??? Roland Garros, R2 preview + prediction: ?? (5) Kiki Bertens vs. ?? (Q) Sara Errani
An interesting second round match-up from Roland Garros sees the 5th seeded Kiki Bertens come up against a resurgent Sara Errani. Bertens has struggled in recent times to find the form that has seen her be one of the best performers on clay over the last few years, the world number 8 will need to raise her level for this match against an opponent that is on a roll.
Kiki Bertens arrived in Paris under an injury cloud after retiring from her opening round match in Strasbourg last week. The signs weren’t good for Bertens in her Roland Garros opener, but she managed to overcome a slow start to get the better of Katarina Zavatska 2-6 6-2 6-0, her first win since the tour restart. Bertens achieved her greatest result at a major in 2016 when she reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros.
Sara Errani confirmed a second round showdown with the 5th seeded Bertens thanks to a dominant 6-2 6-1 victory over Monica Puig, the Italian’s first main daw victory at a Grand Slam since Roland Garros 2017. The 2012 Roland Garros runner-up is yet to drop a set all tournament having also won 3 straight set matches over Ekaterine Gorgodze, Eva Guerrero Alvarez and Tereza Martincova to secure her passage through the qualifying draw.
Errani holds a 5-0 head-to-head record over Bertens, 2 of those victories came via retirement. The most recent match between the pair took place at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Errani won 4-6 6-4 6-3. Much has changed since their last meeting, Bertens is now one of the top players in the world and will be a strong favourite to claim her first victory over the Italian when they meet in Paris.
I’m going to give Bertens the benefit of the doubt here. Bertens hasn’t been convincing at all over the last few weeks but she should be able to find a level high enough to get the better of Errani. With a win finally under her belt, I expect Bertens to improve. Bertens should be too strong, Errani hasn’t defeated a player of the Dutchwoman’s calibre in a very long time. Errani’s dodgy serve is still her major weakness, a weakness Bertens should be smart enough to exploit. Bertens has the controlled aggression to outplay Errani from the baseline.
Prediction: Kiki Bertens to defeat Sara Errani in 2 sets
??? Roland Garros, R1 preview + prediction: ?? Monica Puig vs. ?? (Q) Sara Errani
Sara Errani will be searching for her first ever victory over Monica Puig when the pair clash at the opening round stage at Roland Garros. Puig has won all 4 of the previous meetings between the pair, but heads into this match in poor form. It is Errani who heads into this match as the favourite despite her miserable record against the Puerto Rican, thanks to her solid form during the qualification stages in Pairs and greater reliability on the red dirt.
Monica Puig has a dismal 2-10 win/loss record in 2020 (including exhibition matches). Puig arrives at Roland Garros short of match practise given that she hasn’t played any clay court matches since the tour restart. Puig was last in action in New York where she was beaten in the opening round of the qualifying stage at the Western & Southern Open by Katie Volynets, followed by an opening round loss to Margarita Gasparyan at the US Open. The good news for Puig is that Roland Garros has been her most successful Grand Slam, the 27-year-old reached the third round in Paris last year.
Sara Errani enters this opening round clash with form on her side after successfully navigating her way through the qualifying draw with 3 victories. The 33-year-old moved through the qualifying draw without dropping a set, claiming straight set wins over Ekaterine Gorgodze, Eva Guerrero Alvarez and Tereza Martincova. Roland Garros has been the Italian’s most successful major. The Italian reached the final in 2012 and progressed to at least the quarter-final stage 3 years in row after her run to the final.
Monica Puig holds a 4-0 head-to-head record over Errani, 3 of those victories were commanding straight set victories, including a 6-0 6-1 victory on green clay in Charleston last year.
I’m going to side with Errani here despite her horrible head-to-head record against Puig. Puig has not won a tour level match in 2020, she hasn’t won a tour level match on clay since Roland Garros last year. Errani is battled-hardened having won 3 matches in the qualifying draw at a tournament she has had great success at in the past. Puig’s powerful game has clearly caused Errani problems in the past, but it is unlikely Puig will be able to consistently hit through Errani on a slow clay court given her recent form and lack of confidence. Expect Errani to be too solid here.
Prediction: Sara Errani to defeat Monica Puig in 2 sets
??☀️ Palermo Ladies Open – QF Preview + Prediction ?? Fiona Ferro vs. ?? (wc) Sara Errani
A pair of clay court specialists will go head-to-head when Fiona Ferro takes on Sara Errani for a spot in the semi-finals at the Palermo Ladies Open.
Fiona Ferro is on a roll. The 23-year-old has won 12 matches in a row having arrived in Palermo with a 10-match winning streak at exhibition events. Ferro cruised through the opening round in Palermo with a 6/2 6/1 win over Nadia Podoroska. Ferro secured her spot in the final 8 with a 7/5 6/2 win over the 8th seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova. Ferro has a strong clay court record having amassed a 45/18 win/loss record on clay since the start of 2018,
Sara Errani has been in vintage form in Palermo to reach her first tour level quarter-final in over a year. The Italian claimed a pair of gutsy 3 set wins to reach the final 8. Errani started the week with a 7/5 1/6 6/4 win over Sorana Cirstea, followed by a 3/6 6/4 6/3 victory against Kristyna Pliskova, an especially encouraging win for the 33-year-old over a powerful opponent. Errani has more tour-level wins on a clay court than any other active player on the WTA tour.
It was Ferro who emerged victorious in the only previous meeting between the pair. The Frenchwoman claimed a 1/6 6/3 6/4 win during the qualification stage in Rabat last year.
Ferro comes into this match as a very strong favourite but don’t discount Errani. Expect this to be closer than the odds suggest but ultimately Ferro should be too strong for Errani. Ferro is full of confidence at the moment given her large winning streak and has the complete game on this surface to deal with the threats of Errani. Ferro has the controlled power and the stamina to outlast Errani.
Prediction: Fiona Ferro to defeat Sara Errani in 3 sets
??☀️ Palermo Ladies Open – R2 Preview + Prediction ?? (wc) Sara Errani vs. ?? Kristyna Pliskova
An interesting second round clash at the Palermo Ladies Open sees Sara Errani come up against Kristyna Pliskova in a match-up that features a huge contrast in styles. The consistent, grinding game of Errani against the big serving Pliskova.
Errani advanced to the second round in Palermo with a typically gutsy win. The veteran Italian outlasted Sorana Cirstea to claim a 7/5 1/6 6/4 victory. Errani seemed to be struggling physically towards to the end of her match with the Romanian but somehow managed to dig deep, raising her level just when she needed to in order to secure an important win. Importantly Errani seems to have improved her terribly vulnerable serve, Errani served only a couple of double faults in her win over Cirstea and didn’t serve underarm.
Pliskova caused the biggest upset of the tournament thus far when she defeated the third seeded Maria Sakkari in straight sets, a surprisingly easy 6/4 6/4 win. Pliskova’s biggest weapon was firing in her win of Sakkari, her serve, Pliskova went through the match without dropping serve and consistently came up big under pressure. Pliskova won a whopping 81% of points behind her first serve.
This will be the first career meeting between the pair.
I’m fascinated to see how this match-up pans out. I’ll give the slight edge to Errani, I think the Italian will be smart enough to get the better of Pliskova on a clay court. Pliskova was awesome in the first round but the chances of her repeating that level here are low, anything other than her best won’t get the job done against Errani on a clay court. Errani showed great signs herself in the first round and will fancy her chances here. Expect the consistency and versatility of Errani to be the undoing on Pliskova.
Prediction: Sara Errani to defeat Kristyna Pliskova in 3 sets
Roland Garros, R1 Preview ?? (32) Alize Cornet vs. ?? Sara Errani
Alize Cornet and Sara Errani will renew hostilities when they meet at the opening round stage at Roland Garros on Sunday. This is a bit of a grudge match-up, two fierce competitors that don’t particularly like each other. Expect a long, tough battle between these two. Will the Frenchwoman prevail in Paris or will the Italian workhorse be too strong?
Alize Cornet has a long, long history in Paris. For so long Cornet has been the leader of French hopes on the women’s side but that is no longer the case with Garcia and Mladenovic moving past Cornet in the French pecking order. Cornet’s form in the lead-up to Roland Garros has been poor, Cornet was beaten in the opening round in Madrid, albeit a very tough draw against Svitolina and was unable to compete in Rome or Strasbourg. Prior to that Cornet suffered early round losses in Lugano and Stuttgart.
Sara Errani, a former finalist in Paris arrives at this years event with very little expectation. Errani may not be the player that she once was but she still has her competitive edge and desire to chase down every ball. Like Cornet, Errani’s recent form is not great. Most recently Errani suffered an opening round exit in Rome at the hands of Timea Babos and the Italian has a modest 5-5 record in main draw matches on clay in 2018.
Errani holds a 4-3 H2H advantage over Cornet. However, it is the Frenchwoman who has won the last couple of matches between the pair, most recently a 6-3 6-4 win in Rome last year.
To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here
?? Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, R2 Preview ?? (6) Angelique Kerber vs ?? (Q) Sara Errani
Angelique Kerber and Sara Errani will renew hostilities when they meet at the second round stage of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Wednesday. This will be an interesting battle between two of the toughest competitors on tour. On paper this looks like huge mismatch as Kerber ranked over 100 places above Errani. However, Errani is a former champion in Dubai, has already won 4 matches this week having come through the qualifying draw and holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over the German.
Angelique Kerber rolled through her opening round match in Dubai, beating Barbora Strycova 6-2 6-1 in a little under an hour. Kerber has been extremely consistent in 2018, amassing an impressive 17/2 win/loss record across all competitions, the best start to a season Kerber has ever made in terms of win/loss records up until this stage of the year. Kerber is certainly the player to beat this week in Dubai, the German looks extremely motivated right now and her form speaks for itself.
Sara Errani is having another good week in Dubai. The 2016 champion made her way through the qualifying draw, winning 3 matches to secure her spot in the main draw. Errani notably came from 1-4 down in the deciding set against Aryna Sabalenka to secure her spot in the main draw. Errani confirmed her place in the second with a 6-4 6-3 over fellow qualifier Lesia Tsurenko, a good win for the Italian.
It is Sara Errani who holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Kerber. The pair have not met since 2012 when they were both in the top 10, Errani upset Kerber at the U.S Open 7-6 6-3 and also beat the German earlier in the year in straight sets at Roland Garros. Much has changed since then, Kerber has improved dramatically whilst Errani now find herself out of the top 100. Will this shift show in their Dubai encounter?
?? Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, R1 Preview ?? (Q) Sara Errani vs ?? (Q) Lesia Tsurenko
2016 Dubai champion Sara Errani will be back in action on Tuesday where she comes up against the Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko in the opening round of the main draw. Errani and Tsurenko both navigated their way through a tough qualifying draw in Dubai to reach the main draw. Both bring good momentum into this match and both will see this as a very winnable opening round match-up. It will be interesting to see who steps up and makes the most of this opportunity.
Sara Errani has a surprisingly great record in Dubai. Errani won the tournament in 2016 and reached the final of the event in 2013. The Italian’s ranking is still well outside the top 100 right now so she knows that every match is important as she looks to build her ranking back up into the top 100. Errani cruised past Shuko Aoyama and Bernarda Pera in the first few rounds of the qualifying draw before fighting form 1-4 down in the deciding set to defeat Aryna Sabalenka, a huge win for Errani against a very strong opponent.
Lesia Tsurenko’s progressions through the qualifying draw in Dubai was a bit of a roller-coaster rise. Tsurenko looked down and out against Ying-Ying Duan in the opening round when she trailed by a set and a double break, the Ukrainian fought back, saving match points to win in 3 sets. Tsurenko then cruised past Ons Jabeur and Zarina Diyas to secure her spot in the main draw.
The head-to-head record between the par is split at 1 win apiece. Errani beat Tsurenko in straight sets at the Rogers Cup in 2015 whilst more recently Tsurenko beat Errani 6-4 6-3 in Indian Wells in 2016.
Roland Garros, ??? R1 Preview + Prediction (Q) ?? Sara Errani vs ?? Misaki Doi
Former finalist, Sara Errani was forced to qualify for the main draw and she did so in style. Errani dropped just 7 games throughout three matches to advance to the main draw, perhaps this was the confidence boost the Italian required in order to rediscover her best form which would see her as a threat to most players on this surface. Errani opens her main draw campaign against Misaki Doi on Monday in Paris.
Miami Open, ???? R2 Match Preview (30) ?? Shuai Zhang vs ?? Sara Errani
Sara Errani is finally starting to gain some momentum in 2017. The Italian has plummeted down the rankings to outside the top 100 in recent times as she has struggled to find top form after some injury troubles. The last couple of weeks have been a bit more impressive for Errani, the former top 5 player has won a couple of tight matches in recent times including a hard-fought first round win in Miami over Belinda Bencic to set up a second round clash with the 30th seeded Shuai Zhang.
Miami Open, ???? R1 Match Preview ?? Sara Errani vs ?? Belinda Bencic
Injuries have plagued the progress of both Sara Errani and Belinda Bencic in recent times, the pair have stumbled to outside the top 100 in the rankings. Clearly, both ladies belong much higher than their current rankings suggest and both will enter this contest extremely desperate for a victory to kick-start their build back up the rankings. Bencic has won the only two previous matches between the pair but both have struggled in recent times having each won just two matches in 2017.