Day 2 of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Open brings some intriguing match ups. Bethanie Mattek-Sands will take the court for her first singles match since the start of 2019. The doubles superstar was eliminated from that draw Monday, and perhaps it will give Mattek-Sands the singular focus on her singles bid.
On Day 1, Mayo Hibi earned the biggest win of her career. Playing under the Japanese flag, the Southern California resident knocked out Hungary’s Timea Babos. A strategic and crafty style that left Babos doubting her forehand’s capabilities, Hibi used every inch of the court and capitalized on well-timed drop shots securing a 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 win.
Here’s a look at the six matches which will complete the opening round. Three are in this article, and three are in a separate article. Who’s moving on to the second round in sunny San Jose?
Mubadala Silicon Valley Open Day 2 Predictions
Heather Watson vs Zheng Saisai
Head to head: Watson 0-1 Zheng
After winning in Anning, China, in May, Zheng has had a near impossible time stringing together any wins. In fact, the 25-year-old Chinese hasn’t won an opening round in the last four tournaments. Other than Anning, Zheng’s 2019 results have been weak.
Heather Watson has far more wins in 2019 than Zheng, though most of her success is derived at ITF level tournaments. The San Jose draw is loaded with strong, talented players and opening against Zheng Saisai is perhaps the easiest match Britain’s #3 will see. The Watson serve is unremarkable, but there’s little fear of Zheng attacking. It will be the rallies, with Zheng’s strategic shot making, that will make this match difficult for Watson.
Prediction: Zheng in 2
Donna Vekic vs Misaki Doi
Head to head: Vekic 1-1 Doi
While Vekic and Doi have split their previous two meetings, it’s Vekic’s dominating 6-0, 6-3 takedown of Doi that’s worth noting. And, more than 80 ranking spots separate these two. It’s Vekic who has had a number of deep runs in 2019. Some disappointing losses for sure – losing the final in St. Petersburg to Kiki Bertens, and losing in the Brisbane semifinal to Karolina Pliskova. Yet the Croat seems to learn from each loss and continues to improve her form and strategy. Doi has a tough go here, and it should be a quick win for Vekic to start her campaign.
Prediction: Vekic in 2
Venus Williams vs Bethanie Mattek-Sands
Head to head: Williams 4-0 Mattek-Sands
Will Bethanie Mattek-Sands knee hold up to this level of competition? It’s a difficult first round draw for the often injured American. In fact, Mattek-Sands withdrew days before the Bucharest Open with knee pain. A doubles superstar with 26 titles to her name, Mattek-Sands has yet to accomplish the same in singles. And, starting her bid against Venus Williams isn’t very encouraging. Sure, it’s not the same Venus who’s won 49 WTA singles title, include five Wimbledon Championship titles and two US Open titles. Even though Williams just turned 39, her level of play remains solid, serve notwithstanding. There are deficiencies in the Williams’ game, yet nothing that would give Mattek-Sands enough of an opening.
Prediction: Williams in 2
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