US Open Day 6 Women’s Predictions Including Sloane Stephens vs Serena Williams

The US Open wraps up its third round on Saturday. Who will advance to Monday’s fourth round? We’re here at LWOT to predict every match. We look at four of the matches in this article, and the other four in a second article. Predicting today’s matches are Jim Smith, Damian Kust, and myself (Yesh Ginsburg).

US Open Day 6 Predictions

Donna Vekic vs Tsvetana Pironkova

Jim:
Pironkova was excellent in her surprise win over Australian Open finalist Garbine Muguruza. But will she be able to back it up against Vekic? The Croatian made a slow start against Kristyna Pliskova, but looked very sharp in beating Patricia-Maria Tig. If she can maintain that level against Pironkova, expect her to have too much for the Bulgarian.
Prediction: Vekic in 2

Damian:
Pironkova was famous for Grand Slam runs out of nowhere and this one is exactly like that. The Bulgarian was out of play for 38 months with injury issues and then a pregnancy hiatus, before coming back to shock Garbine Muguruza in Round 2. For a player that’s been out of the game for so long, Pironkova shows little of the rust and weak fitness that we’re used to seeing from players coming back after a long break. She’s got all the skillset needed to dismantle a clean ball-striker like Vekic. Let the fairy tale continue.
Prediction: Pironkova in 3

Yesh:
Vekic has been towards the top of the game for a while now, but she’s not usually as good as Pironkova’s miracle run here has been. The Bulgarian is showing a form she used to reserve for the grass at Wimbledon a decade ago. I have no idea where this came from, but that’s always true of Pironkova. If she keeps her current level, she should be able to keep going.
Prediction: Pironkova in 3

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Victoria Azarenka vs Iga Swiatek

Jim:
Two weeks ago, few would have expected Azarenka to be heading into the third round at the US Open amongst the favorites to claim the title. But that is exactly where the Belorussian, who it is worth remembering reached back-to-back finals in New York in 2012 and 2013, finds herself. Swiatek, meanwhile, has put together a creditable run. But she seems unlikely to be the one to halt Azarenka’s winning run.
Prediction: Azarenka in 2

Damian:
No one would believe it two weeks ago if anyone claimed that Victoria Azarenka was amongst the top title contenders at the 2020 US Open. But over the past fortnight, as literally everyone had their ups and downs, the two-time Grand Slam champion was the only player to keep an extremely high level in pretty much every game she played. Swiatek has the talent to give her trouble but her error-filled display against Sachia Vickery certainly didn’t suggest that this US Open can be her major breakthrough.
Prediction: Azarenka in 2

Yesh:
Azarenka is playing at a level we haven’t seen from her in years. Honestly, she’s playing at a level that no one else at this tournament is matching. I’m not saying for sure now that she’ll win the tournament, but if I had to pick someone she’s the most likely. She can outhit the powerful but inconsistent Swiatek, so this match shouldn’t be much trouble.
Prediction: Azarenka in 2

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Caty McNally vs Elise Mertens

Jim:
McNally arrived at the US Open in dreadful form, but has rebounded in superb fashion, picking up excellent wins over Viktoria Kuzmova and 21st seed Ekaterina Alexandrova. But she now faces one of the form players in New York in the shape of Mertens. The Belgian has impressed so far, beating Laura Siegemund and Sara Sorribes Tormo. She should have too much for McNally as well.
Prediction: Mertens in 3

Damian:
18-year-old Caty McNally advanced to the third round with a stunning upset of Ekaterina Alexandrova, taking down the Russian in a third set tie-break. The competition will be even tougher here though, as Elise Mertens has been one of the world’s best players after the restart. The Belgian lost to Naomi Osaka in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open and has already scored 10 wins since the WTA Tour resumed in Palermo. Her excellent run should continue here over a talented, yet inexperienced opponent.
Prediction: Mertens in 2

Yesh:
Mertens looks like one of the top players on tour right now, but McNally is a potential future star playing with a purpose. There’s a chance the pressure gets to he, but she’s been on the big stage several times over her very short career. She loves the American hard courts, and even without a home crowd should be very tough to beat in New York. If Mertens lets up, even a little, McNally can pull off a shocker.
Prediction: McNally in 3

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Sloane Stephens vs Serena Williams

Jim:
Williams had looked to be in rather indifferent form earlier in the summer and she was not quite at her best in her opener against Kristie Ahn. But she found her feet in the second round, dismissing Margarita Gasparyan. Stephens has also impressed, racing past Mihaela Buzarnescu and Olga Govortsova. But the quick conditions should favor the more aggressive Williams. Expect her to advance, but not without losing a set.
Prediction: Williams in 3

Damian:
This pair has some amazing matches in their rivalry, the most famous one being Stephens’ upset win at the 2013 Australian Open, when she was just 19 year old. However, they have not faced each other in five years. Stephens was not in particularly good shape coming into this event but her footspeed around the court remains very impressive. Perhaps fast running is all you need to beat Serena at this stage of her career? Serena’s tennis in the past five weeks was really, really far from her best and Stephens is a good enough counterpuncher to always make her play the extra shot.
Prediction: Stephens in 3

Yesh:
One of my rules of doing these is to never pick against Serena Williams. How can you? No matter what, the match is always on he racket. Unfortunately, that might not be true here. Stephens has the talent and the game to take control of the points away from Williams. The younger American has looked in great form this week–form good enough to take out the all-time great.
Prediction: Stephens in 2

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