Australian Open, ?? Second Round Match preview
(29) ?? Monica Puig vs (Q) ?? Mona Barthel
There are higher expectations on Monica Puig heading into 2017 after her gold medal heroics at the Rio Olympic games last year. The Puerto Rican made a commanding start to her Australian Open campaign on Monday as she looks to reach the second week at Melbourne Park for the very first time. Puig comes up against Mona Barthel in the second round, a potentially dangerous opponent having already won four matches at Melbourne Park after making her way through the qualifying draw.
Monica Puig rolled through her opening match at Melbourne Park, claiming a 6-0 6-1 win over Maria Patricia Tig in just 53 minutes. Puig arrived in Melbourne on the back of two first round losses to the start the season but that clearly wasn’t a problem for the Puerto Rican. Puig seems to be in good spirits heading into the first Grand Slam of the year, if she can remain focused and execute her game she will be a threat to most opponents over the next fortnight.
Mona Barthel has dropped down the rankings in the past couple of years due to several injury problems that have seen her miss many tournaments. The German finally put together a good run of tournaments towards the end of 2016, which included dropping down to play some 100K ITF events. Barthel seems to be moving in the right direction in 2016, the 26-year-old strolled through the qualifying draw without dropping a set before claiming a 6-3 7-6 win over Destanee Aiava in the opening round of the main draw.
Wednesday’s first round match at Melbourne Park will be the first career meeting between the pair. I suspect this will be a good match-up for Puig, Barthel is a very solid player, a good ball striker that probably will not cause Puig too many problems. Puig is more confident at this level and the conditions suit Puig in this match-up, I suspect Puig will come through this quite comfortably.