Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open, Preview + Prediction
R1: (2) 🇺🇸 Venus Williams vs 🇯🇵 Risa Ozaki
Venus Williams was the only active top player to skip both Wuhan and Beijing. Williams will instead begin her Asian campaign in Hong Kong this week, a tournament that Venus will use as a warm up for the WTA Finals which get under way in two weeks’ time. Venus will begin her Hong Kong campaign with an opening round clash against Japanese qualifer Risa Ozaki.
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Continue reading Venus Williams vs Risa Ozaki, Hong Kong R1 Preview
Roland Garros, 🇫🇷🐌 R1 Preview + Prediction
🇯🇵 Risa Ozaki vs 🇨🇦 Eugenie Bouchard
Eugenie Bouchard will begin her 2017 Roland Garros campaign on Tuesday with a first clash against Japan’s Risa Ozaki. Bouchard has generally underachieved in 2017, however she looked to turn a corner a few weeks ago in Madrid where she won one of the matches of the year against Maria Sharapova on route to a quarter-final exit. Risa Ozaki looms as a good first round draw for Bouchard, an opponent she should be beating.
Continue reading Risa Ozaki vs Eugenie Bouchard, Roland Garros R1 Preview
Indian Wells R1: Eugenie Bouchard vs (Q) Risa Ozaki
Eugenie Bouchard will commence her BNP Paribas Open campaign on Thursday night where she will take on Japanese qualifier Risa Ozaki in the first round. Bouchard continues to improve tournament by tournament, clearly showing much greater form in the opening months of 2016 compared to her generally disastrous form in 2015. Bouchard’s 2015 downward spiral actually started at the is very event when she suffered a shock fourth round loss to Lesia Tsurenko, Genie will be keen to make amends for that this year and potentially advance past the fourth round in the Californian desert for the very first time.
Bouchard arrives at Indian Wells fresh off a run to the final at the BMW Malaysian Open last week. The Canadian stormed through a relatively weak field without dropping a set before being defeated by Elina Svitolina in an agonizingly close final. Bouchard actually served for the title in the final set but was ultimately outlasted by her seemingly healthier opponent. There are some question marks surrounding Bouchard’s health heading into this event given the Canadian apparently suffered concussion symptoms during the final in Malaysia and was advised by the WTA trainer to retire from the match, a concerning moment for Bouchard. Despite this, Bouchard has been seen practising at Indian Wells and seems to be in good spirits and ready to go.
Risa Ozaki was also in action last week at the BMW Malaysian Open and also had a relatively good week. Ozaki came through the qualifying draw before shocking Elizaveta Kulichkova in the main draw. Ozaki was eliminated in the second round by eventual champion Elina Svitolina in a three set match. The 21-year-old made her way through to the main draw of BNP Paribas Open courtesy of a couple of impressive victories over Magda Linette and Anett Kontaveit.
This will be the first career meeting between Bouchard and Ozaki. This looks like a pretty big mismatch on paper, the Canadian will enter this match as the clear favourite despite Ozaki’s relatively good recent form. Bouchard’s level has generally been quite stable this year and there is no real reason to suggest that she will stumble here. Ozaki may be daunted by the occasion, given this will be the biggest crowd she has ever played in front of. If Bouchard wins this, she will set up a blockbuster second round clash with Sloane Stephens.
Prediction: Eugenie Bouchard to defeat Risa Ozaki in 2 sets
Malaysian Open R2: (2) Elina Svitolina vs (Q) Risa Ozaki
Elina Svitolina is the highest seed left in the draw in Kuala Lumpur after Roberta Vinci suffered a shock first round exit on Tuesday night. The Ukrainian has a wonderful opportunity to claim her fourth career title this week and her first under the guidance of new coach Justine Henin. The 21-year-old will face Japanese qualifier Risa Ozaki in the second round on Thursday, a match she will start as the heavy favourite.
Svitolina’s start to the season has generally been quite disappointing. The Ukrainian suffered an early round exit at the Australian Open and has only won back-to-back matches at one event. The Malaysian Open is a great chance to Svitolina to gain much needed winning momentum heading into the big premier mandatory events at Indian Wells and Miami. Elina cruised through her opening round match in Kuala Lumper, recording a crushing 6-1 6-1 victory over Miyo Kato. Svitolina seems very focused this week and well positioned to contend for the title.
Risa Ozaki is having a great week in Kuala Lumpur. Ozaki won a couple of close matches to advance through the qualifying draw before recording a surprising easy 6-0 6-2 victory over Elizaveta Kulichkova, one of the best victories of the 21-year-old's career. Ozaki will face the toughest challenge of her career thus far when she comes up against Svitolina in the second round on Thursday.
This is a big mismatch of paper; Svitolina is clearly the more accomplished player. Svitolina rarely loses to players that she should beat and I can’t see this match breaking that trend. Ozaki is not used to playing opponents of Svitolina’s calibre and is likely to struggle in this match-up. Svitolina should win this comfortably.
Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Risa Ozaki in 2 sets