EWednesday’s order of play looks set to be a stunner in Charleston with 14 second round matches on the schedule and the likes of Petra Kvitova, Julia Goerges, Johanna Konta, Madison Keys and Anastasija Sevastova all playing their first matches. Read on for a sweeping preview of matches to watch. A recap of Tuesday’s action will be up early on Wednesday!
Match of the Day
Naomi Osaka vs. Laura Siegemund (2nd up on Althea Gibson Club Court)
I’m excited for this clash! The Laura Siegemund comeback continues against one of the hottest players on tour in Naomi Osaka. Siegemund returned to the ITF tour in Italy last month and played her first WTA-level match on Monday, beating Natalia Vikhlyantseva, 7-5 6-2. Osaka looked in superb form in her first round win over Jennifer Brady as she once again showcased superior movement and secure hitting.
Interestingly, Siegemund leads Osaka, 2-0 in their head-to-head with victories in Indian Wells (6-2 6-3, 2016) and Rome (6-2 6-4, 2017). Clay is undoubtedly Siegemund’s favourite surface. The green clay is much faster than the red clay and Osaka looked very comfortable on this surface in her first match. Despite the H2H, i’m inclined to go for Osaka in straights. I think Osaka will be well prepared to deal with all of Siegemund’s antics, who is still very early into her comeback after a very serious knee injury.
One to watch on the outside courts
Daria Gavrilova vs. Camila Giorgi (1st up on Court 3)
Daria Gavrilova and Camila Giorgi have gone the distance in their two previous meetings and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see this clash go all the way too. In a characteristically scrappy performance, Gavrilova fought back from a 1-6 breadstick opener to beat Ons Jabeur in three sets on Monday. Gavrilova’s best level is still some way off. The results have been more promising though in the last month. Giorgi was fantastic in Australia but hasn’t managed to build on those results due to injury. Giorgi pulled out of Dubai qualifying due to a leg injury. A thumping first round win over Silvia Soler-Espinosa, 6-1 6-4, would suggest she’s feeling good.
In their most recent encounter in Cincy last year, Giorgi’s positivity and willingness to come forward was the difference. Giorgi won, 7-6(1) 5-7 6-3. I can’t explain why but my instinct is that Gavrilova will tough this match out in three sets.
There’s a couple of matches with mild upset alerts. The only one i’ve gone for and feels like a bit of a no brainer is for Sara Errani to beat the number 15 seed, Mihaela Buzarnescu. Errani’s credentials on clay are legit and she looked pretty solid in her 6-4 6-4 win over Eugenie Bouchard in the first round.
The last time…
Madison Keys and Lara Arruabarrena played each other in 2017, Arruabarrena won 7-5 7-5 in Miami. This match was still feel very early in Keys’s comeback from the first wrist surgery. Arruabarrena has history in Charleston having played a stunning match against Angelique Kerber in 2016, just coming up short in a third set tiebreak.
Keys hasn’t been at all convincing since the Australian Open and suffered a leg injury in Miami. I think there will be a tough set in there or perhaps three. I don’t think Keys will underestimate Arruabarrena after their match in Miami.
Alizé Cornet will be seeking to win back-to-back matches for the first time since Melbourne when she plays Polona Hercog. Cornet has a 4-1 head-to-head record against Hercog and lost just three games in their most recent meeting at Wimbledon in 2016.
Petra Kvitova plays fellow Czech, Kristyna Pliskova. In their only previous clash, Kvitova won in straight sets at the end of 2017 in Beijing, 6-3 7-5. In her first ever match in Charleston, I think Petra will be too strong in all departments.
The 19-year-old, Caroline Dolehide is having a superb week in Charleston after successfully qualifying for the main draw and then winning her first round match against Johanna Larsson, 5-7 6-0 6-4. Next up is the number eight seed, Anastasija Sevastova. I’d tag this with a mild upset alert. Sevastova can throw in the occasional shocker although generally she has looked impressive in 2018. Dolehide will need to be really positive and go after shots if she is to bag the win. Sevastova is my predicted finalist this week so even more hope for Caroline! 😂
Another qualifier who is into the second round is Fanny Stollar. The 19-year-old clearly likes Charleston as it was this tournament in 2017 when she made her biggest breakthrough so far on tour with a career best win over Elena Vesnina en route to the third round. In just her third match against a top 50 player, Stollar will take on the number six seed, Johanna Konta on Wednesday. I’m going for Jo in straights.
Court 4 will feature the two youngest players left in the tournament, Claire Liu and Dayana Yastremska. Liu, who won junior Wimbledon last year, condemned Magda Linette to a fourth consecutive loss from a set up, while Yastremska took Sloane Stephens’s place in the draw. Liu faces Irina-Camelia Begu on Wednesday who has made the quarter-finals of Charleston in all three previous appearances. For someone who has been very inconsistent in the last few years, Begu has been the epitome of consistency in Charleston! Yastremska will play the in-form American, Bernarda Pera. I’m going for Begu and Pera.