2012 was a breakout year for Angelique Kerber, but she has struggled to back it up this year, particularly during the summer where she suffered a string of tough losses. She started her US Open in convincing fashion with a 6-1 6-1 win against Lucie Hradecka, but like Wimbledon, where she lost in the second round to Kaia Kanepi, she faces a very dangerous opponent. Eugenie Bouchard was earmarked as one to watch when she won the Wimbledon Juniors title last year and she has steadily built together a solid set of results in 2013, most notably beating Ana Ivanovic at Wimby and pushing Serena Williams to 3 sets in Cincy. Bouchard has a solid enough game, but she can hit winners, certainly at more ease and willingness than Kerber. Bouchard has risen to the big occasion before and based on Kerber’s recent performances where she has really struggled to step it up, I think Eugenie will grab her biggest career win yet…
Those who read my blog regularly will have noticed I have championed the return of Alisa Kleybanova. It was always going to be a tough ask of Alisa, but she has made an incredibly encouraging comeback this summer after fighting Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2011. She notched up her first win of the year in Cincy against Sofia Arvidsson and yesterday, took out the very talented Monica Puig in a tough three setter, 6-4 3-6 7-5. Kleybanova now gets a shot at Jelena Jankovic, who started in commanding fashion with a 6-3 6-4 victory over a potential banana skin in Madison Keys. Jankovic and Kleybanova have a colourful head-to-head with JJ leading by 3 wins to 2. I enjoy watching Kleybanova’s game and I hope this match gets on a court with live streaming. I expect at least one tight set, but JJ should be too strong in the end.