Dubai R2: CoCo Vandeweghe vs Kristina Mladenovic
A critical second round match sees CoCo Vandeweghe and Kristina Mladenovic go head-to-head for a spot in the quarter-finals in Dubai. This is really important match for both ladies who have been struggling to produce their best tennis in recent times, a win here would be a much needed confidence booster. Vandeweghe has won both of the previous encounters between the pair.
CoCo Vandeweghe arrived in Dubai without a win to her name in 2016 (in singles). The American was a clear underdog heading into her first match in Dubai with 2015 runner-up Karolina Pliskova but managed to fight her way to a 7-6 6-1 victory on Monday night. The first set featured no breaks of serve as Vandeweghe took the set in a tiebreaker. Vandeweghe seemed to break Pliskova’s spirits in the first set breaker as the Czech offered little resistance in the second set. Vandeweghe will be confident heading into her second round clash knowing that she has a perfect record against Mladenovic.
Kristina Mladenovic also arrived in Dubai with questionable form after she suffered a disappointing first round loss to Laura Siegemund in St. Petersburg. Nevertheless, Mladenovic was able to win her first match against Lesia Tsurenko in her fourth attempt, producing a solid performance to emerge with a 6-2 7-6 victory. Mladenovic will again be looking to overcome a negative head-to-head record in the second round when she takes on Vandeweghe.
CoCo Vandeweghe holds a 2-0 head-to-head record over Kristina Mladenovic. Both of the American’s victories came in 2014, starting with a 6-2 3-6 6-4 victory on grass in ‘s-Hertogenbosch before claiming 6-2 6-3 win in Osaka. This is likely to be a really close match with few breaks of serve; despite the head-to-head record I’m going to side with Mladenovic. The Frenchwoman is more consistent and has a little more variety and patience to her game.