The entire third round of the 2018 Volvo Car Open will be played on Thursday in Charleston. At the time of writing there are five match-ups that I know about before I watch Konta-Stollar and sleeep! I’m not sure if I will get to watch much tennis on Thursday as it’s tennis club night. I’m *really* excited about the top two matches in this post. Please note that a Set Points post will be up on the blog Thursday morning.
Match of the Day
Julia Goerges vs. Naomi Osaka
Now this is a match-up I likeeee! I was about to ring my bell for the new match-up alert. I was surprised to find that Julia Goerges and Naomi Osaka have actually played before in 2016 where Osaka won, 6-4 6-4 in Cincy. I do not remember that match at all. Both players were forced to work hard for their places in the third round. Goerges was two points from going out to Kristie Ahn but came through in a third set tiebreak, while Osaka saved four set points to fend off a Siegemund charge to win in straights.
Based on form and their performances in the second round, Osaka wins this hands down. I’ve learnt over the years that tennis doesn’t always work like this. A win like the one over Ahn was just what Goerges needed after winning only one match through the Indian Wells-Miami double in her comeback to the tour following a hip injury. Ultimately, i’ll take Osaka in this match-up as I think she will be a bit more stable in her groundstrokes and has been moving so, so well in recent weeks… but i’m not writing off Goerges for reasons mentioned above!
Anastasija Sevastova vs. Ashleigh Barty
OK now i’m ringing my bell for the new match-up alert! Anastasija Sevastova and Ashleigh Barty will play each other for the first time on the WTA tour. I am loving the sound of this match-up 😍. Both are such thoughtful players and know how to construct a point. Both needed three sets to reach the last 16. Sevastova lost the second set from a break up against the talented teen, Caroline Dolehide, but eased through the decider to win, 7-5 6-7(5) 6-1. Barty came from a set down for the fourth time in 2018 and played an aggressive third set to beat Tatjana Maria, 4-6 6-3 6-2.
Based on the surface, I had Sevastova down to win this match in my Draw Challenge. Sevastova is the much more experienced player on clay. The more I ponder this match-up and having watched Barty beat Maria, i’m swinging pretty much 50-50.
Another first time match-up…
Elena Vesnina and Kristyna Pliskova will play each other for the first time after Kr. Pliskova scored the biggest upset of the tournament so far with a stunning win over Petra Kvitova, 1-6 6-1 6-3. Vesnina, the two-time former finalist in Charleston, is having a solid week with wins over the Americans, Madison Brengle and Taylor Townsend. No data to go on this one so I don’t have a great deal to add. I think Vesnina will win in three sets.
Alizé Cornet and Caroline Garcia last played each other on the last day of 2017 in the first match of the new season. After splitting 6-3 sets, Garcia was forced to retire in tears due to a back injury. Aside from that clash, Garcia had been in control of the head-to-head and won all three previous encounters. Garcia looked good on Tuesday which was encouraging after a disappointing Indian Wells-Miami swing. This is clearly a decent match-up for Garcia and she’s comfortable on the clay. I’m going for CarGar.
Daria Kasatkina and Irina-Camelia Begu have been attracted to each other in draws with this being their fifth clash in little over a year and seventh overall on the WTA tour. Since Begu thumped Kasatkina in Rome in 2016 during her cracking run on the clay, Kasatkina has won their last four clashes including a quarter-final win in Charleston in 2017.
Begu has never failed to reach the quarter-finals in Charleston with three successive appearances in the last eight between 2015 and 2017. Kasatkina wasn’t at her best against Christina McHale on Tuesday night. I think the Russian player will settle down for this clash against an opponent she has had previous success against.