Sunday, 27 May 2018

Roland Garros Women’s Singles predictions

The lead up tournaments to Roland Garros have been run and won


Marton Fucsovics defeated Peter Gojowczyk 6-2 6-2 to win in Geneva 


Dominic Thiem (1) defeated Gilles Simon 3-6 7-6(1) 6-1 to win in Lyon


Johanna Larsson defeated Alison Riske 7-6(4) 6-4 to win in Nurnberg 


Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (3) defeated wildcard Dominika Cibulkova (5) 6-7(5) 7-6(3) 7-6(6) in a top class match lasting three hours and thirty five minutes.  Both players were hitting outright winners from the start to the end of the match.


Roland Garros begins tonight in Paris, Australian time and my predictions for the Women’s Singles are as follows:


With mothers Serena Williams and Vika Azarenka included in the draw, plus in form Maria Sharapova, the field is as good as it gets.

Serena and Vika are not seeded, and Maria is seeded 28, so all three are dangerous in the draw.  If former champions Serena and Maria win their first two matches they will play each other in the third round.


Top seed is Simona Halep, last years losing finalist.

Her first round opponent is losing Nurnberg finalist Alison Riske, and while she should account for the American, it won’t be a walk in the park.

The Halep draw, if the seeds win as expected, has her playing  Elise Mertens in the fourth round and Caroline Garcia in the quarters.

I suspect Halep will make the semis, given her prior Grand Slam tournament success, albeit no winners trophies in the cabinet just yet.


Semi Finalist:  Simona Halep


The most intriguing quarter of the draw involves 2016 champ Garbine Muguruza, the tournament third seed, and Karolina Pliskova, sixth seed.

Muguruza has had a mixed 2018, one minor trophy in South America, but not the greatest form leading into Paris.

Her first round opponent has also lifted the trophy here - Sveta Kuznetsova in 2009.

Possibly too strong for Kuznetsova, but drawn to play Strasbourg winner Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the third round and the unpredictable CoCo Vandeweghe in the round of sixteen.

Pliskova is the scheduled quarter final opponent, and the Czech player is confident, having won the recent Stuttgart tournament.


Pliskova may have to deal with a possible Sharapova or Serena Williams, before even considering Muguruza.


Semi finalist:  Garbine Muguruza


The bottom half of the draw has second seed Caroline Wozniacki who is aiming for her second major of the year.

Her danger may come as soon as the fourth round where she is likely to meet either Daria Kasatkina or Carla Suárez Navarro.

A quarter final would depend on victory over Sloane Stephens or Anastasija Sevastova.

The final eight opponent would likely be Petra Kvitova, and given the superb form of the dual Wimbledon champ, I would predict a Czech win


Semi finalist:  Petra Kvitova 


Defending champion is Jelena Ostapenko and her draw, as fifth seed means she could face Azarenka in round two, and Jelena has Venus Williams drawn as a round of sixteen opponent.

I believe the quarter final will feature Ostapenko against fourth seed Elina Svitolina, the recent winner in Rome.


Svitolina is primed for success in Paris and her Grand Slam performances, below expectations till now, could record a break through on the red clay.

On paper, she has a relatively soft draw, maybe a tough third round against Mihaela Buzarnescu, who just made the semi finals in Strasbourg before a possible fourth round against Madison Keys, whose preference is not this surface.


Semi Finalist:  Elina Svitolina 


I believe that Simona Halep will play Petra Kvitova in the final and will win her first Grand Slam tournament.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Two unseeded finals

The semi finals ha e been played in the four tournaments leading into Roland Garros which begins at the same time as the finals of the these tournaments


The semi final results 


Nurnberg 

Alison Riske defeated Kirsten Flipkens 6-3 6-1

She will play Johanna Larsson in the final

Johanna Larsson defeated Katerina Siniakova (8) 4-6 6-3 6-1 to set up an all unseeded final.

Both players have one WTA title to their name - Riske won hers in October 2014 in China 

Larsson was successful in Sweden in July 2015


So for one this will be breaking a long drought.

Larsson, whose career high ranking is 45, will rise at least 30 places to 67, and if she wins, to 59

Riske, whose career high ranking is 36, will rise at least 22 places to 83, and if she wins, to 68


Riske leads 2-0 head to head, but those results were in 2010 and 2014 so bear little meaning to this final.


Strasbourg 

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (3) defeated Ash Barty (1) 6-4 1-0 (retired) thanks to the Australian suffering a back injury, one which threatens her Roland Garros campaign.

Pavlyuchenkova will play Dominika Cibulková in the final

Wildcard Dominika Cibulkova (5) defeated Mihaela Buzarnescu (4)

Buzarnescu led 6-2 5-3 and served for the match after Cibulkova held serve for 4-5.

Then mistakes from th Romanian led to a service break and eventually to a tie break 


Cibulkova trailed 3-5 in the tie break, but she came back from the brink a second time, winning the next four points, taking the set 7-6(5) and running away with the decider 6-1.  27 points from 37 decided emphasised the third set dominance of Cibulkova who now contests her second final of 2018


Cibulkova leads 7-3 head to head, including five of the last six, the latest being in Doha earlier this year.


Geneva 

Marton Fucsovics defeated Steve Johnson (6) 2-6 6-4 6-1

He will play Peter Gojowczyk in the final

Peter Gojowczyk defeated wildcard Fabio Fognini (2) 6-4 6-4 and will contest another all unseeded final


Lyon

Dominic Thiem (1) defeated Dusan Lajovic 6-4 5-7 6-4, in his second successive three setter

He will play Gilles Simon in the final

Gilles Simon defeated Cameron Norrie 6-1 7-6(6)

Friday, 25 May 2018

Isner, Wawrinka out in quarters

Quarter final results in Europe


Geneva

Steve Johnston (6) defeated Guido Pella 6-3 6-4

He will play Marton Fucsovics in the semis 

Marton Fucsovics defeated wildcard Stan Wawrinka (3) 6-4 6-0

Peter Gojowczyk defeated Andreas Seppi (7) 6-3 6-7(3) 6-3

He will play Fabio Fognini in the semis 

Wildcard Fabio Fognini (2) defeated Tennys Sandgren 7-6(3) 7-6(5)


Lyon

Dominic Thiem (1) defeated Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-7(4) 7-6(0) 6-4

He will play Dusan Lajovic in the semis

Dusan Lajovic defeated Taylor Fritz 7-5 6-1

Gilles Simon defeated Mikhail Kukushkin 4-6 6-4 7-6(5)

He will play Cameron Norrie in the semis 

Cameron Norrie defeated John Isner (2) 7-6(1) 6-4


Nurnberg 

Alison Riske defeated Sorana Cirstea (6) 2-6 7-5 1-0 (retired)

She will play Kirsten Flipkens in the semis

Kirsten Flipkens defeated Kiki Bertens (3) 5-7 6-3 7-6(3)

Katerina Siniakova (8) defeated qualifier Fanny Stollar 7-5 6-4

She will play Johanna Larsson in the semis

Johanna Larsson defeated Kristyna Pliskova 5-7 7-5 6-4


Strasbourg 

Ash Barty (1) defeated Qiang Wang 7-5 6-4

She will play Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the semis 

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (3) defeated Zarina Diyas 6-4 6-2

Mihaela Buzarnescu (4) defeated Su-Wei Hsieh (8) 6-0 6-3

She will play Dominika Cibulkova in the semis 

Wildcard Dominika Cibulkova (5) defeated Samantha Stosur 6-4 6-3

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Sloane Stephens out in Nurnberg

Some upsets in the ATP and WTA as we approach the important phase in each tournament.


In Geneva, seeds were successful in the completion of the second round:

Wildcard Stan Wawrinka (3) defeated Jared Donaldson 6-3 6-4

Andreas Seppi (7) defeated qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles 7-5 6-3

Wildcard Fabio Fognini (2) defeated qualifier Noah Rubin, ranked 204.

Rubin matched Fognini in the opening set, with both players winning a similar percentage of points on their first serves.

With one service break apiece, a tie break was needed, and the American prevailed over Fognini 7-6(5).

Undaunted, the Italian dominated the remainder of the match, winning 6-7(5) 6-2 6-2


In Lyon, Taylor Fritz defeated compatriot Jack Sock (3) 7-6(6) 6-2


In Nurnberg, Yulia Putintseva defeated wildcard Sloane Stephens (1) in a first round match that was delayed a day.

It took three hours and Putintseva had to come back from a set down to win 5-7 6-4 7-6(3)

More second round matches:

Sorana Cirstea (6) defeated Madison Brengle 6-3 3-6 6-3

Kirsten Flipkens defeated qualifier Nadia Podoroska 7-6(6) 6-2

Qualifier Fanny Stollar defeated Heather Watson 6-3 6-3


In Strasbourg, second round matches:

Ash Barty (1) defeated Pauline Parmentier 6-1 6-4

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (3) defeated Natalia Vikhlyantseva 6-4 6-4

Su-Wei Hsieh (8) defeated wildcard Lucie Safarova 6-2 6-3

Samantha Stosur defeated Dasha Gavrilova (2) 6-3 6-4

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

First rounds completed in Europe

First round matches were completed and second rounds were commenced in tournaments in Germany, France and Switzerland.


Strasbourg 

Second round

Qiang Wang defeated Danielle Collins (7) 4-6 7-5 6-2

Zarina Diyas defeated Timea Babos (6) 7-6(2) 4-6 6-2

Mihaela Buzarnescu (4) defeated lucky loser in qualifying Elena Rybakina 6-3 7-6(2)

Wildcard Dominika Cibulkova (5) defeated Reka-Luca Jani 6-1 6-4


Geneva 

First round

Qualifier Lukas Rosol defeated Jiri Vesely 2-6 7-6(6) 7-6(4)

Steve Johnson (6) defeated Marius Copil 7-6(4) 6-3

Marton Fucsovics defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas (5) 6-1 6-2

Second round

Peter Gojowczyk defeated wildcard David Ferrer (4) 6-2 6-4


Nurnberg

First round

Sorana Cirstea (6) defeated Andrea Petkovic 2-6 7-6(3) 7-6(5)

Mona Barthel defeated Carina Witthoeft 7-5 6-3

Kirsten Flipkens defeated Alison Van Uytvanck (7) 7-6(5) 2-6 7-6(2)

Veronica Cepede Royg defeated Kateryna Kozlova 6-3 6-4

Heather Watson defeated Kateryna Bondarenko 6-3 3-6 7-6(3)

Second round 

Johanna Larsson defeated Christina McHale 6-3 6-0

Kristyna Pliskova defeated Lara Arruabarrena 6-3 7-5


Lyon

First round 

Taylor Fritz defeated Matthew Ebden 6-4 6-2

Qualifier Filip Horansky defeated Joao Sousa (7) 6-4 3-6 6-4

Mikhail Kukushkin defeated wildcard Gregoire Barrere 6-2 6-3

Second round 

Dominic Thiem (1) defeated Roberto Carballes Baena 6-2 6-4

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez defeated Calvin Hemery 7-6(4) 6-3

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Opening in France,Switzerland,Germany

First round matches in the 4 tournaments in France, Switzerland and Germany are underway, and some of the results so far are:


Geneva 

Andreas Seppi (7) defeated Marco Cecchinato 7-5 6-4

Mirza Basic defeated Mischa Zverev (8) 5-7 6-3 6-4

Bernabe Zapata Miralles, a Spanish 21 year old qualifier, ranked 281, playing his first ATP main draw match, defeated Florian Mayer 6-3 6-2

American qualifier Noah Rubin, ranked 204, defeated veteran Marcos Baghdatis 7-6(4) 6-4


Nurnberg

Qualifier Fanny Stollar defeated Shuai Zhang (4) 6-2 6-2

Kristyna Pliskova defeated Julia Goerges (2) 6-2 6-7(8) 7-6(5)

Qualifier Nadia Podoroska, ranked 506, defeated fellow qualifier Kristina Kucova 6-2 6-3


Lyon

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez defeated wildcard Adrian Mannarino (5) 6-3 4-6 6-1

Lucky loser in qualifying Federico Coria, ranked 335, defeated Nicolas Kicker 4-6 6-1 7-5

Maximilian Marterer defeated Gael Monfils (6) 2-6 6-4 6-4


Strasbourg 

Danielle Collins (7) defeated Amandine Hesse 6-1 4-6 6-3

Mihaela Buzarnescu (4) defeated Magda Linette 4-6 7-6(1) 6-3

Ash Barty (1) defeated lucky loser in qualifying Luksika Kumkhum 6-4 6-4

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (3) defeated Tatjana Maria 6-0 6-0

Timea Babos (6) defeated wildcard Fiona Ferro 6-4 6-0

Su-Wei Hsieh (8) defeated qualifier Kaia Kanepi 2-6 7-5 6-2

Wildcard Dominika Cibulkova (5) defeated qualifier Chloe Paquet 6-4 6-2

Dasha Gavrilova (2) defeated Jennifer Brady 7-6(8) 7-6(6)

Monday, 21 May 2018

Svitolina and Nadal take the Italian spoils

The Italian Open has finished, and Elina Svitolina (4) successively defended her title, defeating Simona Halep (1) 6-0 6-4.

The first set was incredible - Halep 76% first serve and Svitolina 47%, yet Simona won only two of thirteen points on her first delivery.  Elina won six of seven.

Svitolina won 24 of the 32 points for the set.  While set two was more of a contest, Svitolina still faced no break points and converted one of four chances.  This was a final Halep will want to forget in a hurry.


Sascha Zverev (2) was placed on the back foot in his final against Rafa Nadal right from the outset, with the Spaniard winning most of the points on the German first serve - normally a strength for Zverev.

Nadal swept to a 6-1 lead.

Unintimidated, Zverev served throughout set two without facing a break point, but had Nadal on the defensive, and the top seed’s was the serve which suffered, less than half the points on the first delivery won for Spain.

The match was levelled at 1-6 6-1.

Nadal regained ascendancy in the decider, and it was the second serve which served him well.

Converting both his break points was enough to win the set and the title 6-1 1-6 6-3.


Rafa is back at world number one, directing Roger Federer back to number two.

However, in the ATP Points Race for 2018, it is Zverev who leads at the moment, ahead of Federer then Nadal.

Simona Halep has replaced Caroline Wozniacki at the top of the 2018 WTA Points Race, with Petra Kvitova lying in third.


This week there are four tournaments being held:


WTA

Nurnberger Versicherungs Cup 2018 in Nurnberg, Germany (International Category)

Top ten player Sloane Stephens heads the field, which includes top twenty players Julia Goerges and Kiki Bertens


Internationaux de Strasbourg in Strasbourg, France (International Category)

Top twenty player Ash Barty is number one seed in a field which includes top thirty players Dasha Gavrilova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 


ATP 

Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open in Geneva, Switzerland (ATP 250 Category)

Top twenty player Sam Querrey heads the field which includes top thirty players Fabio Fognini and Stan Wawrinka 


Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon in Lyon, France (ATP 250 Category)

Top ten players Dominic Thiem and John Isner head the field while top twenty players Jack Sock and Hyeon Chung also grace the event.