🇦🇺 Australian Open , R1 Preview 🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇪🇪 Kaia Kanepi
The number 1 player in the world will begin her 2019 Australian Open campaign against a familiar foe. Simona Halep will take on Kaia Kanepi in a first round showdown at Melbourne Park on Tuesday, a dangerous opening round match-up for the Romanian. Kanepi defeated Halep in straight sets at the first round stage of the US Open last year, can the big-hitting Estonian cause another big upset?
Simona Halep is one of the main contenders at the opening grand Slam of 2019, the 2018 runner-up will give her all to go one step further in 2019. Halep started her 2019 campaign a little late, she decided to skip the first week and instead start her season in Sydney. Halep was handed a premature exit in Sydney, the top seed was eliminated in her opening match of the tournament, beaten by Ashleigh Barty in straight sets. It’s hard to read too much into Halep’s loss in Sydney, the conditions were very tough in Sydney, very windy and Halep was understandably rusty in her first match in a while. Melbourne will be a different story.
Kaia Kanepi has not played a match since the US Open last year where she defeated Halep on route to reaching the fourth round. Kanepi took a set of Serena Williams in the fourth round at the US Open, this is the last time we have seen Kanepi in a competitive match, over 4 months ago. Given the her lack of recent matches it is hard to know where Kaia Kanepi is at right now, she is very much a hit or miss type of player.
Kanepi’s 6-2 6-4 victory over Halep at the US Open last year is their only previous meeting. Kanepi’s powerful game blasted through Halep on that occasion, can she do it again in Melbourne?
To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here
Roland Garros, R1 Preview 🇷🇺 (14) Daria Kasatkina vs. 🇪🇪 Kaia Kanepi
The 14th seeded Daria Kasatkina begins her 2018 Roland Garros campaign on Monday with a potentially dangerous clash against Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi. Kasatkina is one to look out for in Paris, the 21-year-old is a player on the rise and is seemingly ready to take the next step and push towards the later stage of a Grand Slam for the first time.
Kasatkina’s recent form has been decent. A quarter-final showing in Madrid which included wins over Q. Wang, Cirstea and Muguruza before succumbing to Kvitova and more recently a third round showing in Rome where she beat Tomljanovic and Collins before succumbing to Svitolina. Kasatkina has reached the third round in Paris in the last few years and will hope to go a step further and reach the second week in 2018.
Kanepi’s recent form is not too impressive, winning just 1 main draw match on clay in 2018. Kanepi was in action in Strasbourg last week where she made her way through the qualifying draw before suffering a very disappointing opening round loss at the hands of Su-Wei Hsieh from a set and a break up.
It is Kanepi who has had the better of this match-up of late. Kanepi holds a 2-1 H2H record over Kasatkina and has won their two most recent matches. The pair met earlier this year in Brisbane where Kanepi won 6-2 6-2. However, it was Kasatkina who won their only previous match on clay back in 2015, it is Kasatkina who is favoured by this surface.
To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here
Australian Open 🇦🇺 R3 Preview
🇪🇪 Kaia Kanepi vs 🇪🇸 Carla Suarez Navarro
Kaia Kanepi and Carla Suarez Navarro will renew hostilities on Friday when they square off for a place in the round of 16 at the 2018 Australian Open. Kanepi and Suarez Navarro have a long history against each other, the head-to-head record between the pair is split at 4 wins apiece. This match-up features a huge contrast in styles. The extreme power of Kanepi up against the all-court, crafty Spaniard. Who will come out on top?
Kaia Kanepi has blasted her way into the third round at Melbourne Park. Kanepi started the week by eliminating former finalist Dominika Cibulkova 6-2 6-2. Kanepi then defeated Monica Puig 6-4 6-3.Two good ins over dangerous opponents. Kanepi has shown that her best tennis is extremely good over the last few weeks. Kanepi bashed her way through the qualifying draw into the quarter-finals in Brisbane in week 1 and is playing at a similarly high level in Melbourne. Kanepi did make a slow start against Puig and looked off when she trailed 1-4 but rebounded nicely to win 11 0f the 14 games and equal her best ever run at the Australian Open by reaching the third round.
Carla Suarez Navarro arrived in Melbourne in poor form and with question marks surrounding her commitment to the tournament. The Spaniard has done well to reach the third round. Carla defeated Magdalena Frech 7-5 6-3 in the opening round. It was in the second round where Suarez Navarro claimed a big win, defeating Timea Babos 6-4 2-6 6-2. Carla’s ability to get past such dangerous opponent will give the former quarter-finalist a big boost of momentum.
The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 4 wins apiece. It has been a while since they last played, it was Kanepi that won 7-5 6-0 at the US Open in 2014.
Australian Open 🇦🇺 R1 Preview
(24) 🇸🇰 Dominika Cibulkova vs 🇪🇪 Kaia Kanepi
A fascinating opening round clash at Melbourne Park on Monday sees the 24th seeded Dominika Cibulkova come up against the dangerous, in-form Estonian Kaia Kanepi. Cibulkova and Kanepi both had good preparation leading into the first Grand Slam of the year. Kanepi reached the quarter-finals in Brisbane whilst Cibulkova reached the quarter-finals in Sydney. This is a tough opening round match-up, one of the toughest in the draw.
Cibulkova, a former finalist at the Australian Open, started her 2018 campaign in Sydney last week where she reached the quarter-finals. Cibulkova started her Sydney campaign with straight set wins over Anastasija Sevastova and Elena Vesnina but was no match for Angelique Kerber in the quarter-finals. The eventual champion beat Cibulkova 6-3 6-1.
Kaia Kanepi started her 2018 campaign in perfect fashion. Kanepi made it through the qualifying draw, winning all 3 matches in straight sets. Kanepi then went on to beat Kasatkina and Tsurenko in the main draw before squandering a set and a break lead against Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals. It was a great week for Kanepi who showed again that her best tennis is still very, very dangerous.
Kanepi holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Cibulkova. It has been a long time since these two played, most recently it was Kanepi that won 6-4 7-6 on clay in Brussels in 2013.
Brisbane International, Quarter-Final Preview
(2) 🇨🇿 Karolina Pliskova vs (Q) 🇪🇪 Kaia Kanepi
Karolina Pliskova continues her title defense on Thursday night at the Brisbane International where she takes on Kaia Kanepi at the quarter-final stage. After receiving an opening round bye, Pliskova was dominant in her first match of the tournament, easily beating CiCi Bellis in less than an hour. Pliskova will face a tougher test against the Estonian qualifier who has won 5 matches in Brisbane without dropping a set.
Karolina Pliskova showed no signs of rust in her opening match of the 2018 season. Pliskova destroyed CiCi Bellis 6-1 6-1 in less than an hour. Pliskova’s serve was on, winning 91% percent of points behind her first serve, Pliskova did not face a break point all match.
2012 Brisbane champion Kaia Kanepi is back into the quarter-finals at one of her favourite events. Kanepi blasted her way through the qualifying draw without dropping a set and has carried that form into the main draw. Kanepi beat Daria Kasatkina 6-2 6-2 and Lesia Tsurenko 6-4 6-3. Kanepi has not dropped more 4 games in any set in her 5 matches this week in Brisbane. There are some danger signs for Kanepi who was struggling at times against Tsurenko and called for the trainer, it was a very low quality match.
Pliskova has won both of the previous matches between the pair, both on clay and quite some time ago. Most recently Pliskova beat Kanepi 7-5 6-3 in Katowice.
Brisbane International, R2 Preview
🇺🇦 Lesia Tsurenko vs (Q) 🇪🇪 Kaia Kanepi
Lesia Tsurenko claimed one of the first big upsets of the 2018 season by defeating Ashleigh Barty 6-3 6-2 in the opening round at the Brisbane International. Tsurenko will look to build on her terrific win over Barty when she comes up against big-hitting Estonian Kaia Kanepi in the second round on Wednesday. Surprisingly, this will be the first career meeting between Tsurenko and Kanepi, despite both being on the tour for around a decade.
Lesia Tsurenko produced an extremely high level of tennis to eliminate the 8th seeded Ashleigh Barty in the opening round in Brisbane. Tsurenko produced a clinical serving performance, the Ukrainian did not face a break point all match whilst forcing 3 breaks of the Barty serve. Tsurenko ended 2017 in poor form, her win over Barty should be just what she needs to rebuild her confidence.
Kaia Kanepi, a former champion at the Brisbane International, has gotten her 2018 season off to a great start at the first premier event of the season. Kanepi rolled through the qualifying draw, dropping no more than 5 games in each of her 3 qualifying victories. Kanepi kept her level up in her first main draw match on Monday, Kanepi clinically disposed of Daria Kasatkina, claiming a surprisingly comprehensive 6-2 6-2 victory. The quick hard courts in Brisbane really suit the big game of Kanepi, the former champion loves this event and looms as a dangerous prospect to all opponent this week.
It will be interesting to see how this matchup plays out in the first career meeting between the pair.
The fourth and final quarter-final from the Brisbane International will see second seed Ana Ivanovic take on former champion Kaia Kanepi on Pat Rafter Arena.
Ana Ivanovic made a reasonable start to her 2015 campaign, overcoming an early scare to defeat Jarmila Gajdosova in straight sets 6-4 6-1. Jarmila had break point opportunities late in the opening set but was unable to convert. The Aussie then handed Ana the set with a wayward service game, finished off with a double fault. Ana took total control of the match in second set as the Aussie's resistance halted. Ana will need to play much more consistently against the dangerous Kaia Kanepi on Thursday night .
Kaia Kanepi made an impressive start to her 2015 campaign with an extremely hard fought 6-4 5-7 6-4 victory over Andrea Petkovic in the opening round. Kanepi then scraped past Madison Brengle 6-3 7-6 to set up a quarter-final clash with the second set. Kanepi's performance was mediocre for much of the second set but she did what she needed to do in the end.
This will surprisingly be the first career meeting between these two hard hitters. We can expect a fast paced match which is sure to thrill the Pat Rafter Arena crowd. This should be a tight match, Kanepi can potentially take advantage of Ivanovic's wayward second serve. However it's hard to say Kanepi will win this match with any real confidence.
Prediction: Ana Ivanovic to defeat Kaia Kanepi in three sets