Karolina Muchova vs. Venus Williams, US Open R1 Preview

2020 US OPEN – R1 preview + prediction: ??
?? (20) Karolina Muchova vs. ?? Venus Williams

A blockbuster opening round clash from the 2020 US Open sees 2-time former champion Venus Williams take on the 20th seeded Karolina Muchova. This will be the first career meeting between the pair in what is arguably the pick of the first round match-ups at this year’s championships.

Karolina Muchova made a decent start to her Flushing Meadows journey during the Western & Southern Open. Muchova defeated Ann Li in straight sets in the opening round before succumbing to Naomi Osaka in a competitive 3 set match. Whilst the Czech wasn’t able to get the job done against Osaka, it was a match that proved she can compete with the very best on this surface. The 24-year-old has a decent record at the US Open having reached the third round over the last couple of years in her only two appearances in the main draw.

At 40 years of age, Venus Williams is unsurprisingly the oldest players in the women’s singles draw at this year’s US Open. Williams brings decent form into the event. Williams returned to the tour at the Top Seed Open in Lexington where she defeated Victoria Azarenka in straight sets before succumbing to Serena Williams in 3 tights sets. Williams suffered another tight loss in her opening round match at the Western & Southern Open last week where she was beaten 7-5 in the deciding set by Dayana Yastremska. The draws certainly haven’t been kind to Williams, but that’s what can happen given her current ranking outside the top 50.

I’m going to give the edge to Muchova here. Muchova showed in her match against Naomi Osaka last week that her game matches up well against a big baseline hitter on this surface. Williams won’t be as challenging as Osaka was. Muchova has a great mix of power and versatility to her game, a style that is very well suited to the quick hard courts at Flushing Meadows. At this stage of their respective careers it is Muchova who should be getting the job done here. Two key factors could be Muchova’s greater stamina and greater reliability behind her serve.

Prediction: Karolina Muchova to defeat Venus Williams in 3 sets
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Dayana Yastremska vs. Venus Williams, CincyTennis R1 Preview

?? Western & Southern Open – R1 Preview
?? (16) Dayana Yastremska vs. ?? (wc) Venus Williams

A blockbuster opening round clash at the Western & Southern Open sees the 16th seeded Dayana Yastremska come up against 7-time major winner Venus Williams. This is a fascinating generational battle, the 20-year-old rising star against the 40-year-old veteran.

Yastremska made her return to the tour on clay in Palermo a few weeks ago where she reached the quarter-finals before succumbing to Camila Giorgi in 3 sets. Williams on the other hand made her tour restart on the hard courts of Lexington where she was beaten by Serena Williams in the second round in what was a high-quality match.

This will be the first career meeting between the pair. It will be fascinating to see how this one unfolds.

I’m going to side with Yastremska. At this stage of their respective careers it is Yastremska who should be able to overwhelm Williams with her power and greater movement. Not only can Yastremska match the power of Williams, she can beat it, Yastremska is the more explosive of the pair from the baseline. Yastremska has greater movement and stamina. Yastremska should be able to counter the power of Williams better than Williams can counter the power of Yastremska. Another big factor will be the Yastremska return of serve which should crack the vulnerable Williams serve.

Prediction: Dayana Yastremska to defeat Venus Williams in 3 sets

Elina Svitolina vs. Venus Williams, US Open R2 Preview

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?? (5) Elina Svitolina vs. ?? Venus Williams

The pick of the second round matches on day 3 of the US Open sees the 5th seeded Elina Svitolina take on 2-time former champion Venus Williams. Svitolina has won the last 2 matches between the pair in straight sets, the Ukrainian will head into this match as the favourite but Venus Williams is always a tough opponent at a major and will put a strong fight.

Elina Svitolina hasn’t had the best of seasons by her lofty standards, New York is her final chance in 2019 to capture that elusive Grand Slam singles title. Svitolina made a decent start to the tournament with a 6-1 7-5 win over Whitney Osuigwe. Svitolina may be the 5th seed but she has seemingly flown under the radar heading into this event, Svitolina did reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon a few months ago, a result that should give her the belief that she can go all the way at Flushing Meadows.

The longevity of Venus Williams is simply unprecedented. 18 years after winning her second US Open title the 39-year-old is still able to mix it with the best. Venus made a real statement in her opening match of the event with a 6-1 6-0 demolition of Saisai Zheng. Venus will need to produce a similarly high level against Svitolina if she is to pull off the upset.

Svitolina holds a 2-1 record over Williams. Svitolina has won the last couple of matches between the pair in straight sets, most recently Svitolina won 6-3 6-3 at the opening round stage of Roland Garros earlier this year.

I’m going to side with Svitolina. Svitolina is in the prime of her career whilst Venus is nearing the end, at this stage of their respective careers this is a favourable matchup for Svitolina. Williams struggles against the tours best counter-punchers, she has had poor recent results against players such as Angelique Kerber, Simona Halep and Sloane Stephens, Svitolina falls into this category. Svitolina’s consistency and athleticism should see her through this one without too much drama.

Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Venus Williams in 2 sets

Saisai Zheng vs. Venus Williams, US Open R1 Preview

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?? Saisai Zheng vs. ?? Venus Williams

An interesting opening round match-up in New York sees two of the most dangerous unseeded players in the draw go head-to-head as Saisai Zheng takes on Venus Williams. Zheng is full of confidence at the moment having recently won her first WTA tour level title in San Jose whilst Venus Williams arrives in New York fresh from a quarter-final showing in Cincinnati. Expect an entertaining clash between two contrasting styles.

Saisai Zheng has always been a player with great potential, Zheng recently reminded us of what she is capable of when she won the premier level title in San Jose to begin the US Open series. Zheng beat several tough opponent on route to the title, most notably a straight set win over Aryna Sabalenka in the final. Zheng did however lose in the opening round of the Rogers Cup to Tatjana Mara before succumbing to Aryna Sabalenka in the second round in Cincinnati. Zheng will be looking to regroup in New York and potentially move beyond the second round of a major for the first time.

Venus Williams received a much needed confidence boost a few weeks ago in Cincinnati where she beat several quality opponents on route to the final 8. Venus arrived in Cincinnati having lost 6 of her last 8 matches and in desperate need of strong run. That’s exactly what happened as Venus played some vintage tennis to defeat Lauren Davis, Kiki Bertens and Donna Vekic before succumbing to eventual champion Madison Keys. It will be interesting to see which Venus Williams shows up in New York.

The only previous meeting between the pair took place in Zhuhai in 2015, Venus won that match 4-6 6-1 6-1.

This is a difficult match to predict. It is hard to know what to expect from both players. I’m going to give the slight edge to Zheng. Venus is vulnerable, Zheng has the game to expose the weaknesses in the Williams game. Zheng’s versatility and strong defense have potential to cause Venus problems, especially early in the tournament when Venus hasn’t found her range. At this stage of their respective careers, I’d expect Zheng to be winning this match.

Prediction: Saisai Zheng to defeat Venus Williams in 3 sets

Elina Svitolina vs. Venus Williams, Roland Garros R1 Preview

???? Roland Garros, R1 Preview
?? (9) Elina Svitolina vs. ?? Venus Williams

The pick of the opening round match-ups in Paris sees the 9th seeded Elina Svitolina take on Venus Williams. Svitolina is still desperately searching for a maiden Grand Slam title whilst Williams is the most experienced player on tour and can never be underestimated. Can Williams produce another vintage performance to eliminate the 9th seed?

Venus Williams of the United States practices ahead of the 2019 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Elina Svitolina arrives in Paris on the back of her worst clay court lead-up ever. Svitolina has not won a match on clay in 2019 having suffered opening round losses in Madrid and Rome. Svitolina was beaten by Pauline Parmentier in Madrid and beaten by Victoria Azarenka in Rome where she was the two-time defending champion. Perhaps Svitolina’s poor form will be a blessing in disguise, she is fresh and has less expectations from the critics given her recent struggles on court.

Roland Garros has always been the most troublesome major for Venus Williams but she has been competitive on the surface in recent times. Venus reached the second week in Paris in 2016 and 2017 and is always a threat, no matter the circumstances. Venus played just the one clay court event prior to Paris where she reached the third round in Rome, Venus claimed an epic 3 set win over Elise Mertens in the first round in Rome, in a match that proved Venus is still capable on the red dirt, even in a lengthy battle.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. The most recent match between the pair took place n Cincinnati in 2017, Svitolina claimed a comfortable 6-2 6-1 win on that occasion, Interestingly, it was Venus who won their only previous match on a clay court, a 6-4 6-3 win in Rome in 2015.

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Serena Williams vs. Venus Williams, Rome R2 Preview

#IBI19 Rome R2 Preview
?? (10) Serena Williams vs. ?? (WC) Venus Williams

Serena Williams and Venus Williams will go head-to-head for the 31st time when they do battle at the second round stage of the Internazionali bnl d’Italia, Rome. Serena had dominated this match-up in recent times having won 9 of the last 11 meetings between the pair, however this will be their first meeting on clay in over 6 years and their first on red clay in over 14 years, so it will be interesting to see how the match pans out.

Venus Williams of the United States in action during her first-round match at the 2019 Internazionali BNL d’Italia WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Serena Williams made her much anticipated return to action with a fairly comfortable straight set win over Rebecca Peterson in Rome. Williams had not played since a 3 set opening round win over Rebecca Peterson in Miami. The tennis gods drew the pair together again in Rome and this time Williams was far too strong, winning 6-4 6-2. Importantly, the Williams serve was strong, she served 10 aces and won 82% of her first service points.

Venus Williams was also in action for the first time since Miami on Monday in Rome. Venus was made to work extremely hard to claim a gruelling upset victory over Elise Mertens in over 3 hours of play. Williams squandered 8 match points and saw a 5-1 third set lead evaporate before finally clinching a 7-5 3-6 7-6 victory over the Belgian, one of the biggest wins for Venus in recent times.

Serena holds an 18-12 head-to-head record over Venus. Serena thrashed Venus 6-1 6-2 at the US Open last year in their most recent match. Interestingly their second round meeting in Rome will be their first match-up on red clay since Roland Garros in 2002, so this will be a rare sight in one of the tour’s most prominent match-ups.

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Angelique Kerber vs. Venus Williams, Indian Wells QF Preview

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?? (8) Angelique Kerber vs. ?? Venus Williams

A blockbuster quarter-final clash from the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday evening sees Angelique Kerber take on Venus Williams, a match-up featuring two former world number 1’s and a combined 10 Grand Slam singles titles. Whilst the pair have both achieved so much, neither have previously won the title in Indian Wells, therefore we can assume both are hellbent on changing that fact over the next few days in the Californian desert.

Angelique Kerber of Germany in action during her fourth-round match at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Angelique Kerber has come through a couple of tricky matches to reach the quarter-final stage at Indian for the fourth time. Kerber received a bye through round 1 and started the event with a commanding 6-0 6-2 win over Yulia Putintseva before coming from behind to beat Natalia Vikhlyantseva 3-6 6-1 6-3. Kerber’s greater test came at the fourth round stage where she fought from a double break down in the deciding set to defeat Aryna Sabalenka 6-1 4-6 6-4.

Venus Williams has surpassed expectations this week given her mediocre form heading into the event. Williams started her BNP Paribas Open campaign with a lethargic 3 set win over Andrea Petkovic. It was in the second round that Williams dug deep and claimed her biggest scalp, Williams fought from a set and a break down to beat the third seeded Petra Kvitova 4-6 7-5 6-4. Venus has been relatively untroubled in her last few matches, beating Christina McHale and Mona Barthel in straight sets.

Kerber holds a 5-3 head-to-head record over Williams. The most recent match between the pair took place in Sydney last year, Kerber won that match 5-7 6-3 6-1. On hard courts, Kerber has a slight 3-2 head-to-head advantage.

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Venus Williams vs. Mona Barthel, Indian Wells R4 preview

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?? Venus Williams vs. ?? Mona Barthel

The only fourth round match-up at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open that features two unseeded players sees Venus Williams come up against Mona Barthel. It has been a great tournament thus far for both Williams and Barthel, both have exceeded expectations with victories over more fancied opposition, who will keep their run alive and advance to the final 8?

Venus Williams of the United States in action during her second-round match at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

The pressure was on Venus Williams heading into this event. Williams has slipped back outside the top 30 in the rankings and was in danger of slipping further with an early exit in Indian Wells given she is defending semi-finalist points from last year. Venus has seemingly sensed the urgency to perform well and has produced some inspiring performances to reach the fourth round. Venus started the event with a scrappy 3 set win over Andrea Petkovic before causing a huge upset as she came from a set and a break down to defeat the third seeded Petra Kvitova 4-6 7-5 6-4. Williams secured her spot in the fourth round with a solid 6-2 7-5 win over Christina McHale.

Mona Barthel arrived in Indian Wells desperately out of form and just clinging on to a spot in the top 100 in the rankings. Barthel had not won back-to-back matches at the WTA tour level since Tashkent last year making her run to the fourth round in the Californian desert a special one. Barthel started her BNP Paribas Open campaign with a hard-fought 6-4 6-7 7-5 win over Lin Zhu before upsetting the 17th seeded Madison Keys 3-6 6-1 7-5. Barthel made it back-to-back upset victories as she defeated the 15th seeded Julia Goerges 7-5 1-6 6-4. The most impressive part of Barthel’s week thus far has been her ability to get over the line deep into a third set where she has held her nerve well, something she has struggled to do in the past.

Venus Williams holds perfect 3-0 head-to-head record over Barthel. All 3 of those victories were in straight sets, including a 6-3 7-5 victory at the 2017 Australian Open in their most recent match. Can an in-form Barthel flip the script this time around?

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Petra Kvitova vs. Venus Williams, Indian Wells R2 Preview

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?? (3) Petra Kvitova vs. ?? Venus Williams

A blockbuster second round clash from the Californian desert sees the third seeded Petra Kvitova begin her BNP Paribas Open campaign against Venus Williams, a match-up that sees two multiple time Grand Slam champions collide. Kvitova received a bye through the opening round whilst Williams came through a scrappy 3 set match against Andrea Petkovic.

Venus Williams of the United States in action during her first-round match at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Petra Kvitova is arguably the most consistent player on the WTA tour at the moment, which is a huge improvement for Kvitova who has typically been a very streaky player. Kvitova made a fantastic start to the season by winning the title in Sydney before reaching the final of the Australian Open. More recently Kvitova made to the final in Dubai where she succumbed to Belinda Bencic. Kvitova will be keen to maintain her momentum this week in Indian Wells, albeit at an event she has struggled at in the past.

The pressure is on Venus Williams this week. Williams is defending semi-finalist points from her run to the last 4 in 2018, a big chink of her current ranking points are therefore on the line this week. Williams was unconvincing in her opening round match, she came through a topsy-turvy 3 set match against Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, eventually claiming a 6-4 0-6 6-3 victory despite seemingly struggling with an illness or injury.

Kvitova holds a 4-2 head-to-head record over Williams. However, it was Venus who was triumphant in their most recent match, a memorable 6-3 3-6 7-6 win at the quarter-final stage of the 2017 US Open. Much has changed since their last match, the careers of the pair have generally gone in opposite directions with Venus fading and Kvitova clawing her way to the top, will this match reflect those moves?

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Petra Martic vs. Qiang Wang, Roland Garros R2 Preview

Roland Garros, R2 Preview
?? Petra Martic vs. ?? Qiang Wang

Petra Martic and Qiang Wang will go head-to-head for the first time when they meet at the second round stage at Roland Garros on Wednesday. The draw has opened up nicely for these two, the winner of this match will face either Yulia Putintseva and Jennifer Brady in the next round, both Martic and Wang would see either of those potential opponents as very beatable meaning both have a great chance to reach the second week in Paris.

Wang Qiang of China in action during her first-round match at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Petra Martic has reached the second week at the 3 of the last 4 Grand Slam events. Martic is now in a favourable position to reach that spot again in Paris. The Croatian started the event with a comfortable 6-2 6-3 victory against China’s Yafan Wang. Martic has been extremely consistent in 2018, almost always winning the matches that she is expected to win, a good habit to have.

Qiang Wang caused one of the biggest upsets on day 1 in Paris as she defeated the 9th seeded Venus Williams 6-4 7-5. Wang’s victory over Venus was undoubtedly one of the biggest wins of her career and it was just her second main draw victory at Roland Garros.

Martic and Wang will both view this is a winnable match, both are very consistent players so we should expect a tight match here. Who will prevail?

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