Roland Garros, 🇫🇷🐌 R1 Preview + Prediction
(5) 🇺🇦 Elina Svitolina vs 🇰🇿 Yaroslava Shvedova
Elina Svitolina enters Roland Garros on a high, the Ukrainian arrives at Roland Garros with newfound expectations at this level and has emerged as a genuine contender to win the title. Svitolina had the perfect preparation for Paris, winning the biggest title of her career at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. On the other her first round opponent, Yaroslava Shvedova has really struggled in 2017 but still looms as a dangerous opponent and will take some confidence into this match knowing that she defeated Svitolina in their only previous meeting at Wimbledon last year.
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Miami Open, 🇺🇸🌴🐬 R1 Match Preview
🇷🇸 Jelena Jankovic vs 🇰🇿 Yaroslava Shvedova
A fascinating opening round match in Miami sees two veterans of the tour go head-to-head, Jelena Jankovic and Yaroslava Shvedova. Both Jankovic and Shvedova have struggled to produce their best tennis in 2017 but both will be hopeful that will change soon, especially after seeing so many of their fellow competitors playing their career best tennis in their 30’s. Jankovic has a dominant record over Shvedova but her recent form suggests that this match is far from a certainty.
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Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, Third Round 🇨🇳
(4) 🇷🇴 Simona Halep vs 🇰🇿 Yaroslava Shvedova
Simona Halep will be searching for her first win over Yaroslava Shvedova when the pair meet at the third round stage of the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open. Shvedova eased past Halep 6-4 6-2 in their only previous meeting which took place at the 2012 Olympics on the grass of SW19. Shvedova enters this third round clash in great form and looms as a real threat to the fourth seeded Romanian.
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Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, Second Round 🇨🇳
(13) 🇮🇹 Roberta Vinci vs 🇰🇿 Yaroslava Shvedova
Two veterans of the tour will go head-to-head in what should be a tight second round match at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open on Tuesday. Vinci and Shvedova both won through to the second round with convincing straight set wins, both have been in good form of late.
Roberta Vinci has solidified her spot in the top 20 in season 2016, thanks largely to a solid run to the quarter-finals at the U.S Open earlier this month. Vinci was on a hot streak this time last year as she went on to reach the semi-finals in Wuhan, the zippy surface seems to suit the Italian. Vinci’s 2016 Wuhan campaign got off to a flying start on Sunday when she comfortably dispatched Monica Puig 6-3 6-3, Vinci served particularly well throughout the match as she served 7 aces and did not face a break point for the entire match.
Yaroslava Shvedova also arrived in Wuhan with confidence after a pleasing run to the second week in New York earlier this month. The Kazakh is competing in Wuhan for the very first time and made a near flawless start on Sunday when she thumped Saisai Zheng 6-0 6-3. Shvedova was unstoppable in the first set before holding off a late fightback from Zheng. Shvedova also went through her opening match without being broken, a good sign for Shvedova.
This looks like a rare match-up on the WTA tour where holding serve is very important, particularly on this surface. This is an old-school match-up between two players that frequently move forward to the net, both have great volleying technique. There is little to separate the pair, but Vinci seemingly has a slight edge.
The Italian holds a 3-2 head-to-head record over Shvedova. It was the Kazakh who won their most recent match earlier this year, a 6-0 4-6 6-3 win in Dubai. I suspect Vinci will avenge that loss on this occasion, both are capable of taking care of their service games but Vinci’s baseline game is generally more consistent and therefore she will win in this match-up more often than not.
Prediction: Roberta Vinci to defeat Yaroslava Shvedova in 3 sets
Wimbledon 🇬🇧 Second Round Match Preview + Prediction
🇰🇿 Yaroslava Shvedova vs (17) 🇺🇦 Elina Svitolina
Yaroslava Shvedova and Elina Svitolina will go head-to-head for the first time on Wednesday when they meet at the second round stage at Wimbledon. This is a fascinating match-up because of the extreme contrast in styles and level of experience. Shvedova is far more experienced and far more powerful and aggressive whilst the younger Svitolina relies on consistency and her superior movement, a clear contrast in styles.
Yaroslava Shvedova has all the weapons to be force on a grass court. The Kazakh has advanced to the second week at the All England Club on two previous occasions and seemingly has another one (maybe more) deep runs left in her. Shvedova’s singles form in the lead-up to Wimbledon has been very disappointing having lost 9 of her last 10 matches. Nevertheless, Shvedova managed to claim one of her most impressive wins of the season in her opening match in London, defeating Julia Goerges 7-5 6-4. Shvedova served particularly well throughout the match and will need her serve to fire in her second round clash with Svitolina if she is to claim an upset victory.
Elina Svitolina has never been particularly comfortable on a grass court. The young Ukrainian’s game is far better suited to a clay court and her results at Roland Garros compared to Wimbledon over the years make this very clear. Elina has advanced to the second week in Paris on two occasions (from four appearances) but has only won 2 matches at Wimbledon. One of those victories was on Monday where Svitolina claimed a reasonably comfortable 6-2 6-3 win over Naomi Broady to advance to the second round. Elina was solid from the baseline and managed to roll through the match without facing a break point.
This match is clearly an opportunity for Shvedova. The result of this match is almost entirely based on Yaroslava’s level of play. The Kazakh’s recent results suggest that she is not playing well enough to win this match but there is no doubt that Shvedova is capable of producing a level of tennis that can beat Svitolina on this surface. There were some good signs for the Kazakh on Monday in her first round match and she is experienced enough to know that this is a good opportunity for her, I think Shvedova will raise her level for this match and ultimately overpower the Ukrainian who is not comfortable on a grass court.
Prediction: Yaroslava Shvedova to defeat Elina Svitolina in 3 sets
Roland Garros, First Round:
(13) 🇷🇺 Svetlana Kuznetsova vs 🇰🇿 Yaroslava Shvedova
Svetlana Kuznetsova will begin her Roland Garros campaign on Sunday with a potentially tricky first round clash against Yaroslava Shvedova. The 2009 Roland Garros champion has consistently been considered one the best clay court players over the last decade and arrives in Paris in good form after a quarter-final appearance in Rome. Yaroslava Shvedova’s recent form has been far less impressive, but the Kazakh is always a dangerous opponent because her best is very good as we have seen in the past in Paris.
Svetlana Kuznetsova’s results have generally been quite erratic in 2016 but have been more consistent in recent times. Kuznetsova’s best result of the year was reaching the final in Miami where she defeated Serena Williams on route to the final before succumbing to Victoria Azarenka. Svetlana has made a solid start to the clay court season, reaching the semi-finals in Prague and the quarter-finals in Rome. It seems like Kuznetsova has had the perfect preparation for the second Grand Slam of the year, a tournament Svetlana has thrived at having made at least the quarter-final stage on seven previous occasions. The Russian’s recent form suggests another deep run is a real possibility.
Yaroslava Shvedova has had a really disappointing year (in singles), having won just 5 main draw matches. Shvedova arrives in Paris on the back of four consecutive losses, including three disappointing first round losses in Madrid (Mariana Duque-Marino, Rome (Ana Konjuh) and Strasbourg (Virginie Razzano). Nevertheless, Shvedova is a two-time former quarter-finalist in Paris and is capable of quickly turning her form around. This could actually be a good match-up for Shvedova because she will enter this clash with nothing to lose.
Surprisingly, this will be the first career meeting between Kuznetsova and Shvedova. Kuznetsova clearly has the better form heading into this match and is looking far more confident and comfortable on court in recent months. It would take a huge turnaround in form for Shvedova to even be competitive in this match-up because Kuznetsova isn't going to give anything away and will make life extremely difficult for the Kazakh. It is hard to see this match ending in anything other than a straight set win for an in form Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Prediction: Svetlana Kuznetsova to defeat Yaroslava Shvedova in 2 sets
Day 3 at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships was one of the most bizarre days in terms of results we have seen all year on the WTA tour. Almost every single match ended with the underdog emerging victorious. Heading into the quarter-finals there are no seeded players left in the draw, in fact no seeded player won a match this week. The draw is now wide open for any of the remaining 8 players to become an unlikely champion this week in Dubai. After days like this the dedication of the top players has to be questioned as players such as Garbine Muguruza produced a ridiculously poor level of tennis.
The day started with 2 strange matches. Both Barbora Strycova and Caroline Garcia came back from a set and a break down to record what seemed like an unlikely victory. Barbora Strycova trailed Julia Goerges by a set and 0-3 before winning 12 of the next 13 games to book her spot in the quarter-finals. Goerges was seemingly cursing to victory playing unbelievably well before suddenly collapsing as Strycova raised her level of play. Strycova was actually in tears after the first set and seemed like she little or no fight left in her which made her stunning end to the match all the more surprising.
Caroline Garcia pulled a similar trick, coming from a set and 4-2 down to advance to the final 8 with a 4-6 6-4 6-3 victory. Suarez Navarro had multiple game points to take a 5-3 lead in the second set but was typically shaky when the pressure was on and committed far too many unforced errors. A rain delay halted proceedings with Garcia serving for the match at 5-3 in the deciding set, Garcia did well to close out the match when play resumed after an awkward wait. It was a good win for Garcia who was not at her best for most of the match but never stopped fighting and was ultimately rewarded for her efforts.
When play resumed after a lengthy rain delay the upsets continued. Andrea Petkovic recorded a surprisingly comfortable 6-3 6-2 victory over Jelena Jankovic whilst Sara Errani thumped a hopelessly disappointing Yaroslava Shvedova 6-3 6-0. The Kazakh was a shadow of her best, and a shadow of the player that smashed Errani at Wimbledon in their previous meetings. Shvedova hit far too many reckless unforced errors and pretty much handed Errani a place in the next. Credit to Errani, she was there to take advantage of her opponent’s poor performance.
Sara Errani will face Madison Brengle in the quarter-finals after the American produced yet another upset win by defeating Petra Kvitova 0-6 7-6 6-3. It was a gutsy victory by Brengle considering she was totally outplayed in the opening set. The American also trailed by a break in the deciding set before rallying to win the final 5 games of the match. It was a horrific loss for Kvitova as her season goes from bad to worse. Garbine Muguruza’s season has also gone from bad to worse, the Spaniard hit a whopping 68 unforced errors in straight set loss to Elina Svitolina. Muguruza didn't seem to interested in the match and couldn't have played much worse. Svitolina finished the match with 8 winners and 28 unforced errors but that was good enough to get he win on the night.
Day 3 also saw the defending champion dumped from the event in her opening match of the week. The top seeded Simona Halep was ousted by Ana Ivanovic who recorded a 7-6 6-2 victory over the Romanian. Halep has ahead for almost the entire first set and served for the set at 5-4 where she squandered a set point before eventually being totally outplayed in the tiebreak. Simona offered very little resistance in the second set as Ivanovic ran away with the match and continued her resurgence after a poor start to the year. CoCo Vandeweghe was also victorious on day 3, winning a topsy-turvy three match against Kristina Mladenovic.
With no seeded player left in the day heading into the quarter-finals every player left in the draw should feel as though they have a legitimate chance to win the title. It will be interesting to see who is able to make the most of this rare opportunity.
Day 2 in Dubai was again headlined by upsets as both of last week’s St. Petersburg finalists were dumped out of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in the first round. Roberta Vinci was defeated by Yaroslava Shvedova in 3 sets whilst Belinda Bencic also suffered a 3 set loss, succumbing to Jelena Jankovic.
Ana Ivanovic made a huge statement in her opening round match in Dubai. The Serb recorded the biggest victory of her season thus far in what was clearly her best performance of the season thus far, defeating Daria Gavrilova 6-1 6-0 in less than an hour of play. Ivanovic was surprisingly solid and made few unforced errors in a very clean match whilst Gavrilova was a huge disappointment, playing her worst match of the season thus far. Ivanovic’s reward is blockbuster second round clash with defending champion and top seed Simona Halep on Wednesday.
Barbora Strycova and Elina Svitolina also made strong starts to their Dubai campaign on Tuesday. Elina Svitolina won her first match with Justine Henin by her side, Svitolina was a class above Jana Cepelova, earning a reasonably comfortable 6-3 6-1 victory to set up a second round clash with Garbine Muguruza. Barbora Strycova produced an impressive display of all-court tennis to comfortably defeat Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4 6-3. Strycova served reasonably well and was very consistent from the baseline, using the drop shot very well against a slow moving Pironkova.
Belinda Bencic and Roberta Vinci were the two form players heading into this event after reaching the final in St. Petersburg last week. However, both ladies were unable to advance past the first round in Dubai on Tuesday. Belinda Bencic got herself into a winning position against Jelena Jankovic but lost her cool towards the end of the second set and ultimately suffered a disappointing 6-4 5-7 4-6 loss to the Serb. Roberta Vinci was a shadow of the player that stormed to the title in St. Petersburg, succumbing to Yaroslava Shvedova 0-6 6-4 3-6 in a topsy-turvy encounter. Sara Errani also advanced to the second round, defeating Chinese qualifier Saisai Zheng in straight sets.
Play will heat up on Wednesday in Dubai with a number of blockbuster second round matches including Ivanovic vs Halep, Muguruza vs Svitolina and Garcia vs Suarez Navarro. Every player left in the draw has some kind of a chance to go on to win the title this week, it will be interesting to see who makes the most of this relatively open draw at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Dubai R2: (Q) Yaroslava Shvedova vs Sara Errani
Yaroslava Shvedova is the only qualifier remaining in the draw at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. The Kazakh has a great opportunity to go even further in the draw when she comes up against Sara Errani in the second round on Wednesday. This is a great match-up for Shvedova who has won the 3 previous matches between the pair and famously won a ‘golden set’ against Errani at Wimbledon in their most recent match.
Yaroslava Shvedova has been threatening to go on a deep run at a big WTA event in recent months and this looks like her moment. Shvedova came through a tough qualifying draw, recording victories over Zarina Diyas, Yafan Wang and finally Denisa Allertova. Shvedova actually saved a match point in final match of qualifying against Allertova in a tense final set tiebreaker. The Kazakh carried momentum from her run through qualies into the main draw where she upset last week’s St. Petersburg champion Roberta Vinci 6-0 4-6 6-3. Shvedova will face another Italian in the form of Sara Errani in the second round, an opponent Shvedova matches up extremely well against.
Sara Errani has made a really disappointing start to the season. The Italian arrived in Dubai on a 4 match losing streak but managed to break that string of losses with a hard-fought 7-5 6-3 victory over Saisai Zheng in the first round in Dubai on Tuesday. Errani will have revenge on her mind leading into her second round clash with Yaroslava Shvedova, an opponent that embarrassed her in their most recent clash.
Yaroslava Shvedova holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Sara Errani and has won the 3 most recent meetings between the pair. Shvedova famously defeated Errani 6-4 6-0 at Wimbledon in 2012 without dropping a point in the opening set. Shvedova absolutely bossed Errani around the court that day in a clinical performance.
I think Shvedova should be able to continue her winning ways against Errani. This is clearly a good match-up for Shvedova who boasts extreme power in her game and is easily able to blow Errani off the court. The conditions in Dubai will further aid Shvedova in this match-up, especially because they will be playing during the afternoon where the ball will fly through the air. This match is all on Shvedova’s racquet and her recent form suggests she will be good enough to win this match, a golden opportunity for Shvedova to reach a premier level quarter-final for the first time in a while.
Prediction: Yaroslava Shvedova to defeat Sara Errani in 2 sets
(16) Lucie Safarova vs Yaroslava Shvedova
Lucie Safarova enters the 2015 Australian Open as one of the form players outside the main contenders. lucie will open her campaign against dangerous floater Yaroslava Shvedova.
Lucie Safarova kick started her 2015 campaign with a solid week at the Hopman Cup. Lucie demolished Eugenie Bouchard in her match at the Hopman Cup before defeating Flavia Pennetta in straight sets. In her final match in Perth, Lucie came agonisingly close to her first career victory over Serena, eventually succumbing in a third set tiebreaker.
After a career best season in 2014, Lucie seems to be playing with a high degree of confidence and belief, something she has lacked in the past. This could be a big year for Lucie, a spot in the top 10 could be just around the corner.
Yaroslava Shvedova progressed through the qualifying draw in Brisbane before coming from a set down to defeat Sabine Lisicki in the opening round. In the second round Shvedova ran into a red-hot Maria Sharapova, suffering a 6-0 6-1 loss. In Sydney Shvedova bowed out in the opening round of qualifying, a disappointing loss to Katerina Siniakova.
These two have met on one previous, it was Shvedova who prevailed in straight sets. A 6-3 6-4 victory in Cincinnati back in 2012. Shvedova can be an awkward opponent, you never quite know what you're going to get from her. Nevertheless it's hard to see Shvedova upsetting an in form Lucie Safarova.
Prediction: Lucie Safarova to defeat Yaroslava Shvedova in straight sets