Magic Monday at Wimbledon will see all 16 singles matches played across both the women’s and men’s draws. Finally, the tournament is back on track after play on Middle Sunday took place for the first time since 2004. For previews of V.Williams v Suárez Navarro click HERE, Radwanska v Cibulkova click HERE and Halep v Keys click HERE. This post covers the remaining women’s matches to be played on Monday.
1. Serena Williams v Svetlana Kuznetsova
Serena-Sveta matches are always fun but this will be a first career match-up on grass. After a tense and tight second round match against Christina McHale, Serena sailed into the last 16 with a comfortable 6-3 6-0 victory over Annika Beck in just 51 minutes. Kuznetsova was forced to an extra-time finish against Sloane Stephens, recovering from 2-5 down in the third set to win, 6-7(1) 6-2 8-6. The pair shared a wonderful embrace at the net.
Head-to-head record: Serena leads Sveta, 9-3 in their head-to-head; in 2016, they are tied at 1-1 with Sveta coming from a set down to beat Serena in Miami, 6-7 6-1 6-2. Serena exacted revenge with a clinical display in Rome, winning 6-2 6-0 in the quarters.
Final thoughts: As match-ups with Serena go, Kuznetsova has always played her closer than most. The win in Miami was a convincing one for the Russian player and while Serena was obviously below her best, it showed what Kuznetsova is truly capable of. While Kuznetsova seems to be figuring out grass this year, I think Serena will be superior in most departments and she’ll also likely be a tad fresher after Kuznetsova needed two and a half hours to dispatch Stephens. I’d fancy Serena to prevail in a tight two setter.
2. CoCo Vandeweghe v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
CoCo and Pavs both upset higher seeds in straight sets on Middle Sunday to book their spots in the last 16. For CoCo, she has repeated the feat from 2015 (where she eventually went onto make the quarters), while Pavs is into the last 16 of Wimby for the first time in her career. CoCo beat Roberta Vinci on Centre Court, 6-3 6-4, while Pavs enjoyed her second win of the year over Timea Bacsinszky, 6-3 6-2.
Head-to-head record: In their only previous match, Vandeweghe defeated Pavs in two tight sets in Miami, 7-6 7-5 back in 2014.
Final thoughts: I’ve always been a fan of Pavs’s game, but i’ve never really fancied it in the transition to the grass. She looked super though against Bacsinszky in the third round. CoCo has had a brilliant grass court season; i’m impressed with her consistency throughout the last month and I have faith in her form right now to keep trundling through the draw. CoCo for the win.
3. Ekaterina Makarova v Elena Vesnina
Doubles partners, Makarova and Vesnina will meet for a place in the quarter-finals. While both are unseeded, this isn’t a surprise to see either player thriving at Wimbledon. Both players reached the quarter-finals of Eastbourne just last week. Makarova backed up her upset victory over Petra Kvitova in the second round with another straight sets triumph over Barbora Strycova. Vesnina defeated a game, Julia Boserup in the third round, 7-5 7-5.
Head-to-head record: Makarova leads Vesnina, 6-1 in their head-to-head; in fact Makarova has won their last six matches and all in straight sets!
Final thoughts: Makarova’s consistent groundstrokes are a winner on grass and she seems to be coming into some form again. I wonder if the drop-off in her rankings has almost been a benefit to her in terms of the pressure. Makarova always looked to be struggling with the status of being a top ten player. Being healthy also helps! Vesnina’s had a stunning year and has won so many matches. This week will give her ranking another deserved boost… but I think Makarova takes this one.
4. Angelique Kerber v Misaki Doi
AO rematch time! The last time Kerber and Doi met was in the first round of the Australian Open where Kerber saved a match point to win in three, dramatic sets. Two weeks later, she was crowned the champ! Kerber’s into the last 16 without dropping a set but her level hasn’t been all that convincing. Kerber needed a first set tiebreak to see off Carina Witthoeft, saving four set points in the process, before breaking away in the second set, 7-6(11) 6-1.
Kerber has been mentally sound this week and perhaps the muted grass court season will actually have been a benefit physically at this stage of the tournament. Doi has quietly had a decent grass court season having made the third round in Eastbourne and now the last 16 of Wimby; this is the first time she has reached the second week of any Slam.
Head-to-head record: While Doi pushed Kerber all the way in Melbourne, she has lost all four previous encounters to the German player.
Final thoughts: While i’m a big fan of Kerber on grass, i’m not sure she’s quite hitting the form required to be labelled as a title contender. Doi is dangerous and has huge weapons (FOREHAND), as Kerber will know, but in a new situation in the second week of a Slam, i’d have to go for the steadier and more consistent, Kerber.
5. Lucie Safarova v Yaroslava Shvedova
I’m not going to lie, i’m pleasantly suprised to see Lucie in the second week of Wimby after watching her in Eastbourne! Saving three match points in a nailbiting first round match against Bethanie Mattek-Sands set her up for a superb second round performance against Samantha Crawford. In the third round, Safarova saved ANOTHER match point, surviving an absolute epic against Jana Cepelova, 12-10 in the decider.
Shvedova had won just one match since Charleston in April but has reeled off three wins to reach the second week of Wimbledon for the third time in her career. This has included super wins over Elina Svitolina and especially, Sabine Lisicki in the last two rounds.
Head-to-head record: Shvedova has won all three previous matches against Safarova. This included a 8-6 three set victory at the Australian Open in 2015 which was a heartbreaker for Safarova. Shvedova won their most recent encounter in Indian Wells where Safarova was still coming back to full fitness after battling rheumatic fever.
Final thoughts: Tough one for Safarova, particularly with the head-to-head and against a player who has a proven track record on this surface. However, Safarova is a confidence player and winning two matches from match point down will have given her a hugeeee boost. She’s defended her points from last year and will have had a day off to recover (just finished doubles on Sunday) so I think she’s in the best possible place to perform to the best of her ability on Monday. I don’t like making predictions on Lucie’s matches but i’m hopeful despite the danger that Shvedova presents.