While the tennis goes on, i’m finding it hard to get properly enthused about Baku and Florianopolis. It’s been a quiet couple of weeks on Moo’s Tennis Blog but i’ll be back with daily posts from Sunday with the start of the US summer hard court season and tournaments in Stanford and Washington. During this lull in proceedings, i’ve been thinking about some matches that i’m desperate to see before the end of 2015. If there’s any WTA match-ups you want to see, let us know in the comments 🙂
Five WTA match-ups that are generally awesome…
Victoria Azarenka v Petra Kvitova (Kvitova leads H2H 4-2, last match-up 2011)
Please. Pretty please with a cherry on top? This is the match-up that i’ve been eager to see for years now. There was a time when it looked like the Azarenka-Kvitova head-to-head might be “the” flagship rivalry on the WTA tour… It never materialised. The pair last played in the final of the WTA Championships in Istanbul – Kvitova won a topsy-turvy but entertaining encounter, 7-5 4-6 6-3. While Azarenka’s ranking dipped last year following her spell on the sidelines, she could have met Petra early in many of the draws this year… once again it never materialised.
YouTube video by sai reddy
Garbiñe Muguruza v Karolina Pliskova (Pliskova leads H2H 2-1, last match-up IW 2015)
Two players on the rise, Muguruza and Pliskova have had some good matches already this year in what is a promising match-up on the tour. While it is Muguruza who has been making the most progress at the Slams this year, Pliskova has won their two matches in 2015. A combination of more accurate serving and greater mental toughness in the crucial moments helped Pliskova score wins in Dubai and Indian Wells. Their match in Dubai, particularly the third set, was somewhat of a revelation.
Venus Williams v Angelique Kerber (Kerber leads H2H 3-2, last match-up 2014)
I love a good old battle between a power player and one more defensively minded. Venus and Angie fit this mould and have produced some excellent matches. I love watching Angie play because while she does sit back at time, she can absorb the pace with impeccable defence and then rip it, more often than not, with a forehand down-the-line. Their most recent encounter was in Canada last year where Venus held on for a thrilling three set win, 6-3 3-6 6-4.
YouTube video by Top10TennisNetwork
Victoria Azarenka v Simona Halep (Azarenka leads H2H 2-0, last match-up 2012)
Azarenka plummeted in the rankings last year; a whole host of new faces overtook her, but have yet to play her on a regular basis. I’m intrigued by an Azarenka-Bouchard match but the one that just pips it for me is Azarenka-Halep. In two previous match-ups, Halep has won a combined 7 games against Azarenka. Those match-ups took place in 2012 though and it would be intriguing to see how a massively improved Halep would stack up against Azarenka now. I’d still give the edge to Vika but I want to see it happen…
Venus Williams v Petra Kvitova (Kvitova leads H2H 4-1, last match-up in 2014)
While the Venus-Petra head-to-head may be heavily in favour of Petra, all five of their previous matches have gone to three sets. Their last three matches have all been excellent with the pinnacle being their third round match at Wimbledon last year. Venus and Petra put on a serving clinic with just two breaks of serve in 37 games. Their match in Tokyo in 2013 is also worthy of a shout-out, which Petra won in a third set tiebreak. They always seem to bring the best out of each other. They haven’t played since that Wimbledon match although they were on the schedule in Beijing last year. I remember that I set my alarm early but Venus pulled out… 😦
Video by Wimbledon
Five WTA match-ups that have never happened before…
Maria Sharapova v Karolina Pliskova
Pliskova is yet to play Sharapova on the tour and on a good serving day, I think this could be a good match-up for the Czech player. In my Wimbledon draw, I had Maria and Karolina meeting in the quarters but that never became a reality. Hopefully we get a Sharapova-Pliskova match during the summer hard court season.
Timea Bacsinszky v Belinda Bencic
The battle for the number one WTA Swiss player is really hotting up with Bacsinszky knocking on the door of the top ten and Bencic closing in on the top 20. I think this could be a fun match-up with both players having variety in their games.
Petra Kvitova v Garbiñe Muguruza
Helmets at the ready! Petra and Garbiñe are still yet to play each other on the WTA tour. During her Wimbledon run, Muguruza was aggressive yet deceptively consistent. It would be interesting to see whether her depth could perturb Kvitova.
Camila Giorgi v Ana Ivanovic
Helmets at the ready part 2! A Giorgi-Ivanovic match woulld likely be a rainstorm of winners, errors, double faults and errant ball tosses. I think this would be a fascinating match-up with both players known for their aggressive game styles. I think it would be tough to separate the pair if we get a match between them in the upcoming North American swing as both have been erratic during 2015.
Danka Kovinic v Jelena Jankovic
Danka and Jelena were set to meet in Charleston earlier this year but the Serb was forced to pull out with a foot injury. It was a real shame because I was really looking forward to the match. Kovinic and Jankovic get on well with JJ acting somewhat like a mentor (see a great piece from The Changeover HERE). Kovinic is a talented player who has yet to receive mainstream attention. A match on clay would be good to see but i’ll take any surface up to the end of the year.
And five WTA match-ups I want to see just because…
Serena Williams v Alizé Cornet (H2H 3-3, last played 2014)
In one of last year’s most curious head-to-heads, Cornet won three consecutive matches against Williams including a come-from-behind victory at Wimbledon. The most recent of those clashes does come with an asterisk as Serena retired in Wuhan down 5-6 in the first set. While Serena was well below her best in those matches and the odds would be heavily with Serena if/when the pair next play, there will be much intrigue about a future match-up. No doubt it would keep all the GIFers happy.
Video by MrPieroTennis
Barbora Strycova v Venus Williams (Venus leads H2H 3-0, last played Doha 2015)
The last time Babs and Venus played in Doha it ended with a pretty hilarious stare down from Babs at the net having become annoyed at Venus’s late challenges. Venus responded with a “was that look for something?”. There’s a nice mix of styles when these two play but that last handshake would an extra bit of spice to any future match-up.
Video by SportsMagicianJJ
Sara Errani v Alizè Cornet (Errani leads H2H 6-4, last played 2014)
Why you say vamos?
Video by MrPieroTennis
Svetlana Kuznetsova v Anastasia Rodionova (Kuznetsova leads H2H 4-1, last played 2010)
While they have played in doubles since, the last time Kuznetsova and Rodionova played each other in singles, there was no handshake. There’s obviously some bad blood between the pair so it would be interesting to see this again in singles…
Video by randajad86
Yulia Putintseva v… anyone!
I missed out on the full Poots live experience this year; while on tiptoes and peeking through a crowd at Wimbledon, I saw a couple of minutes of her first round match at Wimbledon where she spent most of that time gesticulating wildly. Poots is a real character and her results have been improving so we may get to see more of her over the next couple of months. Poots v Cornet? Poots v Gavrilova? Poots v Niculescu? Poots v VANDEWEGHE? All fine by me…