Women’s Australian Open, First Round Preview: Serena Williams v Camila Giorgi

Giorgi

Serena Williams opens her Australian Open title defence against the world number 35, Camila Giorgi. In terms of rankings, it is the toughest possible match that Serena could have faced with Giorgi the first player to miss out on a seeding. Furthermore, Giorgi’s ultra-agressive and fast-paced game will put Serena’s level under the microscope right from the get-go.

Serena has played just one completed set so far this year, eventually retiring from her singles match at the Hopman Cup against Jarmila Wolfe, down 5-7 1-2. In a piece with the New York Times, Patrick Mouratoglou revealed that Serena had experienced swelling of her knee after receiving treatment before the Hopman Cup. It would seem that this has now cleared up and Serena has been practising in Melbourne all week.

Giorgi lost her first match of the year in Brisbane to Angelique Kerber, but did have break points to lead by a set and a break; a rain delay seemed to disrupt Giorgi’s rhythm as Kerber won the last ten games of the match to prevail, 5-7 6-3 6-0. Giorgi fared better in Hobart where she won two matches against Zarina Diyas (6-4 1-6 6-1) and Nao Hibino (6-2 6-3) before falling in straight sets to Eugenie Bouchard.

Head-to-head record: Serena leads the head-to-head, 2-0 with wins in Charleston (6-2 6-3, 2013) and Brindisi in Fed Cup (7-6(5) 6-2, 2015). The most recent of those matches featured a high quality first set which had no breaks of serve.

Analysis: This should be a fascinating match and will tell us a lot about Serena’s form. I’d expect the world number one to face an early onslaught from Giorgi who will come out of the blocks firing. I’d fancy the Italian player to take the opening set and put an upset alert on this match. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Serena start slow considering she hasn’t played a competitive match since August. While Giorgi has had some huge wins, she’s also struggled to close matches out and to maintain her level. An example of this is her third round match with Venus Williams at the Australian Open last year where she was on the verge of the upset win, but couldn’t serve it out with Venus seizing on a Giorgi lull and coming through to win the match, 4-6 7-6(3) 6-1. I think Giorgi will cause some problems, but Serena will weather an early storm to progress to the second round.

Prediction: S.Williams d. Giorgi in 3 sets

Photo in this post by mootennis.com

6 thoughts on “Women’s Australian Open, First Round Preview: Serena Williams v Camila Giorgi

  1. Patrick Mouratoglou said earlier that Serena Williams has been doing much better as her knees are healthy with swelling all gone. According to him, she is again totally focused on her goals, because she is working on continuing to evolve her game. Serena has this margin over the others because she is always working with this desire to progress and to add new things to her game. They worked in this direction during the preseason and earlier these past two weeks. She was also able to recover very well from the defeat at the 2015 US Open. Serena definitely looks focused to win her 7th Australian Open & overall 22nd Grand Slam title – her goal for 2016 is to win a Grand Slam title. As for her most recent practice session, she probably wanted to take precautions to see the trainer to make sure that she wasn’t pushing her body too much. She’ll be ready for her first match against Camila Giorgi tomorrow night. But on her opponent’s side, Giorgi unfortunately needs to change her serve – she coughed up way too many double faults in her matches on tour. Even if she is able to push Serena around on court with her crosscourt backhand, she won’t be able to win a set against Serena. My prediction is that Serena defeats Giorgi in two sets. The scoreline could either be 6-1 6-2, 6-3 6-0, 6-3 6-4, or 6-3 7-5.

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    • I was slightly miffed they let that information out at such a time. Don’t you think it makes Serena more of a target, with an achilles heel. Anyway, will just wait and see what gives after the first round. She has a girl or two in her section of the draw who could make her work really hard.

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      • Halep is the one that has the Achilles Heel injury and played while injured in Sydney and she’ll be carrying that injury into Melbourne. Serena, on the other hand, gave herself time to get ready for the Australian Open. With that being said, Serena will play people who will put up a good fight. But, they won’t be able to win a set off of her.

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      • I dont. In fact Id go as far to say Serenas camp (not Serena herself) play up these injuries to take the pressure off and make her seem less of a threat. In the vast majority of her Grand Slam wins shes started off playing poorly or just so so. Nadals camp do the same.

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    • There is so much conflicting information with Serena. Once she takes to the court, we should know more. Her press conference (on the AO YouTube page) was interesting…

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      • Serena’s press conferences are always a riot. She seems to enjoy playing with reporters! Her conference after being beat by Muguruza at the French in 2014 was pretty hilarious…

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