The 2016 Hopman Cup will begin on Sunday where both Australian teams will be in action. Serena Williams will be the headline act at the event for the second year in a row, the tournament also features a number of WTA rising stars including Karolina Pliksova, Elina Svitolina, Caroline Garcia and Daria Gavrilova. Unfortunately Poland will not be defending their title 2016 title, a new champion will be crowned.
Australia Green vs Germany: Daria Gavrilova vs Sabine Lisicki
Daria Gavrilova will be representing Australia for the very first time when she contests the opening match of the tournament against German Sabine Lisicki on Sunday.
It will be interesting to see how Gavrilova responds to the occasion, this will be an important moment for Daria. Gavrilova is a passionate character and should thrive in this type of situation, Daria will be keen to impress with a spot in the Australian Fed Cup team up for grabs in 2016.
Sabine Lisicki will be making her first appearance at the Hopman Cup since 2010. Lisicki has struggled at the Australian Open in recent years, failing to get passed in the second round in her last three appearances. Sabine will be hoping a change in preparation will lead to better results in Melbourne, a guaranteed 3 matches is always useful.
This will be the first ever meeting between Daria and Sabine. The two were scheduled to meet in the second round at Roland Garros last year but Daria was forced to hand Sabine a walkover due to injury.
This is an interesting match-up between one of the hardest hitters on the tour and one of the quickest players on the tour. Both have the ability to hurt the other, it will all be about who is able to execute their game in their first competitive match of the year. I think Gavrilova will be extra motivated to pick up a victory in her first match representing Australia. It will be tough for Sabine to come out and hit Daria off the court in her first match of the year.
Prediction: Daria Gavrilova to defeat Sabine Lisicki in 3 sets
Australia Gold vs Czech Republic: Jarmila Gajdosova vs Karolina Pliskova
Both Jarmila Gajdosova and Karolina Pliskova were late entries into the 2016 Hopman Cup. Jarmila Gajdosova is replacing the injured Casey Dellacqua whilst Karolina Pliskova is replacing the injured Lucie Safarova. This promises to be fast paced match between two ladies who prefer to keep rallies as short as possible.
Jarmila and Karolina are quite experienced when it comes to representing their country, Gajdosova has represented Australia in the Fed Cup world group stage whilst Karolina Pliskova was a crucial member of a triumphant Czech Republic Fed Cup team in 2016.
Karolina Pliskova and Jarmila Gajdosova were both pretty active during the off-season, competing in the IPTL. Karolina’s off-season was particularly busy given she also competed in the Fed Cup final, this could give Karolina an edge heading into this event as she will not be as rusty as her opponents.
Karolina won the only previous encounter between the pair, a 7-6 6-1 victory in Miami 2013 at the qualifying stage. Karolina does most things better than Jarmila and should enjoy the slightly more relaxed atmosphere at the Hopman Cup.