Wimbledon 🇬🇧💂🍓 Day 3, R2 Match Preview: (4) 🇺🇦 Elina Svitolina vs 🇮🇹 Francesca Schiavone
Elina Svitolina will be looking to reach the third round at Wimbledon for the very first time when she comes up against Francesca Schiavone in second round action at SW19 on Wednesday. Svitolina made an impressive start to her 2017 Wimbledon campaign on Monday, navigating her way past Ashleigh Barty in straight sets in what loomed as a real danger match for Svitolina so early in the tournament. Schiavone also got off to an impressive start by smashing Mandy Minella and will relish the opportunity to take on the 4th seed.
Roland Garros, 🇫🇷🐌 R1 Preview + Prediction (4) Garbine Muguruza vs (wc) Francesca Schiavone
Two Former Roland Garros champions will go head-to-head in a blockbuster opening round match in Paris when defending Champion Garbine Muguruza takes on 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone. Muguruza is one of the great unknowns heading into this tournament, the Spaniard has not really been able to find her best form in 2017, if the fourth seed can recapture her best form then she is a big chance to defend her title in Paris.
Wimbledon 🇬🇧🍓 Second Round Match Preview + Prediction: (5) 🇷🇴 Simona Halep vs 🇮🇹 Francesca Schiavone
Simona Halep’s form throughout 2016 has generally been quite good but the Romanian has not been able to translate that form into success at the Grand Slam level having failed to reach the quarter-final stage at the first two Grand Slams of the year. The world number 5 will be keen to reverse that trend at Wimbledon and will be keen to make amends for her shock first round exit from the event in 2015. Simona made a positive start in her first round match with a straight set win over Anna Schmiedlova and will look to build on that win when she comes up against Francesca Schiavone in the second round on Wednesday.
Simona Halep’s perpetration for this year’s Wimbledon Championship’s was less than ideal given the Romanian was unable to compete in a grass court lead-up event due to injury problems. Nevertheless, Simona did spend about a week training at the All England Club and seems to be in good shape as she aims to replicate her run to the semi-final stage in London in 2014. Halep made a fairly positive start to her 2016 Wimbledon campaign on Monday, the Romanian claimed a comfortable 6-4 6-1 win over Anna Schmiedlova. After surviving a reasonably tight first set Simona got better as the match wore on and was never challenged in the second set. The important thing for Simona is that she seemed to be free of pain and was moving well from the baseline, a good sign moving forward.
Francesca Schiavone produced a brave performance on Monday to defeat Anastasija Sevastova 7-6 6-4 and advance to the second round at Wimbledon for the first time since 2012.It was a gutsy win by Schiavone on her least preferred surface against a resurgent Latvian who entered the match with the better form. Schiavone remains a threat to most opponents on her day but will need to produce her very best tennis if she is to be competitive with Simona Halep on Wednesday.
Interestingly, it was Schiavone who won the only previous match between the pair. The Italian claimed a 6-3 6-2 win over the Romanian on the clay of Marrakesh in 2013. Wednesday’s clash will clearly be a very different match as the two are now in very different stages on their respective careers, Simona will enter the match as an overwhelming favourite.
Francesca Schiavone will be eager to be back on the big stage against one of the best players in the world and will see this as one of her last chances to make an impression at this level. Schiavone will be competitive and will give her all but ultimately Simona is currently a class above Francesca and should win this match pretty comfortably. Schiavone’s serve is a real weakness on this surface and that will be a problem in this match-up because Simona has one of the best returns of serve in the world. Simona is more solid in pretty much every aspect of the game.
Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Francesca Schiavone in 2 sets
15. U.S Open R2: Petra Cetkovska d. Caroline Wozniacki 6-4 5-7 7-6
One of the biggest upsets of the year came in the second round at Flushing Meadows where Petra Cetkovska stunned 2014 U.S Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki. This victory came out of nowhere for Cetkovska who had not won a main draw tour level match prior to the U.S Open in 2015.
This match was a classic case of attack vs defence, in the end fortune favoured the brave. Cetkovska finished the match with a whopping 61 winners and 60 unforced errors whilst Wozniacki hit 23 winners and committed 32 unforced errors. Cetkovska's backhand was particularly destructive, hitting winners from every part of the court off her favourite wing.
The match was full of drama, late night on Arthur Ashe Stadium in front of a vocal New York crowd. Cetkovska looked to heading for a straight set victory when she led 6-4 3-0. Wozniacki had to dig deep to send the match to a decider. The real drama took place towards the end of the deciding set, Cetkovska saved four match points on her serve before producing a phenomenal level of tennis to blow Wozniacki off the court in the deciding tiebreaker.
Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova have produced some epic matches over the years, their marathon second round clash at Roland Garros this year was certainly one of their best. Schiavone and Kuznetsova played out the longest ever match at Grand Slam in the open era at the Australian Open in 2011, a match that lasted 4 hours and 44 minutes. This match wasn’t quite as long lasting 3 hours and 49 minutes but it was just as dramatic. A memorable match between two former champions at Roland Garros.
The match was extremely tight from start to finish, Kuznetsova and Schiavone know each other’s games so well making it difficult just to win points in this match-up. Kuznetsova had her fair share of leads in the deciding set, twice serving for the match and even having a match point on her serve. However Schiavone’s heroics would deny the Russian, claiming another historic victory on the French clay.
This is the first of many matches in my list of top 20 to feature Angelique Kerber. The German and Caroline Wozniacki played out one of the most entertaining finals of the year in Stuttgart. Both ladies produced a high level of tennis as they looked to claim a rare clay court title. Kerber would ultimately finish on top to record back-to- back titles after claiming the title in Charleston the week before, much to the delight of the German crowd.
Angie was surprisingly totally outplayed by Wozniacki in the first set but really upped her intensity and level in the second set to send the match to a decider. The final set was particularly epic. Angie and Caroline were giving their all, it would usually take something pretty special in this match just to win a point.
It was Wozniacki who opened up a lead in the deciding set, serving for the match at 5-3. However Kerber would come roaring back, thriving off the energy from the crowd Kerber would go on to win 4 straight games to claim one of the biggest titles of her career.
12. Australian Open F: Serena Williams d. Maria Sharapova 6-3 7-6
The Australian Open final may not have gone the distance but the quality of this match was certainly high enough to warrant being considered one of the best matches of the year. Serena Williams was forced to work extremely hard for her 19th Grand Slam title. Matches between Serena and Maria are always played at such a high intensity: this was no exception. Both Serena and Maria unleashed some almighty roars, the tension in the air was obvious.
The first set was pretty routine for Serena, it looked like she would cruise to another comfortable victory over Maria. However the Russian really raised her game in the second set and went toe to toe with the world number 1. The second set was extremely close, there were no breaks of serve. Both ladies had opportunities to break but both served very well under pressure.
Maria saved a championship point towards the end of the set before forcing a tiebreaker.The tiebreaker was particularly epic, with so much one the line the two best players in the world gave it their absolute all. Serena’s serve was ultimately the difference, the match fittingly ended with an ace by the American. Serena’s reaction and extremely moving speech after the match added to the occasion.
The 83-minute first set between Garbine Muguruza and Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon was arguably the best set of tennis of the year. The rest of the match was a bit of a letdown, both players were exhausted after the first set and the quality dropped a little.
The first set was truly epic, particularly towards the end. Muguruza survived a 16 minute 12th game, saving 5 set points in the process to send the set to a tiebreaker. The quality of tennis in the 17-minute tiebreak was jaw-dropping. Muguruza would save 4 more set points before triumphing 14-12. Muguruza ended up saving 9 set points in total, most of them were with winners.
The second and third sets were very one-sided, with Kerber sending the match to a decider before Muguruza stormed to victory. The Spaniard’s aggression was ultimately the difference, Garbine hit 57 winners to just 43 unforced errors whilst Kerber ended with a respectable 33 winners and 15 unforced errors.
Unfortunately there seem to be no highlight videos of the Schiavone-Kuznetsova match or the Muguruza-Kerber match.
Angelique Kerber arrives in Antwerp on a high after helping guide Germany to the semi-finals of the Fed Cup with a 3-1 victory over Australia in Stuttgart. After receiving a bye through the first round, Angie faces the veteran qualifier, Francesca Schiavone in the second round.
Angelique Kerber has had a Rollercoaster start to her 2015 season. The season started off well for Angie, reaching the quarter-finals in Brisbane and the semi-finals in Sydney. However Angie would suffer a bitterly disappointing loss to Irina-Camelia Begu in the opening round at the Australian Open.
Angie succumbed to a shock first up loss to Jarmila Gajdosova in the opening rubber of Germany's Fed Cup tie with Australia. Angie would rebound strongly in the reverse singles rubber against Sam Stosur, prevailing in straight sets to give Germany a critical 2-1 lead.
It's hard to know which Angie will show up in Antwerp this week. If Angie brings her best she is a good chance to claim her first title of the season.
After suffering three consecutive first round losses to start the season, Francesca Schiavone has turned her form around in Antwerp.