Roland Garros, ??? R1 Preview + Prediction
(31) ?? Roberta Vinci vs ?? Monica Puig
An intriguing opening round clash in Paris sees Roberta Vinci come up against Monica Puig. Vinci is arguably one the most vulnerable seeded players in the draw whilst Puig is one of the most dangerous unseeded players in the draw, making for an entertaining first round clash at Roland Garros.
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?? Mutua Madrid Open, R2 Match Preview
(3) ?? Simona Halep vs ?? Roberta Vinci
Simona Halep will continue her title defence at the Mutua Madrid Open on Tuesday with a potentially tricky second round clash against Roberta Vinci. The conditions in Madrid suit Halep perfectly, the Romanian has stated that she feels right at home on the Manolo Santana Court and looms as the favourite to win the title this week and go back-to-back at the premier-mandatory event.
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Miami Open, ???? R2 Match Preview
(25) ?? Roberta Vinci vs (Q) ?? Taylor Townsend
An interesting first-time match-up sees Roberta Vinci and Taylor Townsend go head-to-head in the second round of the Miami Open. Roberta Vinci will be beginning her Miami Open campaign after receiving a bye into the second round, whilst Taylor Townsend has already won three matches after coming through the qualifying draw. Roberta Vinci has struggled to find her best tennis in 2017 and has a poor recent record in Miami, however with experience on her side this is a match Vinci would expect to be winning.
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Australian Open, ?? First Round Match preview
(15) ?? Roberta Vinci vs ?? CoCo Vandeweghe
A fascinating first round clash at Melbourne Park sees Roberta Vinci come up against CoCo Vandeweghe. This match features an interesting contrast in styles, the delicate, all-court craft of Vinci up against the brute power of the American. This has been a good match-up for Vandeweghe in recent times, the American has won their two most recent clashes, including a straight set win at Wimbledon last year.
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Doha QF: (3) Agnieszka Radwanska vs (9) Roberta Vinci
The fourth and final quarter-final of the day at the Qatar Total Open promises to be the highest quality match of the day when Agnieszka Radwanska comes up against Roberta Vinci. This is a fascinating match-up between two of the smartest and craftiest players on tour and two of the most in form players on tour over the last couple of months. This match looks like have a big impact on who goes on to win the title this week in Doha.
Aga Radwanska is the highest seed left in the draw in Doha and seems to be in prime position to claim her first Qatar Total Open title. Radwanska has come close to winning a title in Doha on many occasion, reaching the semi-final stage in the three of the last four years, this looks like the year Aga could go a couple of steps better. The Pole started the week with a hard-fought 6-4 6-4 victory over Kateryna Bondarenko before claiming a 7-5 6-1 win over Monica Niculescu in a real tactical battle. Radwanska’s victory over Niculescu is the perfect preparation for a clash with Roberta Vinci, another match-up where Radwanska will need to tactically be at her best against the Italian.
Roberta Vinci has continued her winning ways in Doha. The Italian is competing in her first event as a top 10 player courtesy of a consistent start to the season. Vinci’s week in Doha started with a comprehensive 6-2 6-2 win over Lesia Tsurenko before winning an extremely tight contest against Daria Kasatkina 2-6 6-4 7-6. The Italian made the most of a favourable draw to advance to the quarter-final stage, claiming a 7-5 6-1 win over Cagla Buyukakcay. Vinci will need to overcome a very negative head-to-head record against Radwanska if she is to advance any further this week.
Radwanska holds a 7-2 head-to-head record over Vinci, however it was the Italian who won their most recent clash. Vinci recorded a shock 6-4 6-4 victory over the Pole in Beijing in 2014 in what their most recent match. Interestingly, all 7 of the previous matches between the pair ended in straight sets. I suspect Radwanska will emerge victorious on this occasion, the Pole has been very consistent recently and clearly enjoys playing Vinci and also enjoys the conditions in Doha which should further aid Aga in this match-up.
Prediction: Aga Radwanska to defeat Roberta Vinci in 2 sets
Day 2 in Dubai was again headlined by upsets as both of last week’s St. Petersburg finalists were dumped out of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in the first round. Roberta Vinci was defeated by Yaroslava Shvedova in 3 sets whilst Belinda Bencic also suffered a 3 set loss, succumbing to Jelena Jankovic.
Ana Ivanovic made a huge statement in her opening round match in Dubai. The Serb recorded the biggest victory of her season thus far in what was clearly her best performance of the season thus far, defeating Daria Gavrilova 6-1 6-0 in less than an hour of play. Ivanovic was surprisingly solid and made few unforced errors in a very clean match whilst Gavrilova was a huge disappointment, playing her worst match of the season thus far. Ivanovic’s reward is blockbuster second round clash with defending champion and top seed Simona Halep on Wednesday.
Barbora Strycova and Elina Svitolina also made strong starts to their Dubai campaign on Tuesday. Elina Svitolina won her first match with Justine Henin by her side, Svitolina was a class above Jana Cepelova, earning a reasonably comfortable 6-3 6-1 victory to set up a second round clash with Garbine Muguruza. Barbora Strycova produced an impressive display of all-court tennis to comfortably defeat Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4 6-3. Strycova served reasonably well and was very consistent from the baseline, using the drop shot very well against a slow moving Pironkova.
Belinda Bencic and Roberta Vinci were the two form players heading into this event after reaching the final in St. Petersburg last week. However, both ladies were unable to advance past the first round in Dubai on Tuesday. Belinda Bencic got herself into a winning position against Jelena Jankovic but lost her cool towards the end of the second set and ultimately suffered a disappointing 6-4 5-7 4-6 loss to the Serb. Roberta Vinci was a shadow of the player that stormed to the title in St. Petersburg, succumbing to Yaroslava Shvedova 0-6 6-4 3-6 in a topsy-turvy encounter. Sara Errani also advanced to the second round, defeating Chinese qualifier Saisai Zheng in straight sets.
Play will heat up on Wednesday in Dubai with a number of blockbuster second round matches including Ivanovic vs Halep, Muguruza vs Svitolina and Garcia vs Suarez Navarro. Every player left in the draw has some kind of a chance to go on to win the title this week, it will be interesting to see who makes the most of this relatively open draw at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
St. Petersburg Final: (1) Belinda Bencic vs (2) Roberta Vinci
Belinda Bencic and Roberta Vinci will go head-to-head for the very first time on Sunday when they meet in the final of the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy. Bencic and Vinci are both full of confidence heading into this match, an extremely tight final is to be expected.
Belinda Bencic has made a great start to the season, showing no signs of struggling to back-up her stunning 2015 season form. Bencic’s run to the final in St. Petersburg will see her enter the top 10 for the very first time when the new rankings come out next Monday. Bencic hasn’t been at her best this week in St. Petersburg but she has been mature enough to get the job done and take advantage of a favourable draw. Bencic started the week with a straight set victory over Annika Beck before coming from a set down to defeat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Bencic advanced to her first final of the season courtesy of 6-4 6-3 win over Daria Kasatkina.
Roberta Vinci continues to show improvement since her stunning run to the final at the U.S Open where she defeated Serena Williams. Vinci is having a great week in St. Petersburg and is now into her first ever premier level final, an amazing achievement at this stage of her career. Vinci got off the mark in St. Petersburg with a straight set victory over Yanina Wickmayer before working extremely hard for a three set victory over Timea Babos. Vinci’s biggest move was in the semi-finals where she defeated Ana Ivanovic 7-5 6-4. Vinci is playing with a lot of confidence at the moment and is probably playing the best tennis of her career.
This is going to be the first career meeting between the pair. On paper this looks like a very close match-up. Bencic and Vinci have been two of the most in form players over the last 6-8 months, this should be a really great final. I’m going to give the slight edge to the Italian. Vinci’s superior variety and competence at the net is going to be important against a player like Bencic who loves to rally from the baseline. I also think Vinci’s serve is a little more reliable at the moment and she will see this as a massive opportunity to win a premier title, she may not get many more.
Prediction: Roberta Vinci to defeat Belinda Bencic in 3 sets
St. Petersburg SF: (4) Ana Ivanovic vs (2) Roberta Vinci
Saturday’s first semi-final in St. Petersburg promises to be a fascinating encounter between Ana Ivanovic and Roberta Vinci. The careers of these two ladies have gone in totally different directions over the last couple of months. Ivanovic would usually head into a match against Vinci as a strong favourite but on this occasion it is Vinci who could rightfully claim favouritism. The contrast in styles between these two will make for a good spectacle.
Ana Ivanovic is now in a good position to reach her first final since Brisbane last year. The Serb has progressed through her opening two matches in St. Petersburg with relative ease, recording straight set victories over Margarita Gasparyan and Kateryna Kozlova. Ivanovic admits that this in an important week for her, recognising that this is a great opportunity to gain some much needed confidence after an extremely poor start to the season in Australia.
Roberta Vinci’s form has been solid ever since her shock run to the final in New York last year. The Italian veteran certainly gained a lot of confidence after her victory over Serena and seems to have a renewed sense of hope and belief. Vinci strolled through her opening round match in St. Petersburg, claiming a straight set win over Yanina Wickmayer but was forced to work much harder for her 7-6 4-6 7-6 quarter-final victory over Timea Babos. Vinci trailed by a break for the majority of the deciding set but did well to stick around and wait for Timea’s level to drop. Vinci was more solid when it mattered most in the deciding set tiebreak and she ultimately fought her way to a gutsy win.
Ana Ivanovic has a 6-3 head-to-head record over Roberta Vinci, however the Italian has won 3 of the last 5 encounters between the pair. Their most recent match was back in 2013 in Carlsbad, Ivanovic won that match 6-1 6-7 6-2, prior to that match Vinci thumped Ivanovic 6-0 6-0 at the Rogers Cup in 2012. This seem like a pretty even match-up on paper.
I’m going to give the slight edge to Roberta Vinci heading into this match. Vinci’s form has generally been better than Ana’s and she has a lot more confidence in her game. I think the surface will also help Vinci in this match-up, the relatively quick and low bouncing surface will allow Vinci to disrupt Ivanovic and draw errors. This should be a close one.
Prediction: Roberta Vinci to defeat Ana Ivanovic in 3 sets
St. Petersburg R2: (2) Roberta Vinci vs Yanina Wickmayer
After receiving a bye through the opening round, the second seeded Roberta Vinci will begin her St. Petersburg campaign on Wednesday evening with clash against Yanina Wickmayer. Roberta Vinci has an incredible recent record over Wickmayer having won the last 6 encounters between the pair, the Italian will be confident she can keep her winning streak over the Belgium going with a victory in St. Petersburg.
Roberta Vinci had a decent Australian summer but was ultimately left disappointed after a third round loss in Melbourne to Anna-Lena Friedsam. Vinci’s form since her shock run to the final in New York last year has been pretty consistent and she has therefore been able to maintain her spot in the top 20. The Italian will see this week as a good opportunity to go on a deep a run, a rare occasion where Roberta has been seeded so highly at a premier level event.
Yanina Wickmayer finally recorded her first main draw victory of the year on Tuesday, defeating Jelena Ostapenko 6-4 6-3 in her first round match in St. Petersburg. Wickmayer played some decent tennis and seemed to enjoy the conditions, the Belgium is certainly capable of playing some good tennis indoors. Yanina will need to be at her best on Wednesday if she is to advance any further this week.
Roberta Vinci holds a 6-2 head-to-head record over Yanina Wickmayer and has won the last 6 encounters between the pair. Vinci’s most recent win over Wickmayer was a crushing 6-0 6-2 win on clay in Estoril in 2014. This is clearly a bad match-up for Wickmayer and it is not hard to see why. Vinci is very good at mixing up her play and keeping the ball low through the court which is the type of play that really troubles Wickmayer. Vinci is also able to expose Wickmayer’s poor movement. Wickmayer did play well in her opening match and might be good enough to claim a set here but Vinci should win.
Prediction: Roberta Vinci to defeat Yanina Wickmayer in 3 sets
Brisbane QF: Victoria Azarenka vs (8) Roberta Vinci
Victoria Azarenka’s Australian Open preparation continues on Thursday night when she comes up against Roberta Vinci at the quarter-final stage of the Brisbane International. Victoria and Roberta have both played some high quality tennis in their opening matches at the event, this should be highly competitive clash on Pat Rafter Arena.
Victoria Azarenka seems to be in the best shape she has been in since she won back-to-back Australian Open titles in 2013. It looks like Vika will once against be a serious contender in Melbourne this year. The Belarussian has made a positive start to her Brisbane campaign, recording 2 relatively comfortable straight set victories.
Azarenka stormed through her first round encounter in impressive fashion, claiming 12 consecutive games on route to a 6-2 6-0 win over Elena Vesnina. The former champion advanced to the quarter-final stage with a 6-3 6-3 victory over lucky-loser Ysaline Bonaventure. The match wasn’t as easy as the scoreline might suggest, the opening set was particularly tough, lasting almost an hour. Eventually Vika got well on top of her inexperienced opponent. Vika will look forward to stepping things up when she takes on Roberta Vinci on Thursday, clearly her toughest opponent of the week thus far.
Roberta Vinci has carried her surprisingly good late 2015 season form into the new year. The Italian has advanced to the quarter-final stage in Brisbane courtesy of back-to-back victories over high quality opponents. Roberta started the week with a hard-fought 3-6 6-2 6-4 victory over Jelena Jankovic before thumping Dominika Cibulkova 6-1 6-1 in a surprisingly dominant display. Roberta was really impressive in her win over Dominika, it was a very complete performance in every aspect.
Victoria Azarenka has won all three previous encounters between the pair, all in straight sets. However the two have not played each other since Tokyo in 2012, Azarenka won that match 6-4 6-2. This is a good match-up for Azarenka, she isn’t really troubled by the Vinci slice and will be able to totally dictate play from the baseline. I suspect Vika will really step up her level in this match and continue her winning record over Roberta, she will need to serve a bit better than she has been in her opening two matches.
Prediction: Victoria Azarenka to defeat Roberta Vinci in 2 sets