Anastasija Sevastova vs. Kristina Mladenovic, CincyTennis R1 Preview

?? Western & Southern Open – R1 Preview + Prediction:
?? Anastasija Sevastova vs. ?? Kristina Mladenovic

Anastasija Sevastova comes up against Kristina Mladenovic in the opening round of the Western & Southern Open in New York. Will the Latvian make a winning return in a city she has enjoyed the greatest successes in her career?

Sevastova and Mladenovic both made disappointing restarts to tour action on the European clay. Sevastova was beaten in straight sets by Irina-Camelia Begu in the first round in Prague whilst Mladenovic was beaten in 3 sets by Ekaterina Alexandrova in the opening round in Palermo. Both will be keen to grab in a win at the Western & Southern Open before heading into the US Open next week.

Flushing Meadows has been a very happy hunting ground for Sevastova over the years. The Latvian has achieved her greatest results in New York at the US Open having reached the semi-finals in 2018 and the quarter-finals in 2016 and 2017, her 3 best results at the Grand Slam level. It will be interesting to see if Sevastova can replicate those efforts over the next couple of weeks.

Sevastova holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Mladenovic. However, it was Mladenovic who won their most recent meeting, a 7/5 3/6 6/3 win in St. Petersburg late last year, the only previous match between the pair on a hard court.

I’m going to side with Sevastova here. Sevastova loves playing in New York and will surely be confident heading into this match because of her recent record at Flushing Meadows. In general, I believe this is a good match-up for the Latvian. Sevastova has the consistency and versatility to make life very tough for Mladenovic. Sevastova’s consistency from the back of the court, coupled with her drop shots, passing shots and lobs make her a troublesome match-up for the Frenchwoman.

Prediction: Anastasija Sevastova to defeat Kristina Mladenovic in 2 sets

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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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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Maria Sharapova vs. Kristina Mladenovic, Madrid R3 Preview

Mutua Madrid Open, R3 Preview
?? Maria Sharapova vs. ?? Kristina Mladenovic

Maria Sharapova and Kristina Mladenovic will renew hostilities when they meet at the third round stage of the Mutua Madrid Open. This is a big of grudge match, Mladenovic was one of the most vocal players in opposing Sharapova’s apparent lenient treatment and welcoming return to the tour after a doping suspension. The pair played out a tense match in Stuttgart last year in Sharapova’s return tournament and it was Mladenovic who came from a set down to win, can Sharapova get revenge in Madrid?

Maria Sharapova of Russia in action at the 2018 Mutua Madrid Open

Maria Sharapova has advanced to the third round in Madrid without dropping a set. Sharapova claimed back-to-back wins over Romanian’s. beating Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-4 6-1 and Irina-Camelia Begu 7-5 6-1. Sharapova’s wins were fairly similar, a tough opening set where the former Madrid champion seemingly broke the spirit of her opponents before running away with the match. Sharapova is playing some of the better tennis we have seen from her in 2018 across her first few matches this week, incredibly she won 19 straight points during the second set of her win over Begu.

Kristina Mladenovic has won back-to-back matches for the first time since Acapulco over 2 months ago. Mladenovic has good memories in Madrid having reached the final last year where she just fell short in an epic 3 set match against Simona Halep. Mladenovic is under pressure to defend those finalist points this year as she would like to remain in the top 30 and be seeded for Roland Garros which is just around the corner. Mladenovic started her 2018 Madrid campaign with a 7-5 6-0 win over CoCo Vandeweghe before beating Shuai Zhang 6-4 4-6 6-3.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. The pair first met at Wimbledon way back in 2013 where Sharapova won in 2 tight sets, more recently it was Mladenovic who won 3-6 7-5 6-4 in Stuttgart last year.

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Kristina Mladenovic vs Qiang Wang, Indian Wells R3 Preview

BNP Paribas Open, ??? Indian Wells R3 Preview
?? (14) Kristina Mladenovic vs. ?? Qiang Wang

An interesting third round clash from the Californian desert sees the 14th seeded Kristina Mladenovic take on China’s Qiang Wang at the BNP Paribas Open. Wang has proven to be a very troublesome opponent for Mladenovic, Wang thrashed Mladenovic 6-0 6-0 in Tokyo last year in what was probably the low point in Mladenovic’s career. The Frenchwoman has turned her fortunes around of late, the 2017 Indian Wells semi-finalist will head into this match with a point to prove.

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Mladenovic’s slump seems to be behind her. Mladenovic has had some good results of late, including a run to the final in St. Petersburg and more recently a quarter-final showing in Acapulco. Mladenovic received bye through the opening round in Indian Wells before confirming her spot in the third round with a 7-5 7-5 win over Sam Stosur. It was a gutsy win for Mladenovic, especially her effort in the second set given she faced break points to go 1-5 down before recovering to close out the match in straight sets.

Qiang Wang booked her place in the third round at the BNP Paribas Open courtesy of a couple of hard-fought 3 set victories. Wang started the week with a topsy-turvy 6-0 4-6 6-2 win over Timea Bacsinszky before coming from a set down to upset the 22nd seeded Elise Mertens 4-6 6-3 6-3. Wang’s win over Mertens was her best win of the season thus far, a confidence boosting win for the 26-year-old.

Wang has won both of the previous matches between the pair, both in straight sets, both on a hard court in 2017. A 6-1 6-4 win in Dubai and a 6-0 6-0 win in Tokyo.

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Kristina Mladenovic vs Samantha Stosur, Indian Wells R2 Preview

BNP Paribas Open, ??? Indian Wells R2 Preview
?? (14) Kristina Mladenovic vs. ?? Samantha Stosur

The 14th seeded Kristina Mladenovic will begin her 2018 BNP Paribas Open campaign with a difficult second round clash against Australia’s Samantha Stosur. Mladenovic went on a big run to the semi-finals at this event 12 months ago, as a result she has a significant chunk of points to defend over the next fortnight, the pressure is on the Frenchwoman. Adding to the pressure is the fact that Stosur has a 4-0 H2H record over Mladenovic, will Stosur maintain her unbeaten record against Mladenovic?

Mladenovic has managed to gain some kind of momentum over the last month. The 24-year-old ignited her season with a run to the final in St. Petersburg before heroically guiding France into the Fed Cup semi-finals. Mladenovic arrives in Indian Wells fresh off a quarter-final showing in Acapulco. However there have been some poor losses of late, including a miserable loss to Lesia Tsurenko at the quarter-final stage in Acapulco last week. This second round clash in Indian Wells looms as a critical moment in the season for Mladenovic, a win would be huge, a loss would be another blow to her confidence.

Sam Stosur booked her spot in the second round at the BNP Paribas Open with a 3-6 6-3 6-3 victory over Lauren Davis, the win extended Stosur’s unbeaten record against Davis to 4-0. Stosur has managed to build some momentum over the last month, Stosur won 3 consecutive matches for the first time in a while as she successfully came through the qualifying draw in Dubai a few weeks ago. The surface in Indian Wells is certainly favourable for Stosur as she gets plenty of time to run around and hit her forehand more often than not.

Stosur holds an unbeaten 4-0 record over Mladenovic, a 2-0 record on hard courts. The most recent match between the pair took place in Washington in 2015, Stosur won that match 6-2 6-2. Clearly this is a favourable match-up for Stosur.

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Kristina Mladenovic vs Lesia Tsurenko, Acapulco QF Preview

Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, ??? Acapulco QF Preview
?? (2) Kristina Mladenovic vs. ?? (7) Lesia Tsurenko

Kristina Mladenovic and Lesia Tsurenko will meet at the quarter-final stage of the 2018 Abierto Mexicano in a rematch of last year’s final. It was Tsurenko who got the better of Mladenovic in last year’s final, a fairly convincing straight set win for the Ukrainian. A resurgent Mladenovic will be eager for revenge heading into this match but the Frenchwoman has a poor 1-5 win/loss record against Tsurenko and will need to be at her best to get over the line.

Mladenovic’s terrible form slump seems to be well and truly behind her. The Frenchwoman is certainly playing with a renewed confidence but has still shown signs of vulnerability. The 2nd seed started the week with a commanding straight set win over Amandine Hesse before fighting from a set down to defeat Beatriz Haddad Maia 3-6 6-3 7-5. Mladenovic did well to eventually get over the line against the spirited Brazilian, especially after squandering 3 match points whilst serving for the match at 5-4. Mladenovic played with good variety and was smarter with her shot selection.

Lesia Tsurenko has been untroubled in her first couple of matches in Acapulco. The defending champion kicked off her 2018 Abierto Mexicano campaign with a 6-4 6-1 win over Lauren Davis before cruising past Arina Rodionova 6-3 6-1. Tsurenko will be relieved to have comfortably come through her first few matches this week and can now play with less pressure as she enters the business end of the week.

This has proven to be a good matchup for Tsurenko. It is the Ukrainian who holds a 5-1 record over Mladenovic and has won their two most recent matches in straight sets. A 7-5 6-1 win in last year’s Acapulco final and a 6-3 6-1 win in s-Hertogenbosch a few months later. Tsurenko’s consistency has exposed the weaknesses in the Mladenovic game.

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Kristina Mladenovic vs Pauline Parmentier, Wimbledon R1 Preview

Wimbledon ???? Day 2, R1 Match Preview:
(12) ?? Kristina Mladenovic vs ?? Pauline Parmentier

Kristina Mladenovic will open her 2017 Wimbledon campaign on Tuesday against compatriot Pauline Parmentier. Kristina Mladenovic has been one of the most consistent performers in 2017, Mladenovic has shown her ability to perform well on each surface. Mladenovic has not traditionally played her best on grass but she has the game to be very dangerous on this surface, given her significant improvements in 2017, the Frenchwoman is one to look out for at SW19.

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