Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will begin her U.S Open series campaign on Wednesday when she comes up against Alison Riske in the second round of the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford. As the fourth seed, Pavlyuchenkova received a bye through to the second round whilst Alison Riske progressed to the second round courtesy of a comfortable 6-2 6-4 win over Magda Linette. Surprisingly, it is Alison Riske who has had the edge in this match-up, the American holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over the Russian.
WTA Aegon Classic, 🇬🇧 Birmingham R2 Preview (6) 🇪🇸 Garbine Muguruza vs 🇺🇸 Alison Riske
Garbine Muguruza continues her Birmingham campaign on Thursday with a potentially difficult second round clash against Alison Riske. The Spaniard scrapped through her opening round match of the tournament against Elizaveta Kulichkova and will need to produce an improved performance if she is to get past grass-court specialist Alison Riske. This will be the first career meeting between Muguruza and Riske.
Shenzhen Final: (1) Agnieszka Radwanska vs Alison Riske
Agnieszka Radwanska is just 1 win away from making the perfect start her to the 2016 season. The Pole will come up against Alison Riske in the final of the Shenzhen Open on Saturday where she looks to claim her 18th WTA title. Aga won the only previous meeting between the pair quite convincingly, it will be interesting to see if the American can put up more of a fight on this occasion.
Courtesy of reaching the final in Shenzhen, Aga will move up to number 4 in the world on Monday and will therefore be the 4th seed at the upcoming Australian Open. Aga cannot face Serena Williams until the semi-final stage in Melbourne. Radwanska has cruised through to the final in Shenzhen without dropping a set, collecting convincing victories over Aleksandra Krunic, Shuai Zhang, Qiang Wang and Anna-Lena Friedsam. Aga’s service numbers have been encouraging this week, maintaining a very high first serve percentage and she has not been broken on more than 2 occasions in any of her matches.
Alison Riske has had forgettable couple seasons of late, however the American has made a really promising start to the season by reaching the final in Shenzhen. Riske’s progression through to the final has been far less cruisy than Aga’s. Riske’s first three matches went the distance, twice coming for a set down. Notably, Alison came from 3-6 0-4 down to defeat Su-Wei Hsieh in the second round. Riske confirmed her place in Saturday’s final with an impressive 6-2 6-4 victory over Timea Babos.
In the only previous encounter between the pair, Radwanska recorded a comfortable 6-3 6-1 victory at Indian Wells last year. This is a really tough match-up for Riske, the American doesn’t really have the power or the variety to really challenge Radwanska. Furthermore, Aga is far more experienced in finals and will likely handle this occasion much better than her inexperienced opponent. I expect Aga to win this pretty easily.
Prediction: Agnieszka Radwanska to defeat Alison Riske in 2 sets
U.S Open R1: (25) Eugenie Bouchard vs Alison Riske
Eugenie Bouchard has been dealt a reasonable first round match-up, the Canadian will come up against Alison Riske, an opponent she has defeated four times in a row. Eugenie Bouchard’s dismal form continued during the U.S Open series but she will be hopeful her game will once again click at the Grand Slam level.
Eugenie Bouchard’s dismal season has been well documented, the Canadian has justifiably received a lot of criticism for her shocking results. Bouchard has won just 3 matches since Indian Wells whilst slumping to 14 defeats. The Canadian managed to pick up just 1 victory during the U.S Open series and arrives in New York on the back of an embarrassing 1-6 0-6 loss to Roberta Vinci in the first round of the Connecticut Open last week.
Eugenie Bouchard has been spotted working with Jimmy Connors at Flushing Meadows in the last week in an attempt to somehow reverse her miserable form.
Alison Riske’s recent form hasn’t been much better. The American arrives in New York on the back on first-up exits in Cincinnati and New Haven. Riske did have some success earlier on in the summer, defeating Carla Suarez Navarro in straight sets on route to the Quarter-finals in Stanford. The American famously defeated Petra Kvitova in the third round of the 2013 U.S Open, but has failed to make an impact ever since.
Eugenie Bouchard holds a 4-1 head to head record over Riske. Bouchard has won the last four encounter between the pair, including 2 straight set victories in their most recent encounters. Bouchard defeated Rise 7-6 6-3 earlier this year in Eastbourne and 6-2 6-3 in Wuhan last year.
Another first round loss for Bouchard would be disastrous. Despite her recent troubles she should be reasonably confident heading into this match given her record over the American. There are no excuses and nowhere to hide for Bouchard, she simply must win this and I think she will.
Prediction: Eugenie Bouchard to defeat Alison Riske in 3 sets
A great opportunity to reach a rare premier level semi-final presents itself to Elina Svitolina and Alison Riske on Friday when they go head to head at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford.
Elina Svitolina has put in two typically gutsy performances on route to the final 8 in Stanford. The Ukrainian needed three very tight sets to defeat compatriot Kateryna Bondarenko 4-6 6-4 7-5 in her opening match. Svitolina then overcame a strong fight from Nicole Gibbs, prevailing 6-3 7-6 to set up a quarter-final match with Alison Riske.
Alison Riske was also forced to work hard for her opening round victory, defeating Tatjana Maria 6-2 5-7 6-1. The erratic American secured her spot in the final 8 with just her second ever top 10 victory, upsetting Carla Suarez Navarro 6-4 6-4. Alison Riske has typically saved her best tennis for the North American hard courts and is a real threat when she brings her a-game.
This will be the first tour level meeting between Elina and Alison. The two have met at the challenger level, it was Svitolina who prevailed in three sets back in 2012.
This is a tough match to call, however I’m going to give Svitolina the slight edge. The Ukrainian has been far more consistent this year, her base level is far higher than Riske’s. Svitolina will be able to absorb enough of the American’s pace to frustrate Riske. The Ukrainian should grind out yet another victory.
Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Alison Riske in 3 sets