Karolina Pliskova vs Coco Vandeweghe, Wimbledon R2 Preview

(11) Karolina Pliskova vs Coco Vandeweghe

Two of the biggest servers on the WTA tour will collide in the second round at SW19 on Wednesday when Karolina Pliskova takes on Coco Vandeweghe. This is one of the most even second round matches at the All England Club on Wednesday, featuring two ladies with very similar games.

Despite having good results in the lead to Wimbledon: reaching the final at Eastbourne, Karolina Pliskova made an erratic start to her 2015 Wimbledon campaign. The Czech number 3 survived a second set scare to defeat Irina Falconi 6-4 4-6 6-1.

A bad serving day meant Pliskova had to work harder than expected for her opening round victory. Pliskova had a low first serve percentage and wasn’t winning as many points behind her first serve as she usually would. This match showed that Pliskova is very vulnerable when she doesn’t serve particularly well, luckily for her she wasn’t up against strong opposition on Monday. Karolina will need to play much better if she is to survive a tricky second round match against fellow big server: Coco Vandeweghe.

 

Coco Vandeweghe has a very dangerous game on grass, the American’s serve is massive and so are her groundstrokes. The American is yet to have a big breakthrough result at a Grand Slam, this could be a big opportunity for her to claim a big scalp and go further in the draw.

Vandeweghe advanced to the second round at SW19 for just the second time in her career with a solid 6-4 6-2 very over Anna Schmiedlova. Coco served well, blasting 9 aces past her opponent, winning a high amount of points behind her first serve and as a result did not face a break point all match. Despite never making it past the second round at Wimbledon, Vandeweghe has shown her potential. The American came agonizingly close to defeating Petra Kvitova in 2013 and defeated Garbine Muguruza in 2014.

 

In their only previous encounter: Karolina Pliskova claimed a 6-2 6-3 victory over Vandeweghe in the final round of qualifying in Sydney back in 2013. A lot has changed since then, both ladies have improved, especially Pliskova.

There is very little to separate these two. Obviously it is Pliskova who has had much better results in 2015, winning 34 matches compared to Vandeweghe’s 12. However an upset is certainly on the cards here, only because they playing on grass. Vandeweghe is very comfortable on grass, whilst Pliskova is yet to prove herself on the surface. Whoever serves better will this match, it’s as simple as that. I’m going to side with Vandeweghe.

Prediction: Coco Vandeweghe to defeat Karolina Pliskova in 3 sets

Ana Ivanovic vs Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Wimbledon R2 Preview

(7) Ana Ivanovic vs Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Ana Ivanovic faces a an early round test when she comes up against Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the second round on Wednesday in London. Ana Ivanovic cruised through her opening match at SW19 but she is unlikely to have things all her own way when she comes up against Bethanie Mattek-Sands for a spot in the third round.

Ana Ivanovic kickstarted her 2015 Wimbledon campaign with a 6-1 6-1 thrashing of Yi-Fan Xu. Ivanovic rocketed 28 wintners past Yi-Fan in a demolition job, requiring a tick over an hour to advance to the second round. Ivanovic was solid behind her first serve and from the baseline, her second serve remains her biggest weakness moving forward, especially on grass where it is very vulnerable.

Grass has been the Serb’s least successful surface throughout her career, somewhat surprisingly given her big game. Ana has failed to reach the quarter-final stage at Wimbledon in her last seven attempts and has only reached the second week of the tournament twice in those seven years.

 

Bethanie Mattek-Sands hasn’t fared well at Wimbledon, ever since reaching the fourth round in 2008, the American had suffered four consecutive first round exits at the All England Club. The American broke that losing streak with a straight sets victory over Alison Van Uytvanck on Monday. Bethanie remains a dangerous opponent, she is a much better player than her rankings and past results suggest, injuries have played a big part in her underachieving.

Bethanie advanced to the second round with a solid 6-3 6-2 victory over Roland Garros quarter-finalist: Alison Van Uytvanck. The flamboyant American served extremely well, holding all of her service games whilst dropping just 4 points behind her first serve. Bethanie seems to be in a good place at the moment, having claimed two Grand Slam doubles titles alongside Lucie Safarova in 2015. The American is yet to bring that form to the singles court but seems to be enjoying herself and could go on a deep run at any time.

 

This will be the first meeting between Bethanie and Ivanovic on a grass court. Their two previous meetings both came in the opening round on the red dirt in Madrid, Mattek-Sands won the first encounter in straight sets back in 2011 whilst Ivanovic won their most recent clash, a three set victory in 2013.

If Ivanovic has a poor day, Mattek-Sands is the type of opponent that can take full advantage. Ana will need to serve well, otherwise an upset is certainly on the cards. I’m tempted to pick Mattek-Sands in this one, however I’m going to stick with Ivanovic to come through in a tight one.

Prediction: Ana Ivanovic to defeat Mattek-Sands in 3 sets

Venus Williams vs Yulia Putintseva, Wimbledon R2 Preview

(16) Venus Williams vs Yulia Putintseva

In one of Wednesday’s most intriguing matches at SW19, Venus Williams takes on the demonstrative: Yulia Putintseva for a spot in the third round.

Five-time former Champion: Venus Williams made an almighty start to her 2015 Wimbledon campaign, rocketing past compatriot: Madison Brengle 6-0 6-0, the first ‘double bagel’ at the All England Club in 6 years. It was a perfect start to the tournament for the American, Venus Williams totally overpowered Brengle firing 29 winners past her opponent in a 41 minute rout.

Wimbledon is certainly the Grand Slam in which Venus Williams still has a realistic chance of winning. The American is one of the greatest grass court players of all time and remains a significant threat to any opponent on the quick surface. Venus is set to take on Serena in the fourth round in would be a blockbuster encounter, Venus first has to deal with the feisty Putintseva.

 

Yulia Putintseva advanced to the second round at Wimbledon for the very time in her career with a hard fought 7-6 7-5 upset victory over Marina Erakovic. The energetic Kazakh hasn’t fared well on grass in the past, her game is far better suited to the clay and to a lesser extent, hard courts.

Yulia’s greatest strength is her determination to win and her intensity. Putintseva thrives on the big stages, the 20-year-old will welcome the challenge of playing a 5-time former champion on a show court at Wimbledon. Putintseva has a lot of experience against top players, having played Radwanska twice, Serena, Ana and Venus once. Yulia competed well in all of those matches, having her moments in each, she is certainly capable of matching it with the very best.

 

Venus Williams defeated Yulia 6-3 6-2 in their only previous encounter which took place in Montreal late last year. The scoreline suggests it was a comfortable victory for Venus, however Yulia certainly had her chances, especially in the first set. Venus was just far more composed when it mattered, utilizing her far greater arsenal of power.

On paper, this is a mismatch. On grass, Venus Williams should be too good for Yulia. The height difference between these two is extreme, Yulia will find it hard to deal with the powerful American. However, Yulia should never be totally written off, she has nothing to lose in this match and is capable of making this match very competitive.

Prediction: Venus Williams to defeat Yulia Putintseva in 2 sets

Kirsten Flipkens vs Victoria Azarenka, Wimbledon R2 Preview

Kirsten Flipkens vs (23) Victoria Azarenka

Two former semifinalists at the all England Club will go head to head on Wednesday for a spot in the third round when Kirsten Flipkens comes up against Victoria Azarenka. Flipkens is capable of causing an upset, however her recent form suggests that is highly unlikely against Vika.

Kirsten Flipkens produced an incredible comeback to reach the second round at SW19. The Belgian was totally outplayed by Annika Beck in the opening set but recovered unbelievably well to record a 0-6 6-3 6-4 victory.

Flipkens has struggled with injury and poor form over the last year. The Belgian’s first round victory over Annika Beck was her first Grand Slam win since Wimbledon last year. If Kirsten is to turn her form around, it will be on grass, however she will have to produce a stunning performance if she is to upset a determined Victoria Azarenka in the second round.

 

Victoria Azarenka produced a very solid first round performance, recording a 6-2 6-1 victory over promising youngster: Anett Kontaveit. It was a very professional performance by the Belarusian who remained extremely focused throughout the match. Vika’s first serve was particularly effective, winning 24 of 27 points when she landed a first serve. However Vika’s first serve percentage was just over 50%, she will need to improve that as the tournament progresses. The Belarusian’s second serve did look rather vulnerable and remains her biggest weakness.

After a lengthy time on the sidelines, Azarenka has steadily improved in season 2015. The Belarusian looked very solid from the baseline in her opening round victory. Kontaveit was unable to mix her play and as a result, Vika dictated play from the centre of the court. Vika’s second round opponent certainly has the ability to mix things up and will provide a different challenge on Wednesday.

 

Vika has a perfect 3-0 head to head record over Flipkens. All three of their previous matches were played on a hard court, their last two both played at Indian Wells. Vika prevailed 6-2 6-4 in their most recent encounter earlier this year.

Flipkens is always an awkward opponent, especially on grass. However it’s hard to see the Belgian causing Vika too many problems on Wednesday. Vika’s strengths override Kirsten’s strengths, whilst Vika will be able to expose Flipkens’’ weaknesses. The Belarusian will be too solid from the baseline and will be able to hold serve with greater ease. Vika should come through this one in straight sets.

Prediction: Victoria Azarenka to defeat Kirsten Flipkens in 2 sets

Jarmila Gajdosova vs Sabine Lisicki, Wimbledon R1 Preview

Jarmila Gajdosova vs (18) Sabine Lisicki

Sabine Lisicki will open her 2015 Wimbledon campaign against the always dangerous: Jarmila Gajdosova. Sabine Lisicki has been a serial giant-killer at Wimbledon over the past couple of years, the German looks set for another deep run at SW19.

Jarmila Gajdosova arrives at Wimbledon with a good number of grass court matches under her belt. Jarka successfully battled through qualifiers in Nottingham in Eastbourne, but failed to make it past the second round in both events.

Jarka has reached the second round at Wimbledon on one previous occasion, the Australian reached the fourth round at SW19 back in 2010. Jarka has had a typically erratic season, her best is very good, however we very rarely see her best tennis displayed consistently enough.

 

Sabine Lisicki has been one of the most consistent performers at Wimbledon over the past 5 years, Sabine has reached at least the quarter-finals in her last 5 appearances at the All England Club. Sabine’s best result was in 2013 where she reached the final, however the German was overwhelmed by the occasion and lost to Marion Bartoli in straight sets.

Sabine’s lead up to this years event has been promising. The German reached the semifinals in Birmingham where she succumbed to the eventual champion: Angelique Kerber. It was in the opening round at Birmingham where Sabine created headlines, firing 27 aces past Belinda Bencic in her 6-1 7-6 victory, breaking the WTA record for the most aces in a match. Sabine’s serve is one the biggest weapons on tour, especially on grass, if she serves well she is always going to difficult to beat.

 

This will be the first career meeting between Sabine and Jarka, two of the most explosive players on tour, expect to see a lot of big hitting and short rallies.

Sabine Lisicki been surprisingly consistent at Wimbledon over the years. The German feels right at home on the grass, it will take a big effort for anyone to defeat her over the next fortnight. Gajdosova is capable of challenging Lisicki, however the German does everything a little better and will come through this one.

Prediction: Sabine Lisicki to defeat Jarmila Gajdosova in 2 sets