pair took place at Roland Garros in 2016. It was an extremely competitive match, Serena ultimately claimed a 6-4 7-6 victory. It will be interesting to see how this match-up pans out on a grass court.

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Tatjana Maria vs. Kristina Mladenovic, Wimbledon R2 Preview

🇬🇧 Wimbledon, R2 Preview
🇩🇪 Tatjana Maria vs. 🇫🇷 Kristina Mladenovic

An interesting second round match-up from Wimbledon on Wednesday sees in-form German: Tatjana Maria take on talented Frenchwoman: Kristina Mladenovic. Maria enters this match on a 6-match winning streak and fresh off a huge opening round upset victory over the 5th seeded Elina Svitolina. However, the German has never beaten Mladenovic before and has only made it past the second round of a Grand Slam on 1 prior occasion. Can the German continue her hot-streak?

Tatjana Maria started her 2018 Wimbledon campaign with the biggest win of her career, a 7-6 4-6 6-1 victory over Elina Svitolina. Maria’s eclectic game was too much for an out of sorts Svitolina to handle. The 30-year-old had the perfect preparation for Wimbledon after winning the first title of her career in Mallorca, defeating the likes of Anett Kontaveit, Carina Witthoeft, Lucie Safarova and Anastasija Sevastova on route to the title, an impressive set of results. It is fair to say the German is currently playing the best tennis of her career.

Kristina Mladenovic battled through a tough opening round match with Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, the Frenchwoman eventually proved to be a class above as she claimed a hard-fought 5-7 6-2 6-2 victory. Mladenovic’s recent form has not been great but it has been decent. There is less pressure on Mladenovic at the moment, her ranking now reflects her true standing and she doesn’t have the added stress of large chunks of points to defend.

Mladenovic has won the 2 previous encounters between the pair. A 6-4 6-3 win on clay in Charleston in 2016, more recently Mladenovic defeated the German 7-5 3-6 6-3 on a hard court in Washington last year. Wednesday’s meeting will be their first on a grass court, a surface that seemingly gives Maria her best chance at victory in this match-up.

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Ashleigh Barty vs. Kristina Mladenovic, Eastbourne R2 Preview

🇬🇧 Nature Valley International, Eastbourne R2 Preview
🇦🇺 (8) Ashleigh Barty vs. 🇫🇷 Kristina Mladenovic

Ashleigh Barty and Kristina Mladenovic will go head-to-head for the first time when they meet at the second round stage of the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne on Tuesday. Barty heads into this match as a strong favourite but Mladenovic is a dangerous opponent when she gets her game together, can the Frenchwoman cause another early round upset in Eastbourne?

Kristina Mladenovic of France in action at the 2018 Nature Valley International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Ash Barty has displayed her grass court prowess over the last few weeks, a champion in Nottingham a few weeks ago but more recently the Aussie suffered an early round exit in Birmingham and will be keen to for a good week in Eastbourne. Barty beat the likes of Naomi Osaka and Johanna Konta on route to a second career title in Nottingham but was beaten by Julia Goerges in straight sets in Birmingham last week.

Kristina Mladenovic secured her spot in the second round in Eastbourne with an extremely hard-fought 6-7 7-5 6-3 victory over Heather Watson. The problem for the Frenchwoman in 2018 has been winning back to back matches, something she has only been able to achieve on 3 occasions, it will be tough ask to add to that tally against Barty.

This will be an interesting match-up, both have great skill and variety all around the court, this should be a good match to watch. Who will prevail?

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Kristina Mladenovic vs. Heather Watson, Eastbourne R1 Preview

Nature Valley International, Eastbourne R1 Preview
🇫🇷 Kristina Mladenovic vs. 🇬🇧 (wc) Heather Watson

Kristina Mladenovic and Heather Watson will renew hostilities when they meet at the opening round stage of the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne. The pressure is on Watson this week, the Brit is defending semi-finalist points after a great run to the final 4 last year. Ranked just inside the top 100, Watson’s ranking will slip dramatically with an early round loss this week.

Heather Watson of Great Britain in action at the 2018 Nature Valley Classic WTA Premier tennis tournament

Mladenovic started her grass court campaign in Birmingham last week where she suffered a second round exit. The Frenchwoman did have a good opening round win in Birmingham, coming from a set down to beat Katerina Siniakova but was beaten by Magdalena Rybarikova from a set up in the second round. Mladenovic has had decent results on grass over the last few seasons, she certainly has the skills to play well on this surface.

Watson is already playing in her fourth event of the grass court swing having started at an ITF event a month ago. It has been a poor year for Watson and that hasn’t changed over the last few weeks. Watson arrives in Eastbourne fresh off a disappointing first round loss at the hands of Lesia Tsurenko in Birmingham. Grass is Watson’s best surface but she has yet prove that in her recent performances.

Mladenovic holds a 4-2 head-to-head record over Watson. The most recent match between the pair took place in Acapulco last year, a 7-6 6-7 7-5 win for Mladenovic in what was a very messy match. Mladenovic has won the last 3 matches between the pair but this will be their first meeting on grass, a surface that gives Watson a better chance in this match-up.

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