1. Jelena Jankovic v Madison Keys (Cincy, R2)
After missing Toronto with a wrist injury, Madison Keys returned to action in Cincy with a superb victory over Timea Bacsinszky, 6-4 6-3. Keys overturned her loss at the French Open to inflict a third straight defeat for Bacsinszky who hasn’t won since Wimbledon. Keys will play Jelena Jankovic in the second round who laboured to a three set victory over Madison Brengle. JJ came from a set and a break down to beat Brengle, 4-6 6-4 6-2. The Serb still managed to make the match entertaining. I’m still chuckling at the sight of Jelena walking off for the rain delay with an umbrella.
Jankovic leads the head-to-head with Keys, 2-1; Keys’s win came on the grass courts of Eastbourne, while Jankovic won their most recent match at Indian Wells, 5-7 6-4 6-3. Jankovic won the last five games in the desert. Keys was the more impressive player in the first round of Cincy but I remember being convinced that the American player would win that match at Indian Wells. Also, Keys has done this a few times this year where she impressed in her first match but was unable to back it up. This was the case in Stanford a few weeks ago where she won her first round match against Aleksandra Krunic convincingly for the loss of just three games but then followed that up with a three set loss to Ajla Tomljanovic, 1-6 6-4 6-1.
JJ always plays well in Cincy having the won the tournament back in 2009 and reaching finals in 2011 and semi-finals in 2013. I had JJ in my quarters before my brain told me that was not a good idea. In the end, i’ve been won over by the nature of Keys’s first round win over Bacsinszky and am going for Madison in three.
2. Caroline Wozniacki v Victoria Azarenka (Cincy, R2)
There was a time when I was eager as a beaver to watch this match-up between Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka but i’m a bit mehhh to it now having already seen it three times this year. In all three matches, Azarenka prevailed in straight sets; 6-4 6-2 at the Australian Open, 6-3 6-1 in Doha and 6-2 7-6(2) in Rome. Chuck in some recent injury woes and it’s been a pretty miserable few weeks for Woz. In more promising news, it seems that she is on the mend from the leg injury that certainly seemed to impede her in Stanford (l. to Varvara Lepchenko, 6-4 6-2) and Toronto (l. to Belinda Bencic, 7-5 7-5).
Azarenka won her first match of the week against Lauren Davis, 6-1 6-2 in one hour and 27 minutes. I watched the first set where Davis offered very little resistance. Azarenka was sporting some heavy strapping on her leg but it seemed to be more precautionary and didn’t *seem* to affect her movement. Wozniacki is defending US Open final points so although she obviously needs matches but I really do hope that leg is better. The Dane has just received a wild card for New Haven and I wonder if that was after seeing this draw! Based on the head-to-head and with Vika already having a match in Cincy, it’s hard not to see the Belarusian winning this. Still, this is WTA tennis so i’m always prepared to be surprised 🙂