Monica Puig vs Caroline Wozniacki, Sydney R1 Preview

Apia International, Sydney R1
?? Monica Puig vs (10) ?? Caroline Wozniacki

Monday’s most intriguing first round clash on Ken Rosewall Arena sees 2016 Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig come up against the tenth seeded Caroline Wozniacki in Sydney. Monica Puig has great memories In Sydney after coming through the qualifying draw to reach the final in Sydney last year. Puig will be desperate to repeat that stunning run after a disappointing start to the year in Brisbane last week where she suffered a first round loss.

Monica Puig is still searching for her first win in 2017 after suffering a first round loss to Elina Svitolina in straight sets at the Brisbane International last week. It was a scrappy performance by Puig in Brisbane, which is not too surprising for her first match of the year given the way she plays. Puig arrived in Sydney early and has had a good amount of time to practise and get comfortable with the conditions. 2017 is an important year for Puig, her gold medal heroics in Rio proved that she has the game to compete for the biggest titles, something she will want to do on a consistent basis in 2017. Consecutive first round loses wouldn’t be the ideal start for Puig.

Caroline Wozniacki is fit and healthy heading into 2017, something she was unable to do in 2016. However, the Dane didn’t make the best start to her season last week in Auckland where she suffered a surprise three set loss to Julia Goerges at the quarter-final stage. The manner in which Wozniacki lost was concerning, the Dane raced to a 6-1 3-0 lead before being blasted off the court by Goerges, a match that highlighted the Dane’s vulnerabilities and big hitters. Puig possess weapons that can expose these weaknesses in the Dane’s game.

The head-to-had record between Wozniacki and Puig is split at 1 win apiece. Wozniacki won the first match between the pair in 2014 on the hard courts of Miami, a three-set win. The most recent match took place on the grass of Eastbourne last year, Puig won that match 4-6 6-3 6-4.

I expect this to be another close match between Puig and Wozniacki. Puig has the ability to stay with Wozniacki in rallies and then punish the Dane with her thunderous groundstrokes. There is no doubt that Puig has the weapons to hit through Wozniacki, however her ability to do this on a consistent basis in questionable. If there is a good time for Puig to beat Wozniacki, it is probably now, Wozniacki isn’t quite at her best at the start of the year and Puig will have chances in this match, I believe Puig will be good enough on this occasion.

Prediction: Monica Puig to defeat Caroline Wozniacki in 3 sets


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