Category Archives: Asian Swing

Garbine Muguruza vs Timea Bacsinszky, Beijing Final Preview

Beijing Final: (5) Garbine Muguruza vs (12) Timea Bacsinszky

Two of 2015’s biggest improvers will go head-to-head in the final of the China Open on Sunday evening when Garbine Muguruza meets Timea Bacsinszky. Both ladies will be aiming to claim the biggest titles of their careers, both will reach a new career high ranking next week regardless of the result of this match. Timea Bacsinszky is now just one win away from reaching the WTA Finals in Singapore for the first time in her career, Garbine already clinched her spot at the season finale for the first time in her career earlier this week. This promises to be a fascinating battle.

After a shocking North American summer, Garbine Muguruza has rebounded amazingly during the Asian Swing, reaching back-to-back finals in Wuhan and Beijing. The Spaniard’s form in Wuhan was much more convincing before she ultimately succumbed to fatigue in the final. Garbine has laboured through the majority of her matches in Beijing, she certainly isn’t at her best physically.

Garbine booked her spot in the final with a gutsy 4-6 6-4 6-3 victory over Agnieszka Radwanska. It was a bizarre match, Garbine seemed to be in pain and her movement was certainly hampered by injury, but Garbine’s powerful game was good enough to hit through Radwanska. It’s going to be a tough ask for Garbine to compete at a high level in the final on Sunday, she has played so much tennis in the last couple of weeks, being forced to retire during a final for a second week in a row seems like a real possibility.

 

Little was expected of Timea Bacsinszky this week in Beijing, However Timea has defied the odds to reach the biggest final of her career and move into the top 10 in the world rankings for the first time. Timea is now just 1 win away from reaching her first WTA Finals campaign, which seemed highly unlikely given she arrived in Beijing on the back of 5 consecutive losses.

Timea’s route to the final hasn’t been easy, coming from a set down on 3 occasions, 4 of her 5 victories this week have been in 3 sets. Bacsinszky’s three latest victories in Beijing have all been extremely hard-fought, a 6-4 4-6 7-5 victory over Carla Suarez Navarro, a 0-6 6-3 7-5 victory over Sara Errani before recording a 5-7 6-4 6-1 victory over Ana Ivanovic to book her spot in the final. Timea’s ability to work things out on court when things are not going her way is second to none, she has once again proven that over the last couple of days.

 

Garbine Muguruza holds a perfect 2-0 head-to-head record over Timea Bacsinszky. Their most recent clash took place at the quarter-final stage of Wimbledon earlier this year, it was the Spaniard who emerged victorious with a 7-5 6-3 victory. Garbine’s other victory over Timea came at the Australian Open earlier this year, a topsy-turvy 3 set victory.

This is a really tough match to call, especially given Garbine’s injury concerns and Timea potentially suffering from fatigue after some gruelling matches. I like Timea’s chances in this one, the crafty Swiss player will make life extremely difficult for Garbine. The Spaniard will probably not be at her best, Timea is the type of opponent that will usually take full advantage of this. With a first ever appearance at the WTA Finals on the line, this is a massive opportunity for Bacsinszky, I think she will be smart enough to take full advantage.

Prediction: Timea Bacsinszky to defeat Garbine Muguruza in 3 sets

Garbine Muguruza vs Agnieszka Radwanska, Beijing SF Preview

Beijing SF #1: (5) Garbine Muguruza vs (4) Agnieszka Radwanska

A blockbuster second semi-final of the day in Beijing sees Garbine Muguruza and Agnieszka Radwanska renew hostilities. Garbine and Aga are arguably two of the in-form players on the tour right now, Garbine if fresh off reaching the final in Wuhan whilst Radwanska won the title on Tokyo a couple of weeks ago. Both have continued their winning form in Beijing and both look set to reach the WTA Finals in Singapore (Muguruza has already qualified, Radwanska is just two wins away). Radwanska will enter this match with revenge on her mind having lost the last three matches between the pair.

Garbine Muguruza arrived in Beijing with little expectations after succumbing to fatigue in the final at the Wuhan Open last week. However, a favourable draw has seen Muguruza continue her winning form, recording victories over Irina Falconi, Mirjana Lucic-Baroni and Bethanie Mattek-Sands to advance to the semi-finals. Garbine has already secured her spot at the WTA Finals in Singapore for the first time, a nice way for Garbine to end the best year of her career thus far.

 

Agnieszka Radwanska is playing some of her best tennis of the year at the moment. The former champion seems to be continuing her stunning form which saw her win the title in Tokyo without dropping a set. The Pole advanced to the semi-finals with an extremely impressive 6-1 6-4 victory over Angelique Kerber, hitting just 4 unforced errors in the entire match in a near flawless performance. Aga now has a wonderful opportunity to claim another China Open title and secure her spot in Singapore earlier than expected.

Garbine Muguruza holds a 3-2 head-to-head record over Aga, the Spaniard has won the last three meetings between the pair all of which have been in 2015. The most memorable of those matches came in the semi-finals at Wimbledon, where Garbine won a tight three set match to reach her first Grand Slam final. I suspect Radwanska will avenge those losses on Saturday, Aga is playing great tennis at the moment and should be fresher and more motivated to win this one.

Prediction: Agnieszka Radwanska to defeat Garbine Muguruza in 2 sets

Ana Ivanovic vs Timea Bacsinszky, Beijing SF Preview

Beijing SF #2: (6) Ana Ivanovic vs (12) Timea Bacsinszky

Saturday’s first semi-final at the China Open in Beijing will see the 6th seeded Ana Ivanovic take on a rejuvenated Timea Bacsinszky. Not many could have predicted a semi-final between Ana and Timea, both have exceeded all expectations this week and now have a wonderful opportunity to reach the final. Both ladies must win this match to keep their slim hopes of reaching the WTA Finals alive, the winner of this match will move into the top 10 next week, which would be a the first time for Bacsinszky.

Ana Ivanovic has had a decent couple of weeks and says she is feeling as fit as she has felt all year. The Serb started the week with commanding straight set victories over Casey Dellacqua and Venus Williams before labouring to a three set victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova. Ana’s best performance of the week came in the quarte-finals where she played some stunning tennis on route to a 6-3 7-5 victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Ana served well for the majority of the match and came up with some fantastic volleys at the net.

 

Timea Bacsinszky continues to defy the odds in 2015. Timea is now into her first every premier mandatory semi-final. The Swiss number 2 arrived in Beijing on the back of 5 consecutive losses but has turned her form slump around with a couple of trademark marathon victories. Timea’s last two matches in Beijing ended 7-5 in the third set, two extremely tough victories over Carla Suarez Navarro and Sara Errani. Timea will enter Saturday’s semi-final feeling like she has nothing to lose.

Ana Ivanovic has won the only two previous encounters between the pair, including a 6-1 6-2 thrashing of Timea in Montreal last year in their most recent match. I suspect Ivanovic will once again get the better of Bacsinszky. The Serb’s game matches up pretty well against Timea, Ana can really over-power Timea and should be too strong for a potentially fatigued opponent on this occasion.

Prediction: Ana Ivanovic to defeat Timea Bacsinszky in 2 sets

Bethanie Mattek-Sands vs Garbine Muguruza, Beijing QF Preview

Beijing QF #1: (Q) Bethanie Mattek-Sands vs (5) Garbine Muguruza

Friday’s 4th and final quarter-final at the China sees American qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands come up against last week’s Wuhan runner-up Garbine Muguruza. Bethanie Mattek-Sands has exceeded all expectations this week, reaching one of her biggest quarter-finals in recent memory. Garbine Muguruza is also having a good week, the Spaniard has secured her spot at the WTA Finals in Singapore for the first time in her singles career.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands has had one of her best seasons in a while, especially at the Grand Slam level. The American is now on her greatest run at a WTA event this season, coming through the qualifying draw to reach the quarter-final stage in Beijing. The American only just advanced through the qualifying draw, needing a third set tiebreaker to defeat Lucie Hradecka in the final round of qualifying. Bethanie has certainly gone on to make the most of her spot in the main draw.

 

Mattek-Sands has had a reasonably favourable draw, she has taken full advantage. The American started the week with a comfortable straight set victory over an out of form Alize Cornet. Bethanie secured her spot in the quarter-finals with three set victories over Lara Arruabarrena and Roberta Vinci. Bethanie’s 6-1 3-6 6-2 victory over U.S Open finalist Roberta Vinci was particularly impressive, the American ending Roberta’s chances of an unlikely appearance at the WTA Finals in Singapore.

Garbine Muguruza arrived in Beijing on the back of a solid week in Wuhan where she played some wonderful tennis before fatigue got the better of her in the final. Garbine Muguruza needed two victories in Beijing to secure her spot at the WTA Finals in Singapore and she has done just that. The Spaniard started the week with a comprehensive 6-2 6-1 victory over Irina Falconi before recovering from a terribly sluggish start to defeat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 1-6 6-2 6-1.  

 

This will be the first career meeting between Bethanie and Garbine, it promises to be an entertaining match. Now that Garbine has clinched her spot at the WTA Finals, it is not clear how motivated she will be to keep going in Beijing, especially given the amount of tennis she has recently played. The same cannot be said for Mattek-Sands, the American has everything to play for on Friday night and will enter this match willing to do anything to reach the semi-finals of such a big event. Therefore pocking a winning in this match isn’t as simple as it may seem.

I’m still going to stick with Garbine, she may even play with more freedom now that she feels she has nothing to lose which is certainly a dangerous prospect for Mattek-Sands. If Garbine turns up to play, she will win.

Prediction: Garbine Muguruza to defeat Bethanie Mattek-Sands in 2 sets

Ana Ivanovic vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Beijing QF Preview

Beijing QF #3: (6) Ana Ivanovic vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Friday’s third quarter-final at the China Open sees the 6th seeded Ana Ivanovic come up against an in form Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Ana Ivanovic has a dominant record against Pavlyuchenkova and will be confident she can continue her dominance over the Russian on Friday evening. However Pavlyuchenkova should see this as a great opportunity to record a victory over Ivanovic, the Russian enters this match in great form and full confidence.

Ana Ivanovic has certainly benefited from a favourable draw this week in Beijing, to the Serb’s credit she has taken full advantage. Ivanovic started the week with a comprehensive straight set victory over Casey Dellacqua before defeating a fatigued Venus Williams in straight sets. Ivanovic advanced to the quarter-final stage with an unconvincing 7-5 4-6 6-2 victory over a wayward Svetlana Kuznetsova. Ivanovic looked quite vulnerable, her serve was as wayward as ever, however Kuznetsova was unable to take advantage. Ana will need to significantly raise her level if she is to advance any further this week.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has had a disappointing season, however it looks like she will end the year on high. The Russian has played some great tennis to reach the final 8, recording a straight set victory over Julia Goerges in the first round before battling past Elina Svitolina in an extremely hard-fought three set encoutner. Pavlyuchenkova booked her spot in the quarter-finals by handing Flavia Pennetta her first defeat since she captured he first career Grand Slam title in New York. Pavlyuchenkova fought from a set down to record a 3-6 6-4 6-3 victory.

 

Ana Ivanovic holds a dominant 6-1 head-to-head record over Pavlyuchenkova. Ivanovic won the first 6 meetings between the pair including 4 straight set victories on a hard court. It was Pavlyuchenkova who emerged victorious in their most recent encounter, the Russian led 7-5 6-5 before Ivanovic bizarrely retired despite being just one game away from defeat.  

Despite the lopsided head-to-head record between the pair, I think Pavlyuchenkova can cause an upset here. The Russian’s form has been very good heading into this match and she is certainly capable of hurting Ivanovic, especially the Serb’s wayward and predictable serve. Ivanovic has had some injury concerns lately, so knowing her another retirement could be on the cards.

Prediction: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to defeat Ana Ivanovic in 2 sets