?? Nature Valley Open, Nottingham R1 Preview
?? (1) Ashleigh Barty vs. ?? Stefanie Voegele
The top seeded Ashleigh Barty opens her Nottingham campaign on Tuesday with first round clash against Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele. This is the time of the year for Barty to shine, the Aussie thrives on grass and is a player on the rise. The Aussie is the obvious pick to go on and win the title this week in Nottingham, can Voegele give her an early test?
Ash Barty had a great clay court season given clay is easily her least preferred surface. In 2017 Barty had some great results during the grass swing, a quarter-final showing in Nottingham and a runner-up in Birmingham, unfortunately she was beaten in the opening round at Wimbledon where she lost to Elin Svitolina. There is a great opportunity for Barty to push up the rankings over the next month, especially with no points to defend at Wimbledon, don’t be surprised to see her crack the top 10 for the first time.
Unlike Barty, grass is not a good surface for Voegele. Voegele has not won a tour level match on grass since 2013. Nevertheless, Voegele has been in decent form of late and will head into this opening round with nothing to lose.
The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. The most recent match between the two was in a Fed Cup match on clay in 2013, a 6-3 6-4 victory for Barty.
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Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, ??? Acapulco Final Preview
? ?? (7) Lesia Tsurenko vs. ?? Stefanie Voegele
Lesia Tsurenko will be playing for back-to-back Abierto Mexicano titles on Saturday when she comes up against Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele. Tsurenko is on a 9-match winning streak in Acapulco and has strolled through the draw this week without dropping a set. Tsurenko will head into this final as a strong favourite against the world number 183: Stefanie Voegele. Voegele will be playing in her very first final, against a much more established opponent, can the 27-year-old Swiss cause a big upset?
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Lesia Tsurenko will have a chance to successfully defend a title for the first time in her career. Tsurenko has 3 career titles to her name, winning 1 title in each of the last 3 seasons, a fourth season in a row with a title would be a great result for the 28-year-old. Tsurenko has strolled into Saturday’s Abierto Mexicano final without dropping a set. Tsurenko started the week with comfortable wins over Lauren Davis and Arina Rodionova. The 7th seed has stepped up her game towards the business end of the event, beating Kristina Mladenovic 6-2 6-2 and confirming her post in the final with a 6-2 6-4 win over Daria Gavrilova. Tsurenko successfully exposed the weak backhand side and vulnerable second serve of both Mladenovic and Gavrilova, playing a very consistent and tactically astute game from the baseline.
It was 9th time lucky for Stefanie Voegele as she finally booked her spot in her maiden WTA tour level championship match. Voegele had lost her 8 previous semi-finals making her 6-4 7-6 semi-final win over Rebecca Peterson a sweet one. Voegele was in control for the majority of the match, successfully taking time away from her opponent and serving well throughout the match. Voegele has also claimed straight set wins over Tatjana Maria and Maria Sakkari as well as a notable 3 set win over the top seeded Sloane Stephens in the quarter-finals.
Tsurenko holds a 4-1 head-to-head record over Voegele. Tsurenko won the first four matches between the pair, all in straight sets. It is worth noting that all of those matches were tight despite the straight set result, each of the matches featured at least one tiebreak set. Most recently it was Voegele who won, 6-4 6-0 in Katowice in 2016.
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Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, ??? Acapulco SF Preview
?? Stefanie Voegele vs ?? (Q) Rebecca Peterson
A hugely surprising semi-final match-up at the Abierto Mexicano sees Stefanie Voegele come up against Rebecca Peterson, a match-up between two players ranked well outside the top 100. Voegele and Peterson both secured their spot in the final in Acapulco with upset victories over seeded opponents on Thursday, both will be confident heading into this match. This is a huge opportunity for both, who will step up?
It has been a great week for Stefanie Voegele who is into the semi-finals of a WTA tour level event for first time since Luxembourg 2015. Voegele started the week with straight set wins over Tatjana Maria and Maria Sakkari. It was at the quarter-final stage where Voegele claimed her biggest scalp, a 6-4 5-7 6-2 win over the top seeded Sloane Stephens. Voegele’s win over Stephens’ was her first win over a top 20 opponent since she beat Stephens in Luxembourg in 2013.
Rebecca Peterson is playing the tennis of her life this week in Acapulco. The Swede has stormed through both the qualifying draw and main without dropping a set. Peterson cruised past 3 far higher ranked opponents to reach her very first WTA tour level semi-final, wins over Alize Cornet, Monica Puig and Shuai Zhang. Peterson has consistently played her very best tennis, obliterating her opponents with her heavy forehand and making a mockery of the rankings system in the process.
This will be the first career meeting between Voegele and Peterson, surprisingly it will come at the semi-final stage of a WTA tour level event.
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Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, ??? Acapulco QF Preview
?? (1) Sloane Stephens vs. ?? Stefanie Voegele
Sloane Stephens will be back in action on Thursday where she takes on Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele in the Abierto Mexicano quarter-finals. Stephens survived match point in her 3 set second round victory, perhaps a turning point for the reigning U.S Open champion and 2016 Acapulco champion. Sloane will head into this match as a strong favourite and will hope for a more clinical performance than her previous match.
Stephens arrived in Acapulco having not won a match since her U.S Open triumph almost 6 months ago. The American finally got back onto the winners list with a straight set win over Pauline Parmentier in the opening round. Stephens looked set for another disappointing loss when she twice trailed Arantxa Rus by a set and a break, her Dutch opponent served for the match at 5-4 in the second set. Stephens managed to force a second set tiebreak where she came from 1-4 down and saved match point to force a decider. It was 1 way traffic in the deciding set as Stephens claimed an important 5-7 7-6 6-0 victory.
Stefanie Voegele is having her best week of the season so far. Voegele is into her first tour level quarter-final since Tianjin last year courtesy of a couple of straight set victories. Voegele eliminated the 8th seeded Tatjana Maria in the opening round before defeating Maria Sakkari 6-3 6-4 to advance to the final 8 in Acapulco. This is a huge result for Voegele given she currently sits at number 183 in the world.
Interestingly, it is Voegele who holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Stephens. The most recent match between the pair was way back in 2013, a 3 set win for Voegele in Luxembourg, Voegele also beat Stephens the week before that in 3 sets in Linz.
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