Panelist Predictions Australian Open Women’s Day 3: Including Katerina Siniakova-Elina Svitolina

Elina Svitolina

The third day of the 2018 Australian Open sees the second round begin with a host of exciting matches. Last Word on Tennis writers, James Cunningham, Jay Huberdini, and Sam Barker make their predictions about which players will make it through to the third round in Melbourne including a match between Elina Svitolina and Katerina Siniakova.

Daria Gavrilova vs Elise Mertens

James: Both of these players won their first-round matches comfortably, so in terms of form, we have a level playing field. But Gavrilova loves playing in front of her own fans, and her performances often match the wonderful support that she receives in Melbourne every year. This will be the deciding factor in the match.

Gavrilova in 3
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Jay: Elise Mertens in three sets. Mertens is in tremendous form and even beat Gavrilova in Perth no less than two weeks ago. This will be a close one because Gavrilova will be inspired in front of the Aussie crowd, but I still think Mertens has the skills to get past her.

Mertens in 3

Sam: Of all the second round matches, this might be the most competitive, high-quality affair. Both players are in daunting form so it will take something else to separate these two. Gavrilova has the experience after consecutive fourth rounds here while Mertens is actually making her debut. Experience coupled with the home support swings this for Gavrilova.

Gavrilova in 3

Alize Cornet vs Julia Goerges

James: Neither of these two players is a picture of consistency, but I firmly believe that Julia Goerges will do well in this tournament. She is still riding on a wonderful wave of form and confidence from the latter stages of last year, and she should have enough in her locker to overpower Cornet, who can lose her cool out on court if things do not quite go her way.

Goerges in 2
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Jay: Both players are in great form and eased through their first-round encounters, but Goerges has just been too good since the end of the 2017 season. Alizé Cornet is just too patchy and inconsistent to pull off the upset.

Goerges in 2

Sam: Julia Goerges is my pick to reach the Australian Open final so it would be foolish to go against her here. The script for this match heavily depends on which Alize Cornet turns up. She has, in the past, caused all manner of problems in Grand Slams against quality opposition. I’m going to suggest that this will not be one of those times.

Goerges in 2

Katerina Siniakova vs Elina Svitolina

James: Katerina Siniakova is touted by many as being the future of Czech female tennis, and with good reason. The 21-year-old has built a name for herself in recent years, especially on the doubles circuit, where she reached the final of the US Open last year. Unfortunately for her, however, Elina Svitolina has been in scintillating form recently and will overpower the young Czech from the baseline.

Svitolina in 2
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Jay: Elina Svitolina has arguably been the most impressive player of the season so far, having dropped only one set this year to Konta, so I believe she will continue her form and win against the Czech in two tight sets. Siniakova was impressive in Shenzhen and even took the World No.1 Halep to three sets in the final, but I believe Svitolina is too consistent for her.

Svitolina in 2

Sam: For all her impressive performances over the last 18 months, Elina Svitolina has struggled to deliver at the Slams. That is bound to change at some point and this is a perfect opportunity to make a start against a crafty opponent. Siniakova, the latest player off the Czech production line, gave Simona Halep all manner of problems in the recent Shenzhen final and will be a handful for Elina Svitolina here as well.

Svitolina in 3

Mona Barthel vs Anett Kontaveit

James: Kontaveit is one of the game’s most exciting young prospects and, having risen up to No.33 in the world, we can undoubtedly expect more from this incredibly talented Latvian. She comes up against 27-year-old Mona Barthel, who will see this as an opportunity to put together a good Grand Slam run to begin the season. This will be a close encounter, but the flair and youth of Kontaveit will be too much for Barthel to handle.

Kontaveit in 3
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Jay: Both players had exceptional 2017 seasons but were inconsistent at times, but Kontaveit has all the power and the shot-making skills. Though Barthel will be a challenge, I think she will be overpowered by the Estonian.

Kontaveit in 2

Sam: It is perhaps a surprise that these two made it to the second round given their form coming into the tournament. Barthel had won just one match since August while Kontaveit too had been struggling for wins. The Estonian is a bright talent in the game but can be erratic and also withdrew from Sydney in the lead up to the Australian Open. Barthel to sneak a surprise win here.

Barthel in 3

Kaia Kanepi vs Monica Puig

James: This will be a game of attrition, where neither player is going to want to give their opponent an inch of control over the baseline. Kanepi is the more experienced of the two, but the speed of the court and the heat will favor the Puerto Rican’s game. Puig needs a good Grand Slam run if she is to silence the doubters who view her Olympic gold medal in Rio as a fluke, and she has a great opportunity to do so now.

Puig in 3
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Jay: Kanepi and Puig are both in great form, with Kanepi cruising past Cibulkova in the first round and Puig saving a match point against the home favorite Stosur, so this should be an extremely close match. However, I think Kanepi has more shot-making skills and will just edge this one.

Kanepi in 3

Sam: Kaia Kanepi has historically struggled at the Australian Open, with a record of 8-10 throughout her career. That said, she is playing some of the most eye-catching tennis of her life at the moment as demonstrated in her dominant win over Dominika Cibulkova. Puig has looked okay recently but will struggle against the raw power of the Estonian.

Kanepi in 2

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