Aryna Sabalenka vs. Victoria Azarenka, US Open R1 Preview

🇺🇸🗽🍎 US OPEN, R1 match preview
🇧🇾 (9) Aryna Sabalenka vs. 🇧🇾 Victoria Azarenka

A blockbuster opening round match-up in New York sees Belarus’s top players go head-to-head for the first time when the 9th seeded Aryna Sabalenka takes on 2-time former finalist Victoria Azarenka. Expect fireworks between two of the fiercest competitors on tour desperate to avoid an opening round exit at the final Grand Slam of the year. Who will prevail?

2019 hasn’t gone to plan for Aryna Sabalenka. Nevertheless, the 21-year-old is still one of the tours most exciting young prospects and is still clinging to a spot in the top 10. Sabalenka’s recent form isn’t great but she did start her US Open series off with a run to the final in San Jose where she would disappointingly succumb to Saisai Zheng in straight sets. Since then the fiery Belarusian was upset in the opening round in Toronto at the hands of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in a very close match, Sabalenka was then beaten in the round of 16 by Maria Sakkari in a similarly tight 3 set match.

Victoria Azarenka is far from the player that reached back-to-back US Open finals in 2012 and 2013. Azarenka’s results have been consistently mediocre over the last few years and her recent form is true of that. Azarenka was beaten in straight sets in the second round of all 3 of her US Open series events before heading to New York, Azarenka was beaten by Donna Vekic in Stanford and Cincinnati whilst she was beaten by Dayan Yastremska in Toronto. Unfortunately for Azarenka has been dealt yet another tough early round draw at a major, she will need to dig deep to get through this one.

Interestingly this will be the first career meeting between Sabalenka and Azarenka. This is a classic match-up between a power hitter and a counter-puncher. Sabalenka has the superior firepower but Azarenka deals with power better than most. Usually I would side with the counter-puncher but on this occasion I’ll stick with Sabalenka. Azarenka was easily beaten by Vekic (twice) and Yastremska in recent weeks, Sabalenka provides a similar but stronger challenge, if Sabalenka can control her power she will be too strong for Azarenka.

Prediction: Aryna Sabalenka to defeat Victoria Azarenka in 3 sets

Aryna Sabalenka vs. Dominika Cibulkova, Roland Garros R1 Preview

🇫🇷🥖💶 Roland Garros, R1 Preview
🇧🇾 (11) Aryna Sabalenka vs. 🇸🇰 Dominika Cibulkova

A blockbuster opening round match-up at Roland Garros sees the 11th seeded Aryna Sabalenka comes up against the always-dangerous Dominika Cibulkova. This is arguably the toughest opening round match-up in the draw, a match-up that one could expect to see in the second week of a Grand Slam rather than the opening round. Sabalenka and Cibulkova are both fierce competitors and will relish the early challenge, who will prevail?

Aryna Sabalenka arrives in Paris on the back of a solid run to the semi-finals in Strasbourg last week. Sabalenka entered Strasbourg in desperate need of wins given she had lost back-to-back opening round matches in Madrid and Rome. Sabalenka claimed a couple of commanding wins in Strasbourg before succumbing to Dayana Yastremska in straight sets. Whilst Sabalenka enters Roland Garros as the number 11 seed, she is very inexperienced at the event, she has never won a main draw match in Paris and this will be just her second main draw appearance at Roland Garros.

Conversely, Dominika Cibulkova is very experienced in Paris. Cibulkova made it to the semi-finals in Paris all the way back in 2009 and has won 21 matches at the tournament over the years. Cibulkova’s form in 2019 has not been great but she often finds a way to raise her level for the majors. Cibulkova has reached the final 8 at a Grand Slam on 8 occasions and has frequently claimed upset wins early in majors. Will Sabalenka be her next victim?

It was Sabalenka who won the only previous match between the pair, a 7-5 6-3 win at the quarter-final stage in Wuhan last year.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here
Become a WTAADDICT subscriber to receive betting tips. Sale on now. Join here

Angelique Kerber vs. Aryna Sabalenka, Indian Wells R4 Preview

🇺🇸🌵 BNPPO19, Indian Wells – R4 Preview
🇩🇪 (8) Angelique Kerber vs. 🇧🇾 (9) Aryna Sabalenka

The pick of the fourth round clashes from the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday sees Angelique Kerber take on Aryna Sabalenka for the very first time. This is an intriguing match-up that sees a 3-time Grand Slam champion and former world number 1 take on the tours most exciting young player who has already established herself in the top 10. Can the powerful Belarusian blast Kerber off the court?

Angelique Kerber of Germany in action during her third-round match at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Aryna Sabalenka has struggled in recent times to consistently produce the stunning level of tennis that she produced for much of 2018. The signs have been fairly good thus far Sabalenka in Indian Wells as she has booked her spot in the fourth round for the first time. Sabalenka received a bye through the first round before battling past Ajla Tomljanovic in 3 sets. Sabalenka secured her spot in the fourth round with a solid 6-2 7-5 victory over Lesia Tsurenko. Sabalenka will need to step up her level if she is to advance any further in the Californian desert as Kerber will be her first major test.

Angelique Kerber has made a decent start to the season and a decent start to her BNP Paribas Open campaign. Kerber will be hoping she can take things to the next level over the next week as she looks to win her first title of 2019 and her first title in Indian Wells. Kerber started the tournament with a commanding 6-0 6-2 victory over Yulia Putintseva before being really pushed in a 3-6 6-1 6-3 win over Natalia Vikhlyantseva, perhaps the battle Kerber needed to take her game to the next level this week.

This is a fascinating match-up because of the contrast in styles, especially given this will be the first meeting between the pair. Sabalenka is one of the most powerful and aggressive players at the top of the game whilst Kerber is the best counter-puncher on tour, this is the ultimate test for Sabalenka.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here
Become a WTAADDICT subscriber. Sale on now: Join here

Aryna Sabalenka vs. Caroline Garcia, Zhuhai RR preview + prediction

🇨🇳 WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai – RR preview + prediction
🇧🇾 (3) Aryna Sabalenka vs. 🇫🇷 (8) Caroline Garcia

The final match from the orchid group sees Aryna Sabalenka take on Caroline Garcia in Zhuhai. Sabalenka started her Zhuhai campaign with a straight set win over Ashleigh Barty whilst Garcia suffered a straight set loss at the hands of Barty in her first match of the week. Sabalenka’s destiny is in her own hands, a win and she is through, a loss and she may still go through but It will come down to games/sets won.

Embed from Getty Images

Sabalenka has won both of the previous matches between the pair, both came in similar fashion, both on a hard court in 2018. Garcia got into a match winning positions in both of those matches but crumbled when it mattered most. Sabalenka beat Garcia 5-7 7-6 6-0 in Beijing a a few months ago in their most recent match. I have to side with Sabalenka again here given their H2H record and the form of the pair so far this week in Zhuhai. Sabalenka has generally been one of the best payers on tour over the last few months whilst Garcia continues to be disappointing.

Prediction: Aryna Sabalenka to defeat Caroline Garcia in 2 sets

Aryna Sabalenka vs. Ashleigh Barty, Zhuhai RR Preview

WTA Elite Trophy, Group Stage: 🇧🇾 (3) Aryna Sabalenka vs. 🇦🇺 (9) Ashleigh Barty

The 2018 WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai begins on Tuesday when Aryna Sabalenka takes on Ashleigh Barty. This will be the third installment of this match-up in 2018, the previous two matches were very tight and there is no reason to suggest that this match will be any different. Who will edge ahead into the H2H here?

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in action during the quarter-final at the 2018 China Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Aryna Sabalenka has been one of the form players on tour over the last couple of months and will look to end an outstanding season on a high in Zhuhai. Sabalenka has won 24 of her last 30 matches since a shock loss in the San Jose qualifying. Sabalenka’s hot-streak saw her win titles in New Haven and Wuhan. Most recently Sabalenka did suffer a disappointing quarter-final loss to Timea Bacsinszky in Tianjin, after a few weeks rest Sabalenka should be better positioned physically heading into her first appearance in Zhuhai.

Ash Barty will be competing in Zhuhai for the second consecutive season, Barty made it to the semi-finals in 2017 and will look to go one step further in 2018. Most of Barty’s recent success has again be on the doubles court but she has had some good results of late in singles too. Barty made it to the semi-finals in Wuhan and a little further back she reached the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time in New York. Barty was in Singapore last week competing in the doubles event at the WTA Finals where she was eliminated at the semi-final stage.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. Barty defeated Sabalenka at the Australian Open 6-7 6-4 6-4 whilst more recently Sabalenka won 7-6 6-4 at the semi-final stage in Wuhan.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Aryna Sabalenka vs. Carla Suarez Navarro, Wuhan R1 Preview

🐉 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, R1 Preview
🇧🇾 Aryna Sabalenka vs. 🇪🇸 Carla Suarez Navarro

Aryna Sabalenka and Carla Suarez Navarro kick-start their Asian swings with an opening round clash in Wuhan on Monday. The pair squared off last month in the New Haven final, Sabalenka claimed a comfortable victory on that occasion. Can Suarez Navarro avenge that loss in Wuhan?

Arena Sabalenka of Belarus warms up for practice at the 2018 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

It will be interesting to see if Sabalenka can maintain her strong form from the North American hard court swing throughout the remainder of the year. Sabalenka played career best tennis over the last few months, reaching the semi-final in Cincinnati, winning the title in New Haven and reaching the fourth round in New York. The early signs are that she may not be able to continue that form after an opening round loss in Quebec City at the hands of Varvara Lepchenko a few weeks ago. Sabalenka will need to quickly regain her rhythm for a tough opening round clash against Suarez Navarro in Wuhan.

Suarez Navarro also had a great North American hard court swing. Suarez Navarro reached the final in New Haven before claiming some big wins on route to a quarter-final showing at the US Open. Suarez Navarro will enter this match keen for revenge after she was comfortably beaten by Sabalenka in the New Haven final.

Sabalenka smashed Suarez Navarro 6-1 6-4 in their only previous clash last month in New Haven. Suarez Navarro was unable to handle the firepower of a red-hot Sabalenka on that occasion but seemingly have a greater chance heading into this match.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Aryna Sabalenka vs. Danielle Collins, US Open R1 Preview

🇺🇸🗽 US OPEN: R1 Preview
🇧🇾 (26) Aryna Sabalenka vs. 🇺🇸 Danielle Collins

Aryna Sabalenka enters the final Grand Slam of the year as one of the form players on tour. Sabalenka comes up against America’s Danielle Collins in the opening round at Flushing Meadows. Sabalenka brings a heap of momentum to New York after a great couple of weeks where she reached the semi-finals in Cincinnati and claimed her first career title last week in New Haven.

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in action during her quarter-final match at the 2018 Western & Southern Open WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Sabalenka has won 11 of her last 13 matches and is on a high after winning the New Haven title just a few days ago. Sabalenka is playing outstanding tennis of late, beating several quality opponents on route to the title in New Haven and in other deep runs of late. Sabalenka has beaten 4 top 10 players in the last few weeks and several other former top 10 opponents. When Sabalenka’s game is firing she has proven that she can beat anyone. This will be Sabalenka’s first appearance in the main draw in New York.

Daniella Collins has been unable to push on after her great results in Indian Wells and Miami earlier this year. Collins arrives in New York fresh from back-to-back losses in Cincinnati and New Haven. Collins did however have a good result a few weeks ago in San Jose where she managed to reach the semi-finals. Collins has never won a grand slam main draw match.

This will be the first career meeting between the pair.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Caroline Garcia vs. Aryna Sabalenka, Cincinnati R3 Preview

🇺🇸 Western & Southern Open, Cincinnati R3 Preview
🇫🇷 (6) Caroline Garcia vs. 🇧🇾 Aryna Sabalenka

Caroline Garcia and Aryna Sabalenka will go head-to-head for the first time on Thursday when they meet at the third round stage of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. This looms as an exciting clash between two confident, aggressive, young competitors. Garcia and Sabalenka both enter this clash in great form, it will be interesting to see how this match-up pans out.

Caroline Garcia of France in action during the first round at the 2018 Western & Southern Open WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Caroline Garcia is starting to build momentum after a disappointing grass court swing. The Frenchwoman arrived in Cincinnati fresh off a quarter-final appearance in Montreal, Garcia defeated Magdalena Rybarikova and Maria Sharapova in Montreal which saw her reach enter the top 5 for the first time. Garcia started her Cincinnati campaign with another notable victory, defeating Victoria Azarenka 6-4 7-5, a gutsy win given Garcia was behind in each set.

Aryna Sabalenka also arrived in Cincinnati on the back of a good week in Montreal. Sabalenka claimed a big 3-set win over Caroline Wozniacki on route to a third round showing in Montreal. Sabalenka came from match point down to beat Wozniacki but lost from match point up against Elise Mertens in the next round. Sabalenka has already claimed 2 huge wins in Cincinnati, coming from a set down to defeat both Johanna Konta and Karolina Pliskova. The Belarusian’s fearless game is seeing her rise and rise up the WTA pecking order and there are no signs of that stopping.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Caroline Wozniacki vs. Aryna Sabalenka, Eastbourne Final Preview

🇬🇧 Nature Valley International, Eastbourne Final Preview
🇩🇰 (1) Caroline Wozniacki vs. 🇧🇾 Aryna Sabalenka

The 2018 Nature Valley International champion will be crowned on Saturday when Caroline Wozniacki and Aryna Sabalenka go head-to-head in a fascinating final in Eastbourne. The top seeded Wozniacki will be playing for her 29th career title whilst Sabalenka will be looking to claim her very first WTA tour level title. This will be the first career meeting between the pair, a match-up that will feature a huge contrast in styles. Arguably the best defensive player the game has seen over the last decade up against the extremely power, rising star from Belarus.

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in action during the semifinal of the 2018 Nature Valley International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Wozniacki is into her first final since winning a maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open earlier this year. Wozniacki earned her spot in Saturday’s final with an extremely hard-fought 2-6 7-6 6-4 win over Angelique Kerber. The Dane saved match point in the second set as Kerber served for the match at 6-5 and always seemed destined to win after that moment in what was a very high quality match. Prior to that win Wozniacki defeated Camila Giorgi (6-2 6-3), Johanna Konta (4-6 6-1 6-4) and Ashleigh Barty (6-4 6-3).

Sabalenka has had the best week of her career thus far in Eastbourne and as a result she will rise to a career high ranking of at 32 in the world. Sabalenka has done things the hard way, winning all 5 of her matches this week in 3 sets. Sabalenka started the week with wins from a set down against Sachia Vickery and Julia Goerges before securing back-to- back wins via a third set tiebreak against Elise Mertens and Karolina Pliskova. Sabalenka booked her spot in a maiden premier level final with an extremely impressive 6-3 1-6 6-3 win over Agnieszka Radwanska. Sabalenka trailed 3-2 40-0 in the deciding set before cantering to the finish line with a blistering display of power tennis, Radwanska could do nothing to stop her.

There is no doubt that Sabalenka’s best tennis is good enough to make this a very competitive final. However, it has been a long week for the Belarusian and she is in unprecedented territory, can Sabalenka produce one last superb performance to claim the title in Eastbourne?

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Aryna Sabalenka, Eastbourne SF Preview

🇬🇧 Nature Valley International, Eastbourne SF Preview
🇵🇱 Agnieszka Radwanska vs. 🇧🇾 Aryna Sabalenka

Agnieszka Radwanska and Aryna Sabalenka will do battle for the first time when they meet in Friday’s first semi-final at the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne. This is a fascinating battle because of the extreme contrast in styles between the pair, the consistency, versatility and touch of Radwanska against the super-aggressive, powerful game of Sabalenka. Who will prevail?

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in action during her third round match at the 2018 Nature Valley International WTA Premier tennis tournament

It has been a great week for Radwanska. The Pole arrived in Eastbourne having not played a match since Istanbul over 2 months ago due to injury. Radwanska kicked off the event with a comfortable straight set win over Timea Babos before fighting from a set down and fending off match points in a 5-7 7-6 6-0 win over Daria Gavrilova. Radwanska received a walkover into the quarter-finals courtesy of a Petra Kvitova withdrawal, the former world number 2 secured her spot in the final 4 with a 6-2 7-5 win over Jelena Ostapenko.

Aryna Sabalenka has threatened to cause big damage at this level for a while now, finally things have fallen into place for the Belarusian in Eastbourne. Sabalenka has done things the hard way, battling through 4 consecutive matches in 3 sets. Sabalenka started the event with wins from a set down over Sachia Vickery and Julia Goerges. The 20-year-old went on to win a pair of matches decided in a final set tiebreak, a 7-5 2-6 7-6 win over Elise Mertens and a 6-3 2-6 7-6 win over Karolina Pliskova, the biggest win of Sabalenka’s career to date.

It will be interesting to see how this match-up pans out as they pair go head-to-head for the first time.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here