Wimbledon 🇬🇧 First Round Match Preview + Prediction
(15) 🇨🇿 Karolina Pliskova vs 🇧🇪 Yanina Wickmayer
Karolina Pliskova arrives in London full of momentum having won more main draw matches on grass than any other player in 2016 heading into the third Grand Slam of the year. The Czech will need to be very focused heading into a dangerous first round clash at SW19 where she will come up against Yanina Wickmayer. This should be a close match between two fairly similar types of players.
Karolina Pliskova is one of the form players on the tour heading into Wimbledon. Pliskova started the grass court season perfectly by claiming the title in Birmingham and backed up that success with a run to the final in Eastbourne. Pliskova recorded impressive wins over Elena Vesnina and Johanna Konta in Eastbourne but was ultimately outplayed by Dominika Cibulkova in the final where she succumbed in straight sets. Pliskova will be keen to convert her recent form into success at the Grand Slam level, something she has been unable to do in the past. Despite being a prominent member of the top 20 for quite some time Pliskova has never advanced past the third round of a Grand Slam and will be desperate to change that over the next couple of weeks.
Yanina Wickmayer’s form in the lead up to Wimbledon has not been anywhere near as impressive as Pliskova but Wickmayer has shown some relatively good form by her own standards. Wickmayer’s run to the quarter-finals in Birmingham was particularly encouraging, the Belgian recorded confidence-boosting victories over Caroline Wozniacki and Johanna Konta before being comfortably beaten by CoCo Vandeweghe. Wickmayer was unable to build on her solid form when she moved on to Eastbourne, Yanina suffered a first round loss to Kristina Mladenovic in what was a fairly close straight set match. Ultimately, Wickmayer will be reasonably confident heading into her first round clash at SW19.
Karolina Pliskova holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Yanina Wickmayer and has won the two most recent matches between the pair. The most recent match between the two came on the clay in Prague last year where Pliskova claimed a 6-4 7-5 win. Monday’s match will be the first meeting between the pair on a grass court.
Karolina Pliskova clearly has the better form heading into this match and will therefore start a clear favourite, but the truth is that these two are probably quite evenly matched (especially on a grass court). Both ladies possess powerful serves and powerful groundstrokes, Pliskova is obviously the more consistent player in recent times but Wickmayer is more than capable of matching Pliskova. This match looms as a potential upset given Pliskova’s poor record at Grand Slam events and Wickmayer’s ability to raise her level in these types of matches.
Prediction: Yanina Wickmayer to defeat Karolina Pliskova in 3 sets
St. Petersburg R2: (2) Roberta Vinci vs Yanina Wickmayer
After receiving a bye through the opening round, the second seeded Roberta Vinci will begin her St. Petersburg campaign on Wednesday evening with clash against Yanina Wickmayer. Roberta Vinci has an incredible recent record over Wickmayer having won the last 6 encounters between the pair, the Italian will be confident she can keep her winning streak over the Belgium going with a victory in St. Petersburg.
Roberta Vinci had a decent Australian summer but was ultimately left disappointed after a third round loss in Melbourne to Anna-Lena Friedsam. Vinci’s form since her shock run to the final in New York last year has been pretty consistent and she has therefore been able to maintain her spot in the top 20. The Italian will see this week as a good opportunity to go on a deep a run, a rare occasion where Roberta has been seeded so highly at a premier level event.
Yanina Wickmayer finally recorded her first main draw victory of the year on Tuesday, defeating Jelena Ostapenko 6-4 6-3 in her first round match in St. Petersburg. Wickmayer played some decent tennis and seemed to enjoy the conditions, the Belgium is certainly capable of playing some good tennis indoors. Yanina will need to be at her best on Wednesday if she is to advance any further this week.
Roberta Vinci holds a 6-2 head-to-head record over Yanina Wickmayer and has won the last 6 encounters between the pair. Vinci’s most recent win over Wickmayer was a crushing 6-0 6-2 win on clay in Estoril in 2014. This is clearly a bad match-up for Wickmayer and it is not hard to see why. Vinci is very good at mixing up her play and keeping the ball low through the court which is the type of play that really troubles Wickmayer. Vinci is also able to expose Wickmayer’s poor movement. Wickmayer did play well in her opening match and might be good enough to claim a set here but Vinci should win.
Prediction: Roberta Vinci to defeat Yanina Wickmayer in 3 sets
Brisbane R1: Yanina Wickmayer vs Dominika Cibulkova
Main draw action at the Brisbane International begins on Sunday, Yanina Wickmayer and Dominika Cibulkova will compete in the first match of the tournament on Pat Rafter Arena.
Dominika has had very poor results in Brisbane over the last couple of years, suffering 3 first round exits in her previous 4 appearances at the event including a first round loss to Madison Keys in 2015. Despite her poor record at Brisbane, Dominika has played some of her best tennis at the Australian Open where she made her first Grand Slam final in 2014 and reached the quarter-finals in 2015. Dominika will be expecting another strong Australian summer.
Yanina Wickmayer ended season 2015 in promising form, winning titles in Tokyo and Carlsbad. Yanina will look to carry that winning momentum into her Australian summer campaign. The Belgian will see this match as an opportunity, she has beaten Dominika multiple times in the past.
Cibulkova holds a 3-2 head-to-head record over Wickmayer. Cibulkova has won 3 of their last 4 meetings including their 2 most recent matches, picking up a 7-5 6-2 victory in Acapulco in 2014 in what was their most recent match. 2016 should be a big year for Cibulkova, I expect the Slovakian to make a strong start with a victory over Wickmayer.
Prediction: Dominika Cibulkova to defeat Yanina Wickmayer in 2 sets
U.S Open R2: (20) Victoria Azarenka vs Yanina Wickmayer
Victoria Azarenka stormed through her first round encounter on Tuesday, crushing Lucie Hradecka in a dominant 6-1 6-2 victory. The two-time former finalist at Flushing Meadows will come up against Yanina Wickmayer in the second round on Thursday.
Victoria Azarenka has been slowly gaining momentum in 2015, ultimately halted by tough draws at the big events. With Serena Williams on the other side of the draw and a host of seeded players suffering early losses, this seems like the perfect opportunity for Azarenka to make her first real deep run at a Grand Slam in 2015. Azarenka was extremely fired up during her first round victory over Lucie Hradecka, it looks like it’s going to take a big effort to stop the determined Belarusian over the next fortnight.
Yanina Wickmayer advanced to the second round in New York for the first time since 2012 with a comfortable 6-3 6-1 victory over Francesca Schiavone. Wickmayer was far too powerful for Schiavone, blasting her way past the Italian. The former semi-finalist in New York has had a poor season, however she is always a dangerous opponent, always capable of playing damaging tennis.
In the only previous meeting between Vika and Wickmayer, the Belarussian cruised to a 6-0 6-4 victory in Doha back in 2012. This is a good match-up for Vika who will be able to absorb and redirect the pace thrown at her by Wickmayer. Azarenka is on a mission and will be far too strong here.
Prediction: Vika Azarenka to defeat Yanina Wickmayer in 2 sets
Sam Stosur has become the first seed to fall at the Championships, going down to Yanina Wickmayer 6-3 6-4 on Court 3. It was an extremely close match; the difference was Wickmayer’s break point conversion rate was much higher than Stosur’s, Wickmayer broke 4 times from 6 chances whilst Stosur only managed one break from four chances. Stosur was always chasing the game after going down an early break and was ultimately unable to recover from her lacklustre start to the match.
Sam Stosur was caught knapping in the opening couple of games, handing Wickmayer the ascendancy. The Australian number 17 seed would frame two forehands to go down 0-30 and would eventually be broken in her opening service game. Winners began to flow off the racquet of Wickmayer, consolidating the break to lead 2-0. From here both Ladies struggled to put any pressure on their opponents serve, Stosur beginning to serve particularly well. At 3-5 Stosur would serve to stay in the set, Wickmayer stepped up the aggression, breaking to take the set 6-3.
A much better start to the second set from Stosur, a backhand winner down the line would bring up two break points for the Australian. However Wickmayer would hold firm, reeling off 4 straight points to hold serve. Despite the disappointment of the previous game, Stosur would hold to love to keep the pressure on Wickmayer. It was in the sixth game that Wickmayer would go in for the kill, breaking Stosur to go up 4-2. When Wickmayer held to love to go up 5-2 it seemed like Stosur had nothing more to give. A gutsy comeback saw Stosur hold to love before breaking Wickmayer for the first time the match. Stosur's momentum was halted when she double faulted to start the tenth game, Wickmayer would fittingly break to finish off the match with a booming forehand winner.