Panelist Predictions: US Open Women Day 1

The panel is back for the final Grand Slam of the year. And we have been treated to a whole host of great matches on the womens side on day one of the US Open.

Here to give their thoughts and predictions on the opening day’s action are Last Word contributors Niall Clarke, Glenys Furness, and John Lupo.

Eugenie Bouchard vs Alison Riske

Niall: Bouchard’s slump continues with no ending in sight. Riske is a dangerous player to draw in round one when you are this out of form so there will be no easy route to the second round for the Canadian. It is hard to back Bouchard when she is playing this badly, so I am picking Riske to come through.

Prediction: Riske in 2

 Glenys: With Bouchard in all sorts of bother with her form at the moment, having gone out early to people her seeding meant she should have beaten, this match is going to be a straightforward win for Riske.

Prediction: Riske in 2

John: The Canadian’s season has been a nightmare from the word go and now she enlists Jimmy Connors as her new coach to help revive her stalling career. In facing Riske, she sees a player who has done nothing of significance since winning her 1st and only WTA title in Tianjin last fall. In what will be a brief revival, I see Bouchard winning this fairly comfortably.

Prediction: Bouchard in 2

Ana Ivanovic vs Dominka Cibulkova

Niall: Ivanovic vs Cibulkova part V with it firmly poised at 2-2 heading into their fifth meeting. Cibulkova’s injury has seen her ranking dip outside the seeding positions, and her return has been good, however I do not feel her level is good enough to topple Ivanovic here.

Prediction: Ivanovic in 2

Glenys: This is going to be an interesting matchup. With Ivanovic having an average season except for her run at Roland Garros and Cibulkova having been unlucky with injury it could really go either way. Cibulkova should just have the edge.

Prediction: Cibulkova in 3

John: The Slovak is still on the comeback trail after battling injuries and will surely relish the opportunity to score her biggest win since her run to the 2014 Australian Open final. Ivanovic reached the French Open semifinals, but has done nothing since. In what could be a tense affair, I’ll go with the Slovak to wipe out her memory of her painful 1st round loss here to CiCi Bellis last year with a memorable Round 1 win this year.

Prediction: Cibulkova in 3

Venus Williams vs Monica Puig

John: Experience vs youth here. Both are not in the greatest form at the moment, though Puig has certainly been one of the disappointments of the year. She has never really gotten going at all so I see Venus pulling through in straights.

Prediction: Venus in 2

Glenys: Venus is in the better form of these two, with their only meeting being in 2013 which Williams won in three sets. Puig has only won six singles matches since Bogota to Williams’ 10. Williams will win this match.

Prediction: Venus in 3

John: After a breakout 2014 which saw her win her 1st WTA Tour-level title in Strasbourg, the Puerto Rican has stagnated, doing nothing of note. The elder Williams has a win in Auckland and a quarterfinal appearance at the Australian Open as her best results this year. I suspect Puig will be up for the occasion and with some crowd support, this could be a very close match. I like Venus to just edge by.

Prediction: Venus in 3

Sloane Stephens vs Coco Vandeweghe

Niall: Despite Vandeweghe leading the head to head 2-1, Stephens comes in to this as the favourite. The American has found her form somewhat after have a poor season and a half. Vandeweghe has a big game that could cause trouble, but I see Stephens getting the win to even the head to head.

Prediction: Stephens in 2

Glenys: Although Coco leads the head to head 2-1 this was at a time when Stephens was not playing as well as she is now. The last meeting of the pair was this year on clay which Stephens came out on top in straight sets. Stephens will level the head to head here.

Prediction: Stephens in 2

John: Reunited with her former coach Nick Saviano, Stephens finally won her first WTA title in Washington DC this summer and also has a win over Venus Williams at the French Open, where she reached the Round of 16. She’ll have to deal with a big server in Vandeweghe, who will also give her a lot of errors. I like Stephens in 2 fairly routine sets.

Prediction: Stephens in 2

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