Venus Williams vs. Mona Barthel, Indian Wells R4 preview

??? BNPPO19, Indian Wells – R4 Preview
?? Venus Williams vs. ?? Mona Barthel

The only fourth round match-up at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open that features two unseeded players sees Venus Williams come up against Mona Barthel. It has been a great tournament thus far for both Williams and Barthel, both have exceeded expectations with victories over more fancied opposition, who will keep their run alive and advance to the final 8?

Venus Williams of the United States in action during her second-round match at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

The pressure was on Venus Williams heading into this event. Williams has slipped back outside the top 30 in the rankings and was in danger of slipping further with an early exit in Indian Wells given she is defending semi-finalist points from last year. Venus has seemingly sensed the urgency to perform well and has produced some inspiring performances to reach the fourth round. Venus started the event with a scrappy 3 set win over Andrea Petkovic before causing a huge upset as she came from a set and a break down to defeat the third seeded Petra Kvitova 4-6 7-5 6-4. Williams secured her spot in the fourth round with a solid 6-2 7-5 win over Christina McHale.

Mona Barthel arrived in Indian Wells desperately out of form and just clinging on to a spot in the top 100 in the rankings. Barthel had not won back-to-back matches at the WTA tour level since Tashkent last year making her run to the fourth round in the Californian desert a special one. Barthel started her BNP Paribas Open campaign with a hard-fought 6-4 6-7 7-5 win over Lin Zhu before upsetting the 17th seeded Madison Keys 3-6 6-1 7-5. Barthel made it back-to-back upset victories as she defeated the 15th seeded Julia Goerges 7-5 1-6 6-4. The most impressive part of Barthel’s week thus far has been her ability to get over the line deep into a third set where she has held her nerve well, something she has struggled to do in the past.

Venus Williams holds perfect 3-0 head-to-head record over Barthel. All 3 of those victories were in straight sets, including a 6-3 7-5 victory at the 2017 Australian Open in their most recent match. Can an in-form Barthel flip the script this time around?

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