With 35 WTA match wins between them, Venus Williams and Carla Suarez Navarro have both made superb starts to the 2015 season. The pair will meet for the fifth time on Tuesday in the quarter-finals of the 2015 Miami Open. Suarez Navarro has a great chance of cracking the world’s top ten this week after reaching her seventh quarter-final of the year. The only tournament where Suarez Navarro failed to reach the last eight was at the Australian Open where she fell in the first round to Carina Witthoeft. Since then, Carla has been winning matches for fun and showing so much belief in her game. On Monday, Suarez Navarro won her 10th three set match of 2015 with an excellent come-from-behind victory against Agnieszka Radwanska, 5-7 6-0 6-4. After losing the first set, Suarez Navarro won EIGHT straight games as Radwanska, who had shown great initiative to close out the first set, wilted away. The telling stat from this match was that Radwanska won just 17% of second serve points.
Carla got a little passive towards the end as the scoreline went from 5-2 to 5-4. At the second time of asking, Suarez Navarro sealed her first ever win over Radwanska. In fact, Carla has been snapping plenty of losing streaks these past few weeks. Last week she beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for the first time in seven matches and she also snapped a three match losing streak to Alize Cornet in the third round. Her stats in this match against Radwanska were very impressive (43 winners to 29 unforced errors) and with clay just around the corner, the Spaniard is peaking at the perfect time.
Talking of streaks, Venus continued one of her own in the fourth round as she defeated Caroline Wozniacki for the seventh consecutive time. Venus won, 6-3 7-6(1) in one hour and 38 minutes. Wozniacki twice served for the second set in what was a rather wild affair with several change-ups in momentum. From 3-5 down, Venus played a supreme two and a half games to go up 5-5 40-0. However, out of nowhere, Venus served three double faults in a row and got broken again. Wozniacki failed to serve it out at 6-5 though as Venus once again rediscovered her focus to close out the match in straight sets. This is a rough match-up for Caro and there was always the sense that if Venus could maintain her accuracy, she was going to win this match.
Carla and Venus have split their four previous encounters; Carla won at the Australian Open (2-6 6-3 7-5, 2009) and in Rome (6-4 6-2, 2014) and Venus won at Wimbledon (6-0 6-4, 2009) and Montreal (4-6 6-2 6-3, 2014). I remember their match in Montreal where Venus fought tremendously hard to come back from a set down and win that match en route to reaching the final. Both are in great form and it’s interesting to compare their three set records to last year. Carla is 11-3 in three setters this year compared to 11-12 in 2014. Venus has also been much more successful this year with a 6-2 record in three setters so far compared to 10-11 in 2014. I anticipate this quarter-final to be a close match. If Venus has a wobble, which she’s had her fair share of already this week, Carla can more than capitalise. However, Venus is more likely to dictate and take control of the rallies. It isn’t an easy choice, but i’m siding with Venus.
Prediction: V.Williams d. Suarez Navarro in 3 sets