???? US OPEN, R1 match preview
?? 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.