(8) Venus Williams vs (11) Lucie Safarova
Defending Champion, Venus Williams will take on Lucie Safarova on Wednesday for a spot in the quarter-finals at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Venus Williams has an incredible record in Dubai and she looks set to continue that strong record in 2015.
Venus Williams has made an incredible start to season 2015, winning a title in Auckland before reaching the quarter-finals at the Australian Open. Given all the health issues the American has had to deal with, it really is inspiring to see her playing so well at the age of 34.
Venus Williams advanced to the third round in Dubai with an extremely impressive 6-1 6-2 thrashing of Belinda Bencic in just 69 minutes. Venus was in vintage form, looking extremely focused and determined in her title defence. Venus hit a commanding 28 winners to just 17 unforced errors against a quality young opponent. The victory was the American’s 16th straight victory in Dubai.
Lucie Safarova picked up her third main draw victory of the year with an extremely hard fought 6-7 7-6 7-5 victory over Casey Dellacqua in just under an hour. Dellacqua served for the match at 6-5 in the second set but Lucie would break back to deny the Aussie on her fifth break point in the game.
The third set remained on serve throughout the first 10 games, it was in the eleventh game that Lucie made her move, breaking to serve for the match. Lucie didn’t make the same mistake Casey made, closing out the match to advance to the third round in Dubai.
It will be extremely difficult for Lucie to recover in time for her match with Venus, an opponent she has struggled against in the past.
Venus Williams has a dominant 4-1 head to head record over Lucie. However it was Safarova who prevailed in their most recent encounter, an extremely hard fought 6-7 6-3 6-4 victory in Cincinnati last year.
I think Venus has a clear edge here, Venus loves playing in Dubai and will be the fresher of the two. Lucie will undoubtedly put up a strong fight but Venus will ultimately prevail.
Prediction: Venus WIlliams to defeat Lucie Safarova in three sets