WTA Stanford 2nd Round Preview: Venus Williams v Victoria Azarenka

Dominika Cibulkova and Carla Suarez Navarro are the only two seeds to have fallen so far in Stanford.  Cibulkova’s loss was pretty significant as she was the defending champion.  She lost to Garbine Muguruza in three sets.  If you missed that match, I reviewed it HERE.  The biggest headline of Tuesday was Sabine Lisicki breaking the serve record previously held by Venus Williams with a 131mph serve.  She put up a good fight in the first set against Ana Ivanovic, before tailing off in the second set of a 7-6(2) 6-1 loss. Thursday features a stand-out match…

1. Venus Williams v Victoria Azarenka (WTA Stanford, R2)

Azarenka

Venus Williams and Victoria Azarenka will meet in a blockbuster second round clash in Stanford on Thursday.  Venus was never troubled in her first round match against Paula Kania, winning 6-3 6-2 in 73 minutes.  Venus hit 27 winners to 26 unforced errors in what was a confident display.  There was one point in particular that was pretty special (see tweet below from @FortyDeuceTwits)

As the number four seed, Azarenka has a bye into the second round.  The Belarussian player is fully fit now, but in need of matches.  After returning from a long lay-off for a foot injury, Azarenka lost in the first round of Eastbourne to Camila Giorgi and in the second round of Wimbledon to Bojana Jovanovski.  In both matches, Vika competed extremely well, but showed mental lapses at the crucial stages of each match, which was characteristic of a player who has played such little tennis this year.

This is a good match-up for Venus; she has won all three previous matches with Vika including a 6-2 6-4 victory in Tokyo.  It is worth noting that Azarenka was not 100% for that match.  The final they played in Dubai in 2010, which Venus won 6-3 7-5, was a brilliant match.  There are quite a few favourable notes for Venus; the head-to-head, Vika’s lack of match practice and also, Venus’s tremendous record at Stanford, which has seen her reach the final in seven out of eight appearances at this tournament.  I think Azarenka is going to do well this summer, but there are enough pointers to suggest that Venus is good value to pull off what would be an upset win.

Prediction: V.Williams d. Azarenka in 3 sets

WTA Stanford 2nd Round Predictions

Ana Ivanovic d. Carol Zhao in 2 sets

Garbine Muguruza d. Daniela Hantuchova in 3 sets

Angelique Kerber d. Coco Vandeweghe in 2 very tight sets

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