Varvara Lepchenko vs Shuai Zhang, Australian Open R3 Preview

Australian Open R3: Varvara Lepchenko vs (Q) Shuai Zhang

Shuai Zhang has been the biggest giant-killer at this year’s Australian Open. The Chinese qualifier has advanced to the third round courtesy of two stunning upsets over Simona Halep and Alize Cornet. Zhang’s Australian Open campaign continues on Saturday night when she takes on the experienced American Varvara Lepchenko in a third round clash.

Varvara Lepchenko has made a reasonable start to the season, showing good form in Brisbane where she reached the quarter-finals and is now into the third round at Melbourne Park for the second year in a row. Lepchenko advanced through to the third round courtesy of a three set victory over Lesia Tsurenko and a straight set victory over Lara Arruabarrena. Lepchenko now has a wonderful chance to reach the fourth round at Melbourne Park for the first time in her career when she comes up against a Chinese qualifier on Saturday night.


This has been the best week of Shuai Zhang’s career. Prior to this week the Zhang had a 0-14 record in Grand Slam main draws, she has certainly exceeded all expectations this week to come through qualifying and reach the third round. Zhang started the week by producing the biggest upset of the tournament thus far with a 6-4 6-2 victory over Simona Halep before backing up that victory impressively well to upset Alize Cornet 6-3 6-3. It must be said that Cornet played very poorly in that match.

Lepchenko won the only previous encounter between the pair, 5-7 6-4 6-1 victory in Eastbourne back in 2014. I suspect Lepchenko will again be too good for Zhang and finally end her miracle run in Melbourne. This will be a very different match for Zhang, she will not be allowed to dictate play like she was in her first two matches this week, I highly doubt she is going to be able to produce another upset here. Lepchenko is very experienced and will see this as a massive opportunity, I doubt she will waste it.

Prediction: Varvara Lepchenko to defeat Shuai Zhang in 2 sets

0 responses to “Varvara Lepchenko vs Shuai Zhang, Australian Open R3 Preview”

  1. Lepchenko barely survived through the first two matches though the she won in 2 sets. Zhang will beat her this time.

    • I highly doubt it, let’s not forget that Zhang never won a GS match before this event. That means a lot. Lepchenko is a far better player and should win this.

  2. To be fair, please give credits to Zhang. I watched both Halep and Cornet matches live in Melbourne. Zhang played extremely well to beat them. I feel funny people always think Halep and Cornet must win….ahhh!

    Lepchenko ranks higher but Zhang definitely can challenge her since she has nothing to lose. Furthermore, Lepchenko really struggled to win in her last two matches. I happened to stand there watching her match for 20 mins (Lara’s match). She was lucky to win. Unless Zhang meltdown, she will take he victory further.

    My two bits. You have your preference.

    • No worries, you can have your opinion but I do strongly disagree. The difference in class is huge. Lepchenko should win, if Zhang wins it will be another miracle. I too saw the Cornet match live and she was tragically bad

      • 2-0, how about that!. There is no miracle in a grand slam after beating three good players. Either they play well to win or lose. She has the skills but she lack confidence. She is like Li Na before winning her RG 2011.

        Cornet did not play badly. Zhang just did not let her got into her routines and she lost. My prediction is not based on ranking. It is all about their current forms and playing styles. Lechenko just couldn’t beat her tonight.

        • Cornet played horribly, 4 times more unforced errors than winners.

          Congratulations, I stand by my prediction and everything I said.

          This run is a fluke until she repeats it. Which is don’t think she ever will.

  3. This is possibly the most lopsided ownage displayed in the tour thus far! Lepchenko is getting crushed so hard it makes my skin crawl out of embarrassment (not for the player of course – she’s doing her best) Oh well, at least you nailed the ‘difference in class is huge’ part.

    • I stand by my prediction. There is a gap in class if you look at previous records, that is not an opinion it is a fact.

        • Yes she has played well… clearly but I’m just saying that at the moment it is a fluke given it is the first time out of nowhere.. until she does it again

          • Said it the first time…
            Maybe she can win against Keys. I doubt but I also did before she played against Lepchenko.

      • lolll Zhang lost her first time meeting to Lepchenko in 3. It was not one sided.

        When a player played 4 times more unforced errors because she is not good enough. By the way, please stop misreading the bloggers. Cornet unforced errors were 36 and Zhang UFEs were 32. It was not 4 times like you claimed (check WTA stats please). Whoever hits less winner would lose the match. This is a simple rule.

        Halep and Zhang do have a gap in class, but not in Lepchenko case. Well, sometimes people can’t accept the facts and stats. Like you predicted Sharapova would lose in 3……who won? Sharapova.

        • Okay lol.. if my predictions are so bad then feel free to go elsewhere. Obviously Maria was the safe pick. I don’t play safe and can be burnt for that but that’s fine at least I will not give the same boring picks like everyone else and I think I do well. Thanks

          • If you want to have an exciting blog you could add some posts with summaries about mstches, main draw prediction before a tournament etc.
            And not with ‘exciting picks’. They should be right! 😀
            It seems you ignore the strengths of your predicted losers: Example Maria. Of course she hit lots of unforced errors because it is her style. But she has hit more winners otherwise she would have lost.

          • I didn’t ignore it.. sorry I got a match wrong!!! Please forgive me! Well I don’t have time for that.. I am a full time university student and I have other things to do, sorry again!!

  4. I’m going to give you grain of advice for life in general all free of charge. I don’t think people dislike your content or else they wouldn’t be here, myself included. I think the fact that you just shared with us that you’re merely a university student makes the way you address your audience very telling and perhaps a little more forgiving. My brother and I for example lost 36k combined based on your ‘tip’ alone on the Cornet match. We can obviously afford it but at the same time it is nonetheless a substantial amount of amount to lose in a single match. And what added fuel to flame is when you display not only an unrelenting stubborn and lack of desire to admit a wrong analysis but to make it worse you continue to sound so cock-sure about a prediction (EVEN after the fact that your analysis was completely off-base). For future reference, to the betterment of yourself as a character and for a more enjoyable read for your audience it wouldn’t hurt to stay more on the humble side especially when you must make such bold predictions with such over-confident predictions. All the best

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