(1) Serena Williams vs (13) Flavia Pennetta
After sneaking past Sam Stosur in two tiebreak sets, Serena Williams faces Flavia Pennetta in the third round at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. As so often is the case, Serena was too good in the critical points during her second round win over Sam Stosur.
After her shock loss at Wimbledon to Alize Cornet, Serena seems as determined as ever to do well. Serena isn’t at her best but her competitive edge gets her over the line on so many occasions. That was certainly the case on Wednesday against Sam Stosur. Serena sits at the top of leader board in the Emirates U.S Open series after winning her fourth title of the season at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford. However, Serena suffered a shock loss to older sister Venus in the semi-finals of the Rogers Cup last week. Serena will be desperate to avoid going through season 2014 without a Grand Slam title, she wont want to take her foot off the pedal at any stage in the lead up to the U.S Open.
Ever since claiming the biggest title of her career in Indian Wells, Flavia has struggled. The Italian arrived in Cincinnati on the back of a shock loss to Yulia Putintseva in Montreal. Flavia’s impressive victory over Taylor Townsend on Wednesday was her first consecutive victory since Rome. Flavia will need to significantly raise her level if she is to compete with Serena on Thursday.
Serena has a perfect 3-0 record the Italian. Their most recent encounter was last year in Miami. Serena crushed Flavia 6-1 6-1. I expect this match to be a little more competitive, however it seems highly likely Serena will win this match in straight sets.
Prediction: (1) Serena Williams to defeat (13) Flavia Pennetta in straight sets