It’s the beginning of the second round here at Wimbledon, which means we have predictions for five of the Day 3 women’s matches coming your way. Picking for us today are LWOS writers John Lupo and Finn Ranson as well as guest Pete Ziebron of tennisacumen.com.
Aleksandra Krunic vs. Sara Errani
An interesting matchup these two – both similarly diminutive in stature, yet are very savvy with the power available to them. As was shown in Roland Garros against Serena Williams though, Errani is vulnerable to players with big weapons. However, Krunic is not seemingly a player of this ilk and Errani is far the more experienced of the two with this being Krunic’s first Wimbledon.
Prediction: Errani in 2
The Sara Errani – Aleksandra Krunic match up in the 2nd round is somewhat surprising. For starters, Sara Errani was on the wrong end of a Golden Set at Wimbledon not too long ago. In the opening round, Errani got past Francesca Schiavone, a countrywoman and more accomplished grass court player in three sets. Meanwhile, Krunic stunned Italian Roberta Vinci, who had been to the 4th round of Wimbledon in each of the past 2 years, and prohibited an intriguing match up of former doubles teammates, Errani and Vinci. Krunic was more impressive in the opening round and she maintains her momentum over the veteran.
Krunic in 3
The 19th seed went the distance to defeat countrywoman Francesca Schiavone while Krunic topped another Italian, Roberta Vinci, in Round 1. The Serb star’s turn came at the U.S. Open last year, reaching the Round of 16 with wins vs Madison Keys and Petra Kvitova along the way. This is the first meeting between these two and I like the underdog to prevail.
Prediction: Krunic in 2 sets
Karolina Pliskova vs. Coco Vandeweghe
These two have met once before, with Pliskova prevailing, albeit two years ago and on a hard court. Yet I believe that this match will follow a similar course. Pliskova can be imperious from the back of the court and will feel confident after overcoming a difficult opponent in Falconi in Round 1. Vandeweghe can match Pliskova for ground strokes though, so this should be a very tight one still.
Prediction: Pliskova in 3
Karolina Pliskova has been playing an impressive brand of tennis for the majority of 2015. Thus I did a double take when I saw that she dropped a set in the opening round to American Irina Falconi. Next up will be another American, Coco Vandeweghe, who won Den Bosch as a qualifier last year. This year on grass, Vandeweghe could only manage a 4-3 record, although her 4 & 2 scoreline in the opening round over Schmiedlova could be a sign that she is getting back on track. Unfortunately for Vandeweghe, Pliskova is eyeing a deep run at The Championships and will not be denied in this match.
Prediction: Pliskova in 2
The 11th-seeded Czech struggled for 2 sets with American Irina Falconi before putting her away 6-1 in the 3rd. She now faces another American in Coco Vandeweghe, who can match Pliskova’s biggest weapon: the serve. Coco’s lone title was on grass in ‘s’Hertogenbosch last year and based on their form from the opening round, an upset would not surprise me, but I think Pliskova will raise her level and find a way through.
Prediction: Pliskova in 2 sets
Sloane Stephens vs. Lauren Davis
I have always thought Sloane Stephens to be an extremely good player and the strongest out of the young crop of American women players coming through. Davis leads the head to head between the two but, despite being a good mover for the grass, I feel her ground strokes lack the flatness to really skid through on the surface. This is quite the contrary for Stephens who’s ball strike is perfect for the SW19 grass–she just needs to show more consistency, something that Davis could certainly test her on.
Prediciton: Stephens in 3
Just two years ago, Sloane Stephens reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals, losing to eventual champion Marion Bartoli. In fact, Stephens matched the most number of games that anyone was able to win from Bartoli that year, with 9. Last week, Stephens reached the semifinals in Eastbourne. Following a steady clay court season, Stephens is once again managing to advance deeper into the draw. Lauren Davis will be seeking to match her 3rd round appearance from last year with a win. Davis also competed well on the grass in Nottingham and Eastbourne earlier this month but her effort will not be enough against Stephens who is determined to maintain consistent in her play.
Prediction: Stephens in 2
A battle of Americans sees contrasting styles as the powerful, athletic Stephens meets the quick, scrappy, feisty Davis. Sloane knocked out 27th seed Barbora Strycova in Round 1 while Davis defeated Polona Hercog. All 3 of their prior meetings went 3 sets with each middle set ending in a 6-4 scoreline. Davis will run down almost everything Stephens throws at her, but in the end, Stephens will come out on top.
Stephens in 3 sets
Kirsten Flipkens vs. Victoria Azarenka
Azarenka has gathered the vital match practice this year that she was so deprived of in 2014. And as she proved with her 6-2 6-1 win over Kontaveit, she certainly has the capability for a foray deep into the SW19 draw; I don’t see Flipkens disturbing this, despite having reached the Semis of Wimbledon just two years ago. Azarenka has also defeated her on all the 3 occasions they have met which must be a psychological boost for the Belarusian over Flipkens.
Prediction: Azarenka in 2
For Azarenka, 2011 & 2012–the years where she reached consecutive semifinal berths at Wimbledon–seem like long ago. Ironically, Flipkens reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 2013. However, both players are far from where they would like to be performing on the tennis court at this time. Multiple parts of Azarenka’s game do not seem to be working in sync so far in 2015. Meanwhile, Flipkens won just one of her last five matches heading into The Championships and rebounded nicely from losing the opening set in the first round at love to Annika Beck. The immediate section of this part of the draw has opened up and Victoria Azarenka is well aware and wins convincingly.
Prediction: Azarenka in 2
The 23rd seed continued her comeback from injury with a dominating effort over Estonian wild card Anett Kontaveit, losing just 3 games while 2013 semifinalist Flipkens edged German Annika Beck 6-4 in the 3rd set after dropping the opener 6-0. Azarenka has won all 3 of their meetings, losing just one set in the process. Although I could see the Belgian putting in a good effort (she’s never won more than 4 games in a set vs Azarenka aside from the one set she won), I think the 2-time Slam champion moves into Round 3.
Prediction: Azarenka in 2 sets
Ana Ivanovic vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands
Thus far my predictions have admittedly been a little safe. In this one though, I am actually going to back Mattek-Sands. In Round 1 she dispatched Van Uytvanck very convincingly and has actually had greater success on the hallowed turf of SW19 than Ivanovic has ever had. Indeed, Mattek-Sands’ game is better adapted for the surface, employing an aggressive style of play and is not shy to come to the net. Ivanovic however, is no net player and faces an opponent who has two Grand Slam doubles titles under her belt this year.
Prediciton: Mattek-Sands in 3
Ana Ivanovic elected to play just one event prior to Wimbledon and she lost right out of the gate in Birmingham to Larcher de Brito. Eight years ago, Ivanovic reached the Wimbledon semifinals but has only managed to reach the round of 16 twice since that time. Mattek-Sands has her eyes set on a different prize at The Championships as she and Lucie Safarova will attempt to win their third consecutive major in Ladies Doubles. That said, expect Mattek-Sands to play this 2nd round singles match against Ivanovic swinging freely and with absolutely nothing to lose. These tactics will work for a while but Ivanovic ultimately gets the win in this scrappy affair.
Prediction: Ivanovic in 3
The 7th seed crushed her overwhelmed opponent Xu Yifan 6-1 6-1 in Round 1 while the flamboyant American looked impressive in dismissing French Open quarterfinalist Alison Van Uytvanck, losing just 5 games. Their 2 prior meetings were both on the clay in Madrid, with Mattek-Sands winning the 1st set both times, but Ivanovic winning the match on each occasion. In what could be the most entertaining match of the day, Ivanovic’s powerful ground game should be just enough to slip past the funky, serve & volley approach of Bethanie’s, although an upset is entirely possible.
Prediction: Ivanovic in 3 sets
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