US Open 2018 – Match Analyses & Polls

US Open final on Saturday

US Open SF matches on Thursday

Thoughts about both SFs are in Wednesday’s Set Points post here

US Open SF polls on Thursday

US Open QF matches on Wednesday

Madison Keys vs. Carla Suárez Navarro: Keys had her most convincing win of the tournament against Cibulkova in the fourth round. While it was a good win, it has famously been a favourable match-up for her. CSN is into her 7th Slam quarter-final and is once again looking to break new ground and reach the semi-finals of a Slam for the first time in her career.

Keys leads the head-to-head, 3-0 with all three victories coming in three sets. Keys will need to show the patience and margin that she has demonstrated at times during this tournament. I really like how Keys has approached this tournament and she seems to be in a good headspace as she heads into the latter stages of the tournament. I’d go for Madison to make the final. Keys in 3.

Naomi Osaka vs. Lesia Tsurenko: Osaka and Tsurenko are into the QFs of a Slam for the first time in their career and one of them will go even further after this one! Osaka served brilliantly against Sabalenka and held her ground to win in three, tense sets, 6-3 2-6 6-4. Tsurenko looked on the verge of retirement before the shade saved her, coming from a set and a break down to beat a limping Vondrousova, 6-7(3) 7-5 6-2.

Osaka and Tsurenko have played just once before back in 2014 at an ITF tournament in Irapuato with Osaka winning, 6-4 6-3. It’s hard to judge the emotions here as both compete in the biggest match of their respective careers. I would question what Tsurenko has left after such a physically brutal match against Vondrousova. Like Keys, I think Osaka will need to show patience. The Japanese player has the weapons to overwhelm Tsurenko but it’s all about whether she can utilise them in this big pressure moment. IMO Osaka has always been a pretty solid closer and I think the win over Sabalenka will have settled her. Osaka in 2.

I had a Keys-Osaka SF in my Draw Challenge so no chance of me going back on that! 😂

US Open QF polls on Wednesday

US Open QF matches on Tuesday

Karolina Pliskova vs. Serena Williams: The pair last played in the semi-finals of the US Open in 2016 when Pliskova won in straight sets, 6-2 7-6(5). Pliskova has yet to drop a set this tournament. I was encouraged to see her coming to the net against Barty and it was a solid performance as she won the majority of key points. Williams dropped a set against Kanepi but it was an all round quality match and I think that having to battle and find another level in the decider was very positive for the American.

The pair are tied at 1-1 in their H2H. Serena has been dominant against the big hitters in return to the tour. I feel like Pliskova has become quite passive over the past few years and can get a lot of balls back. I think it will be a tough match for Serena. Both obviously serve well so that will be key. S.Williams in 3.

Sloane Stephens vs. Anastasija Sevastova: For the second year in a row, we get a Stephens-Sevastova in the QFs. I remember watching on catch-up last year (BAKE OFF NIGHT!) and it cut out just before the third set tiebreak 😂. It was a super contest that Stephens won, 6-3 3-6 7-6(4). This has been the best Slam title defence that I can remember in a very long time from Stephens. Sevastova played a sensational match in the fourth round to beat Svitolina in three sets. My question would be whether Sevastova believes she can win this match. Stephens won comfortably in Montreal earlier this summer, 6-2 6-2, although the match did feel closer than the scoreline suggested. Stephens in 2.

US Open QF polls for Tuesday

US Open R4 matches on Monday

Third quarter: Previews of Keys-Cibulkova and Suárez Navarro here

Fourth quarter: Previews of Osaka-Sabalenka and Tsurenko-Vondrousova here

US Open R4 polls for Monday

US Open R4 matches on Sunday

Serena Williams vs. Kaia Kanepi: Both players have yet to drop a set in New York. S.Williams has dropped just 11 games in 3 matches, while Kanepi has backed up her first round win over Halep which is never easy to do. S.Williams leads the H2H, 4-0 and has never dropped a set to Kanepi. The pair haven’t played though since 2014. Kanepi has been striking her forehand with venom this week. If she can bring that level then she should keep this competitive. However, S.Williams has been brilliant so far this week and is generally owning the big hitters in her comeback. S.Williams in 2.

Karolina Pliskova vs. Ash Barty: Such is the nature of the New York, i’ve not seen either of these two play yet! Thrilled this match is on in the day session. Like above, neither has dropped a set this week. I think both Pliskova and Barty have this way of getting through matches, even when their games are not clicking, and their serves are key to this. Barty leads Pliskova, 2-1 in their H2H and won their last match on tour in Wuhan towards the end of 2017, 4-6 7-6(3) 7-6(2). I’ve been impressed with Barty’s consistency since a pretty tough loss to Kasatkina at Wimbledon and having broken new ground at this Slam, I think she’s going to keep on going. Barty in 3.

Sloane Stephens vs. Elise Mertens: A Cincy rematch! In their only previous match on tour, Mertens beat Stephens just two weeks ago, 7-6(8) 6-2. Stephens said a few things about Mertens during the match and kind of followed that up in her third round press conference, struggling to find positives to say about Mertens’s game and stating clearly that she was very tired in that match from Montreal. Mertens has had a brilliant year and I think her greatest strength is her fighting spirit and resilience on court. The Belgian player has a decent balance between defence and attack – she can get passive at times but she can go after her shots. Stephens’s title defence is going extremely well and she produced a high level to take out Azarenka in the fourth round.

This is a fascinating match to me! I get the sense Stephens may underestimate Mertens’s abilities a tad. I do feel she will be totally pumped up for this match after what had happened in Cincy. Stephens is definitely the favourite. I do like Mertens though and she is not to be underestimated. Her results have been consistent all year and she’s been winning a ton of matches on the hard courts this year. I’m going to stick with my original Draw Challenge pick of Mertens.

Elina Svitolina vs. Anastasija Sevastova: Svitolina has rather quietly snuck into the fourth round, matching her best result at the US Open. Sevastova has had a pretty torrid time at the Slams this year but is once again finding her form in NYC. I think Sevastova has the game that could throw Svitolina off if she gets tight and plays passive. The pair have played just once before all the way back in 2013 on the ITF circuit. I could really see this one going either way. Sevastova is not to be written off and is legit when she is on. I do get a good vibe though from Svitolina so i’d probably give her the slight edge. Svitolina in 3.

US Open R4 polls on Sunday

US Open R3 matches on Saturday

Caroline Garcia vs. Carla Suárez Navarro: The two seeds have come through this section but it’s not been easy for either. Garcia was on the brink against Puig, saving 6 break points at 4-4 in the 3rd set before winning, 6-2 1-6 6-4. CSN has needed three sets to win her opening two matches against Gibbs and Mladenovic. Garcia leads CSN, 2-0 in their H2H and won their most recent match handily in Madrid. I’d take Garcia again as I feel her form has generally been decent since Wimby and it’s a matter of time before it finally translates into a deep run at a tournament. It could well be here… Garcia in 2.

Jelena Ostapenko vs. Maria Sharapova: Thrilled we’re getting another match-up between these two because their clash in Rome was so much fun and one of the rare occasions where I watched back a match in full having known the result. Sharapova beat Ostapenko, 6-7(6) 6-4 7-5 in three hours and 10 minutes.

I haven’t seen Sharapova play yet this tournament as she’s been at night both matches. Sharapova had one easy and one tight set in both her wins over Schnyder and Cirstea. Ostapenko has been forced to battle hard which I think has been favourable for her. Ostapenko didn’t win any matches in Montreal and Cincy so I think it’s confidence-boosting.

The serve was key in their last previous meeting and I think it will be huge here again as it will all be about first-strike tennis. Ostapenko’s ball toss was all over the place against Townsend BUT she did get it together at the end landing first serves. Sharapova’s record at night has been superb. Naturally, i’m on the fence with this one. Sharapova in 3.

Madison Keys vs. Aleksandra Krunic: Keys has been solid so far at the US Open and is yet to drop a set. The American served superbly against Pera in the second round. Krunic reaching the third round is something that I can’t get my head round. The Serb won 4 games in 3 matches before the US Open but has now won two matches to reach the last 16 at the US Open which has been far and away her most successful Slam. Keys is fully aware of the threat that Krunic poses as Krunic did beat Keys at the US Open three years ago. I think Keys has become a more well-rounded and smart player since then (she still has her moments!) and I like her form at this tournament. Keys in 2.

Angelique Kerber vs. Dominika Cibulkova: The pair will meet for the 13th time on tour and the first time at a Slam since 2011. Both won long drawn-out three setters in the second round but both should be generally well rested considering their light summer schedules. Kerber leads Cibulkova, 7-5 in their H2H and has won their last two matches in straight sets and eight of their last nine encounters. I’m quite close to being on the fence with this one. Cibulkova has had two tough wins and she thrives in the underdog role. I feel Kerber’s level is not there since Wimby and she’s played so much tennis this year. Cibulkova said in press that her win over Hsieh was one of the most memorable matches of her career. I can’t shake off the H2H. Kerber in 3.

Petra Kvitova vs. Aryna Sabalenka: Really pleased this match has become an eventuality! Not a clue who will win it!!! Both have yet to drop a set en route to the third round. Sabalenka’s riding a seven match winning streak and has been bloody brilliant during the summer hard court season. Kvitova’s played well and had her best result at Cincy for a long time. In their only previous match, Kvitova beat Sabalenka, 7-5 3-6 6-3 earlier this year in Miami. I went for Sabalenka in my draw but I keep reminding myself that Kvitova gets up for the big matches. Kvitova will bring it. But Sabalenka has been playing so, so well. I can’t make my mind up.

Naomi Osaka vs. Aliaksandra Sasnovich: Gutted we won’t get Osaka-Kasatkina but all the credit to Sasnovich who is having a great year. Sasnovich started the year with a final run in Brisbane and has generally maintained the high level throughout the year, winning 14 matches since the start of Wimby and reaching at least the third round at three of the four Slams. Osaka has yet to drop a set this week and looks to be riding into some form. The Japanese player has made at least the third round at her last six Majors. It’s making that next step in the second week that has eluded Osaka till now. Sasnovich is not one to discount but I am sticking with my semi-finalist. Osaka in 2.

Kiki Bertens vs. Marketa Vondrousova: This has been a great draw for Bertens so far and she’s not been troubled at the US Open on a seven match winning streak. I have no idea what I was doing with my predictions going for Bouchard to R4. There’s always one where I look back and think what on earth what I was thinking?! Vondrousova beat Bouchard in straights to reach the last 32 of a Slam for the first time in her career. I think this could be a tricky match for the Bert as she’s clearly not been tested yet. Vondrousova has probably already exceeded her expectations for the week so could play freely and without pressure/expectation. Bertens in 3.

Katerina Siniakova vs. Lesia Tsurenko: I feel like this could be very dramatic?! I’m concerned by Tsurenko’s arm injury as she has pulled out of a lot of tournaments this year. Siniakova matches are rarely routine. Siniakova in 3.

US Open R3 polls for Saturday

US Open R3 matches for Friday

Kaia Kanepi vs. Rebecca Peterson: An unlikely R3 match but well deserved from both players to make it this far and back up their upset wins over in the first round. This will be a first career meeting between the pair. Kanepi will go in as the favourite based on her experience at the Slams. I think Peterson is not to be discounted. It’s a new experience for the Swede having never made it this far at a Slam before but she must surely take confidence from her steady improvement during the year. Peterson in 3.

Venus Williams vs. Serena Williams: Venus-Serena #30 is on for Friday night! While their meetings always bring a sense of grandeur that is fantastic for the sport, I can’t personally say it’s one of my favourite match-ups. Venus produced arguably one of her best displays of the year so far to beat Serena in Indian Wells earlier this year, 6-3 6-4. It will be a big step up in quality for Serena to face having comfortably come through her first two matches of the week. I have been very impressed with Venus so far during this tournament and how she has adapted to her two opponents. Still, I would be more inclined to pick Serena. S.Williams in 3.

Ash Barty vs. Karolina Muchova: Incredible result for Muchova to beat Muguruza and reach the third round of a Slam for the first time in her career. It was her first ever top 100 win! Barty has enjoyed two solid wins over Jabeur and Safarova and seems to be in a good place with her tennis after plenty of matches in Montreal and Cincy. This is a big match for both as they try to reach the second week of a Slam for the first time. I like Barty here with her far superior experience and consistency too with playing against lower ranked opposition. Barty in 2.

Karolina Pliskova vs. Sofia Kenin: In their only previous meeting, Pliskova beat Kenin, 6-4 6-3 at the US Open two years ago. Kenin’s game doesn’t move me but she seems to have a great mentality and the win over Sakkari was her 5th top 50 win of the year. I haven’t seen Pliskova play this tournament so it’s impossible for me to assess her form. The results have been solid but the draw has been favourable so far. Not feeling any upset vibes with this one. Pliskova in 2.

Sloane Stephens vs. Victoria Azarenka: Match of the day and tough one to call. Stephens has won both their two 2018 encounters, winning 6-1 7-5 in Indian Wells and 3-6 6-2 6-1 in Miami. Stephens was pushed hard against Kalinina but survived the battle and came through at the end convincingly. Winning ugly is noteworthy. The issue I guess I have with Azarenka is she has come up against quality opposition during the summer and just come up short. She looked in good form against Gavrilova but Stephens will be a big step up. While this is a Slam and could bring out something special, I have my doubts if she has enough matches under her belt to challenge Stephens. Hope it’s a good one! Stephens in 3.

Elise Mertens vs. Barbora Strycova: Ring the bells for a new match-up! Just like the French Open, Strycova has snapped a losing streak and in style with just eight games dropped through her first two matches. Strycova’s form at the Slams has been under-the-radar impressive as she has reached at least the third round at 11 of her last 17 Slams. Mertens seemed to struggle in her first match of the week against Nara, coming from 2-4 down in the third set, but had no such trouble in her second round match where she dropped just the two games to Lapko. I’ve been so impressed with Mertens this year and she’s my dark horse for the tournament. Strycova can be tricky but I feel Mertens’s resilience and staying power will prevail. Mertens in 2.

Anastasija Sevastova vs. Ekaterina Makarova: Sevastova is into the third round of a Slam for the first time this year. She clearly loves the US Open and is zoning for her third straight Slam QF. After squeaking out a wacky first set tiebreak against Goerges, Makarova served brilliantly to win in straights. It was yet another top ten win for Makarova who just cannot be discounted at the Slams. Makarova leads Sevastova, 3-1 in their H2H and is a perfect 100% in hard court meetings. I always find Makarova difficult to predict because she can lose her way in pretty spectacular fashion. She threatened to do this against Goerges but won that crucial first set tiebreak. There’s been so much good stuff though from Makarova since the start of Wimbledon. Sevastova has such tricks but she has rarely been able to throw Makarova off with them in previous meetings. Makarova in 3.

Elina Svitolina vs. Wang Qiang: Wang’s year has been nowhere near as consistent as 2018 but she has enjoyed her best results at the Slams with this being her second third round showing. Svitolina leads the H2H, 2-0 with both of their previous matches going the distance. I like Svitolina’s general demeanour so far this tournament and fancy her to get this done in straights. Svitolina in 2.

US Open R3 matches on Friday

US Open R2 matches on Thursday

Caroline Garcia vs. Monica Puig: A New Haven rematch! Puig won their quarter-final match last week, 7-5 1-6 6-2. In fact, Puig has won all three previous encounters against Garcia. Both were impressive in the first round as Garcia outplayed Konta and Puig didn’t drop a game to Voegele! This is a tough draw for Garcia as an in-form Puig is clearly not a player anyone would want to face. Despite the H2H, I’d probably still go for Garcia who I feel has been mostly consistent and reliable for the summer hard court season and is on the edge of a big run somewhere. Garcia in 3.

Carla Suárez Navarro vs. Kristina Mladenovic: Didn’t see either of their first round matches so in the dark for this one. CSN leads their H2H, 2-1 and won their two previous matches on hard courts back in 2013 and 2014. Not much to say. I think Carla’s form has been steady and every time I think Mladenovic is getting some form together, she is unable to back it up. CSN in 3.

Maria Sharapova vs. Sorana Cirstea: In the dark again. This will be in the dark too as it’s the Ashe night session. They haven’t played in nearly six years. I would give the edge to Sharapova but Cirstea is a fine ballstriker on her day so I’d be surprised if it’s a walk in the park. Sharapova in 3.

Jelena Ostapenko vs. Taylor Townsend: Ostapenko won her first match since Wimbledon on Tuesday when she sneaked a win over Andrea Petkovic, 7-5 in the decider. Ostapenko showed some character at the end and it felt like a big win for her after a wayward summer. Townsend has won a round at the last three Slams but not played anything, according to Tennis Abstract, since Wimbledon. Ostapenko in 2.

Madison Keys vs. Bernarda Pera: Keys saved match points to beat Pera earlier in the year in Charleston in what was a great match. Wins have been hard to come by for Pera so the first round victory over Poots was noteworthy. Not feeling any upset alert vibes here with Keys well rested and playing pretty solid. Keys in 2.

Aleksandra Krunic vs. Kirsten Flipkens: Krunic snapped a five match losing streak with a three set win over Bacsinszky. This will be a rematch of what was by all accounts a fantastic final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Flipkens went a bit quiet over the summer but knocked out a seed in Vandeweghe in the first round of the US. Flipkens in 3.

Dominika Cibulkova vs. Hsieh Su-Wei: Another rematch from the grass, this time from a dramatic Wimby Magic Monday encounter where Cibulkova received a lot of flack for her reaction to a controversial point involving Hawkeye. There are few data points for both players since Wimby. Hsieh has been mega at two of the Slams. Cibulkova was great at Wimby but then hasn’t played much since. Cibulkova in 3.

Angelique Kerber vs. Johanna Larsson: Kerber has dropped just 10 games in three previous matches against Larsson. Kerber in 2.

Petra Kvitova vs. Wang Yafan: I was worried about Kvitova in the heat and humidity. She was efficient in the first round as she reeled off five straight games against Wickmayer to win in straights. Wang did push Kerber hard in Miami earlier this year. Ultimately, the conditions are more concerning to me for Kvitova than the opponent. Kvitova in 2.

Aryna Sabalenka vs. Vera Zvonareva: One of the more interesting matches for Thursday. Zvonareva is having a terrific tournament having saved match points to qualify and then survived another nailbiter against Blinkova in the first round to record her first Slam main draw win since the 2015 Australian Open. Sabalenka looked gassed during her first rounder against Collins but got it done. There’s got to be some fatigue for Sabalenka but the confidence must be sky high with 12 wins in her last 14 matches. The win over Collins was her 18th three set win of 2018. Sabalenka is seeking to reach the third round of a Slam for the first time in her career! I think she’ll do it. Sabalenka in 2.

Naomi Osaka vs. Julia Glushko: Glushko had a dramatic win against Niculescu in the first round where I think she had a nasty tumble. Osaka had a comfortable win over Siegemund. Despite the lack of pre-US Open form, quite like Osaka’s chances of a deep run this tournament. Osaka in 2.

Daria Kasatkina vs. Alikasandra Sasnovich: Sasnovich has low-key had a great year. Sasnovich has won at least one round at all four Slams this year and has maintained her early season promise in Brisbane where she reached the final. Kasatkina had to work hard to get past Babos in the first round. While a match-up that I feel she should always come through, battling wins can sometimes be more beneficial. Kasatkina has a decent H2H against Sasnovich, leading 3-1. Feels like it could be a tricky match for Kasatkina. Kasatkina in 3.

Kiki Bertens vs. Francesca Di Lorenzi: Know very little about FDL who won her first Slam main draw singles match against McHale on Tuesday. Bertens looked pretty solid in her opening match. Bertens in 2.

Eugenie Bouchard vs. Marketa Vondrousova: First time meeting and big chance for both to make the last 32. Bouchard has sailed through her first four matches but hasn’t faced anyone of real quality yet. Vondrousova was starting to shine in the Spring but her progress has since been halted – I think injury? I’d probably go Bouchard but don’t feel as confident as I did when I made my draw. Bouchard in 3.

Katerina Siniakova vs. Ajla Tomljanovic: I was surprised by Siniakova’s win over Kontaveit although I have noticed that she’s been decent at the Slams this year, making the last 32 of both RG and Wimby. Tomljanovic has been steadily picking up wins all year. 50-50 with this one.

Caroline Wozniacki vs. Lesia Tsurenko: Woz actually looked OK in her first rounder so perhaps she was being honest in press about being 100% healthwise! It’s hard to imagine Tsurenko being consistent enough to stay with Woz. I wouldn’t be overly surprised if Tsurenko nicks a set. Wozniacki in 2.

US Open R2 polls for Thursday

US Open R2 matches on Wednesday

Kaia Kanepi vs. Jill Teichmann: Kanepi’s upset of Halep in the first round has opened up this top section of the draw and certainly in favour of Kanepi. The courts suit her game being quick and this is a favourable draw. Teichmann is into the second round of a Slam for the main draw having already achieved a career feat by successfully qualifying for her first Slam main draw.The pair have played once before on the clay courts of Padova in 2016, 6-2 6-2. Kanepi can be prone to the odd loss here and there. This would be a big surprise though. Kanepi in 2.

Rebecca Peterson vs. Vania King: Another unexpected second round match! I wasn’t surprised by Peterson’s win over Pavs as I have been very impressed with the matches I’ve seen Peterson play this year. Pavs’s recent record at the Slams has sadly been poor. King beat Vikhlyantseva for her first tour level singles win since Shenzhen 2017. Peterson will be aiming to reach the third round of a Slam for the first time in her career. Based on her form, I think she will do it. Peterson in 2.

Serena Williams vs. Carina Witthoeft: Don’t see any upset alert with this match. S.Williams in 2.

Venus Williams vs. Camila Giorgi: The pair have played just once before on the tour where Venus won a three setter in the third round of the 2015 Australian Open. My vague memory is that it was an excellent match? I thought Venus played one of her best matches of the year vs. Kuznetsova. I admired her desire to get to the net and her forehand looked good. This will be another tough match. Giorgi will look to take the Venus second serve, which has been vulnerable, early. Venus is so smart and adaptable, I tend to think she might battle her way through this one. V.Williams in 3.

Garbiñe Muguruza vs. Karolina Muchova: Know very little about Muchova who won her first main draw match at a Slam on Monday. A great opportunity for the Czech player but not feeling an upset alert based on experience. Muguruza in 2.

Ash Barty vs. Lucie Safarova: Sad to see these two meet so early! Both looked good in the first round with straight set wins. Even biasedness aside, I think Safarova has been playing at a high level since coming back from her health issues earlier this year. The draws haven’t been so kind with her ranking dropping. I think this is one of the matches of the day. I’m intrigued to see whether Barty’s slice and general variety will upset Safarova’s rhythm. I obviously want Lucie to win, but happy either way as would love to see Ash go on a deep Slam run.

Maria Sakkari vs. Sofia Kenin: A Wimbledon rematch! Kenin beat Sakkari in the first round of SW19, 6-4 1-6 6-1. I think both players are super competitors. Sakkari’s had the better summer which has propelled her into last available seeding spot. I think Sakkari is much more comfortable on hard courts so I would fancy her to reverse the result of their only previous encounter. Sakkari in 3.

Karolina Pliskova vs. Ana Bogdan: Bogdan has had an excellent summer as she successfully qualified for Montreal, Cincy and New Haven, and won her first round match comfortably against the Czech qualifier, Bouzkova, 6-4 6-2. I remain unconvinced by Pliskova but don’t see an upset alert with this match. Pliskova in 2.

Sloane Stephens vs. Anhelina Kalinina: A very favourable early draw for Stephens. Not feeling any upset alert vibes. Stephens in 2.

Daria Gavrilova vs. Victoria Azarenka: Shocked by Gavrilova’s 6-0 6-0 win over Sorribes Tormo! I hope it gives her some confidence because it’s been a tough year. I didn’t see either of their matches as they were late on Monday. This will be a first career match-up between the pair. I think Azarenka has the more stable serve and her willingness to be aggressive will be key. Azarenka in 2.

Barbora Strycova vs. Lara Arruabarrena: Both players snapped a 4 match losing streak to reach the second round. Strycova the fave for sure but she is always capable of careering off into the abyss. Sticking with Strycova. Strycova in 2.

Elise Mertens vs. Vera Lapko: Lapko has now made it back-to-back second rounds at the Slams after her first main draw Slam win at Wimbledon. Mertens was mostly defensive and didn’t look at her best on Monday against Nara, but competed well. In their only previous match, Mertens beat Lapko, 6-1 4-6 6-4 in Lugano earlier this year. I’m a tad concerned by Mertens’s forearm injury. Still, if she can stay healthy then she’s a dark horse in this draw. Mertens in 2.

Julia Goerges vs. Ekaterina Makarova: New Haven rematch! The pair just played last week where Goerges won, 6-4 6-2. It was Goerges’s first ever win over Makarova. Not an easy match for Goerges but I’ve noted how secure she has become in long drawn-out matches. Makarova is capable of anything! We’ve seen good and bad from her over the last few weeks. If it went to a decider then ultimately i’d have more faith in Goerges. Goerges in 3.

Anastasija Sevastova vs. Claire Liu: Liu will be a player to watch in the future. Intrigued to see how she gets on against Sevastova. I would go for Sevastova as I think her first round win over Vekic required her to start the tournament at a high level and should give her confidence. Sevastova in 3.

Wang Qiang vs. Irina-Camelia Begu: Big opportunity for both players to reach the third round. Wang had a sharp turnaround after winning the Asian Games at the weekend. 50-50 with this one, three dramatic sets?! Begu in 3.

Elina Svitolina vs. Tatjana Maria: A Wimbledon rematch! Maria produced a big shock at SW19 by beating Svitolina in three sets in the first round. I’d guess Svitolina will be more comfortable on the hard courts and is in a better place mentally for this clash. I’ve always thought Svitolina is one the most resilient players on tour in being able to overturn recent losses to players. Svitolina in 2.

US Open R2 Polls for Wednesday

US Open R1 matches on Tuesday

Caroline Garcia vs. Johanna Konta: Preview here

Kristina Mladenovic vs. Tamara Zidansek: I still remain unconvinced by Mlads this year. Zidansek has had a breakthrough year although most of her success seems to have come on the clay this year. I’ll tentatively take Mlads through to R2. Mladenovic in 3.

Carla Suárez Navarro vs. Nicole Gibbs: Very pleased to see Gibbs reach the main draw. I think this will be a tough match-up for her though as CSN just does everything a bit better and more consistently. While she did favour from her draw with opponents dropping like flies, CSN was playing good tennis in New Haven. Suárez Navarro in 2.

Maria Sharapova vs. Patty Schnyder: Well this is a blast from the past! I vaguely remember watching their epic clash at the French Open back in 2007 when Sharapova won, 3-6 6-4 9-7. It was just as I was starting to get addicted to tennis. Schynder has qualified for her first Slam main draw since the 2011 French Open! Whatever happens, should be a fun one. Sharapova in 2.

Sorana Cirstea vs. Alison Riske: Cirstea leads the H2H, 3-2 although Riske won their last match back in Nurnberg via retirement earlier this year. Riske’s form has gone a tad AWOL since a tough loss to Belinda Bencic at Wimbledon where she missed match points. I feel like Riske often goes on these winless streaks and just needs a good win somewhere to right the ship. Cirstea has been steadily picking up wins through year, but is yet to reach a semi-final in 2018. This could be a scrap. Both are good competitors IMO. Cirstea in 3.

Amanda Anisimova vs. Taylor Townsend: All-American clash with Anisimova’s first Slam main draw at the US Open. Townsend has more experience at this stage. Anisimova has been hugely impressive to me this year, mostly for her temperament and mentality on court that overshadows her youth. Townsend won their only previous match in Miami last year, 2-6 6-2 6-3. AA has progressed significantly during the year and I think could go deep in this draw if she continues to build on her Cincy display and promise at the tour level. Anisimova in 2.

Jelena Ostapenko vs. Andrea Petkovic: Preview here

Madison Keys vs. Pauline Parmentier: I’m high on Keys for this year’s US Open. I think that win over Kerber at Cincy was a bit of a gamechanger. The American was error-strewn at the start but got into the match and played great through the final two sets, managing to push Kerber back and into a frustrated rut. Not too concerned for this opener, as long as Keys can stay calm and focused with the all the NYC excitement. In their only previous match in Fed Cup action earlier this year, Keys won, 7-6(4) 6-4. Keys in 2.

Yulia Putintseva vs. Bernarda Pera: Neither has been in great form over the summer. Putintseva hasn’t recorded a top 50 win since the French Open, while Pera hasn’t really been the same since blowing a big lead against Daria Gavrilova in Paris. First time match-up and a bit of a coin toss IMO. I’ve gone for the Poots. Putintseva in 3.

Aleksandra Krunic vs. Timea Bacsinszky: It’s been months and months and months since my two faves played at the same tournament! Excited to see Bacsinszky in another main draw and playing her first Slam since Wimbledon 2017. This is actually a favourable draw because Krunic has really laboured since winning ‘s-Hertogenbosch, winning just four games in her last three matches. Hopeful for Timea’s chances of a first win at tour level in over a year.

CoCo Vandeweghe vs. Kirsten Flipkens: Been a tough year for CoCo who hasn’t had the luck with injuries. I get the feeling the ankle isn’t quite healed yet. Flipkens in 2.

Dominika Cibulkova vs. Arantxa Rus: After playing arguably her best tournament of the entire year at Wimbledon, Cibulkova took an extended break (injury?) and didn’t come back till New Haven where she won just 4 games against Goerges. Simply for her lack of matches, i’d tag this with a mild upset alert. Cibulkova in 3.

Alizé Cornet vs. Johanna Larsson: Based on form, Cornet is the clear favourite. Larsson has won just one of her last eight matches, while Cornet has enjoyed two top 15 wins and a title in Gstaad. Cornet in 2.

Angelique Kerber vs. Margarita Gasparyan: Lovely to see Gasparyan back in action who scored two top 100 wins in New Haven qualifying last week. Injury has thwarted the Russian player who has that gorgeous one handed backhand. I still remember vividly her match against Vinci at IW last year which was wildly entertaining. Kerber should be well rested for NYC but hasn’t found her buzz since Wimby. I don’t see any upset alerts though with this one. Kerber in 2.

Petra Kvitova vs. Yanina Wickmayer: Based on the weather forecast for the first week, I really don’t fancy Petra’s chances in NYC! Wickmayer has a decent record against Kvitova but they haven’t played in over five years and Wickmayer is not at the level she once was. Kvitova in 2.

Anna Blinkova vs. Vera Zvonareva: Have to respect Zvonareva’s willingness and drive to compete. The former US Open champ saved five match points to win her final round qualifying match. Winning matches from match point down is always huge. Zvonareva in 3.

Aryna Sabalenka vs. Danielle Collins: Sabalenka has been an absolute star these past few weeks and I didn’t think she would have the energy to go and win New Haven. I hope she’s got something left in the tank for NYC because she can do things in her current form. After blowing a set and double break lead over Sakkari in San Jose, the American has been winless on the tour. Collins looked strangely subdued in a 0-6 3-6 loss to Yastremska in New Haven last week. I think Sabalenka has too much quality right now. Sabalenka in 2.

Naomi Osaka vs. Laura Siegemund: Osaka going for her first win since Wimbledon, while Siegemund is going for her first win on hard court since the knee injury. Siegemund is a tricky customer, as Osaka will know from their last clash in Charleston where the Japanese player just about sneaked out the straight sets win. Osaka’s form has been disappointing over the summer hard court season and she admitted to feeling pressure in a post on social media. Quite a tough draw for Osaka, but I do like her chances of doing well this tournament. Surface is perfect for her and she often brings her A-game for the Slams. Osaka in 2.

Aliaksandra Sasnovich vs. Belinda Bencic: First time match-up and one of the closest matched first rounders. Sasnovich has had a low-key superb year and produced solid results throughout much of 2018. Bencic hasn’t found the consistency this year with flutters of brilliance. I hope that will come with playing more consistently on tour injury-free. 50-50 match for me. I went for BB in my Draw Challenge but not confident either way.

Daria Kasatkina vs. Timea Babos: Unconvinced by Kasatkina since a quality French Open-Wimby double where she reached the QFs of both. Not worried by this match-up against Babos though who has been mostly erratic this year in singles. Kasatkina in 2.

Kiki Bertens vs. Kristyna Pliskova: I’m worried about how Bertens will cope with added expectation after her stunning Cincy run. NYC is crazy too so I think it’s a lot to take in! Kris Plis. has played just two matches on the hard courts this summer. Bertens in 2.

Eugenie Bouchard vs. Harmony Tan: It pains me to say it but I like Bouchard’s draw. She seems to be in a much better place mentally with her tennis. After qualifying for the Wimby main draw, I thought she played a pretty sound match against Barty in the second round. This was the best draw for all the qualifiers. Bouchard in 2.

Mihaela Buzarnescu vs. Marketa Vondrousova: Impossible to predict this one! A fully fit Buz for the win but worried she’s trying to come back too early? Seems a very quick recovery. I went for Vondrousova in my Draw Challenge.

Anett Kontaveit vs. Katerina Siniakova: Siniakova is on a four match losing streak in singles. I think she has Iain Hughes on board as coach now as he was there in Montreal. I think Siniakova has to try and tackle her emotions and mentality head on now if she’s going to fulfill her potential because it feels she has been treading water in singles for a while now. Solid but unspectacular from Kontaveit since Wimbledon. Potential in this draw though for a deep run. Kontaveit in 2.

Caroline Wozniacki vs. Sam Stosur: Preview here

US Open R1 Polls for Tuesday

US Open R1 matches on Monday

Simona Halep vs. Kaia Kanepi: First thoughts on this one – a tough opener for Halep! Kanepi had big success in New York last year where she won seven matches from qualifying to reach the quarter-finals. Kanepi’s form heading into New York hasn’t been anything special, but she is the type of the player that is always a threat with her clean ballstriking game. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kanepi bagged a set as Halep can tend to start tournaments slow. Halep for the win though. Halep in 3.

Natalia Vikhlyantseva vs. Vania King: King has played just six singles matches this year and won only one at the ITF tournament in Dothan against an unranked opponent. On paper it looks like a good draw for Vikhlyantseva. I really thought the Russian player would push on this year. That’s not really been the case sadly. I think the Vik is lacking confidence. I hope she can work it out as the groundstrokes and serve are definitely there. Vikhlyantseva in 2.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Rebecca Peterson: Not the best of years for the Pavs. She had her chances at upset wins against both Halep and Kerber in her last two tournaments but just came up short. Peterson has been impressive to me this year and she played a quality match against Mertens in Cincy. Pavs always makes me nervous in the early rounds of Slams and hasn’t made it past the second round in her last six Slam appearances. Peterson has weapons with the serve and forehand. I’d actually take a whirl with Peterson. Peterson in 3.

Serena Williams vs. Magda Linette: Serena for the win. S.Williams in 2.

Caroline Dolehide vs. Carina Witthoeft: This is the first time that Dolehide has qualified for the main draw of a Slam by ranking and it will be her first appearance in the main draw of the US Open. I’ve simmered a tad on Dolehide since I first watched her earlier this year. I think her game is very exciting and I adore her variety. However it is pretty complex and I think will take some time for her to get to grips with it and be more consistent on the tour circuit. Witthoeft is generally having a poor year and has won just two of her last 15 matches. Dolehide in 2.

Camila Giorgi vs. Whitney Osuigwe: I know very little about Osuigwe other than she’s one to watch! Notably, Osuigwe won a round in qualifying in New Haven last week and pushed Bencic to three sets. Playing someone like Giorgi for the first time must be very daunting for a young player because she gives her opponent very little time on the ball. Giorgi in 2.

Venus Williams vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova: Preview here

Garbiñe Muguruza vs. Zhang Shuai: This will be Muguruza’s second match since Wimby having struggled with an arm injury. She lost her first match in Cincy to Tsurenko but seemed content that she felt no pain in her arm. Muguruza is capable of clicking in a flash.  Generally, she has never seemed to settle in New York. Zhang is coming from the Asian Games where she was the runner-up. A tough turnaround for the Chinese player who hasn’t had the best of years. Zhang has beaten Muguruza before in Doha last year but not really feeling her chances in this one. Muguruza in 2.

Petra Martic vs. Lucie Safarova: The pair haven’t played each other in over six years. Safarova won four matches in as many days in Montreal and played a great match against Goerges in the second round, losing out in three sets. A tad surprised that Safarova hasn’t played any singles matches since. She was in Cincy but only playing doubles. I still feel Lucie can succeed in singles but my general hunch is that she may switch to only doubles soon. Martic’s string of runs at the Slams seems to have subsided. Still, she’s had a pretty consistent year with some solid results. Tough one to call this one and feels like one of the more even match-ups. I’m hopeful for Safarova… famous last words!

Ash Barty vs. Ons Jabeur: First time match-up and should be a fun one! Both play away from the norm. Jabeur took ages to get going this year (injury? confidence?). Her results have improved as the year has gone on and she successfully qualified for the main draw. It’s been more of the same for Barty – solid yet unspectacular. I’m yet to see a really great display from her this year, but she plays smart and is one of the most consistent players on tour for getting through matches against lower ranked players. The last time she lost to a player ranked below her in the rankings was Serena Williams at the French Open. Barty’s only two losses since Wimby came against the world number one. Jabeur brings the tricks. Barty brings the consistency for me. Barty in 2.

Maria Sakkari vs. Asia Muhammed: This will be Sakkari’s first Slam as a seed, thanks largely to her run to the final in San Jose. There have been some good wins by ranking for the Greek player. A few puzzling losses too. Wondering how Sakkari will feel going into the match as the clear favourite and as a seed. A solid draw on paper. Muhammed did win an ITF tournament earlier this year. Sakkari in 2.

Karolina Pliskova vs. Zarina Diyas: Like Pliskova’s coaching set-up with Conchita Martinez, much more than her current form. I’ve noticed a few pull-outs from doubles with a shoulder injury. Diyas has been sporting heavy strapping on her knee so not sure if she’s in the best place to challenge Pliskova physically. It feels like one of those match-ups where Pliskova will find a way through, even if she’s not feeling her game. Pliskova in 2.

Sloane Stephens vs. Evgeniya Rodina: Intrigued to see how Stephens fares this week. I think she has looked in superb form post-Wimbledon. Defending a Slam brings a lot of pressure and expectation though. Stephens won their only previous match in 2011! Not worried about this match-up for SS. Stephens in 2.

Viktoria Kuzmova vs. Victoria Azarenka: Preview here

Daria Gavrilova vs. Sara Sorribes Tormo: Gavrilova played a decent match against Sabalenka in New Haven. The serving yips are still there though and it just cannot be relied in the cruicial moments. Never been that impressed by SST’s game but she’s a great competitor. This could be a struggle. Gavrilova in 3.

Barbora Strycova vs. Danielle Lao: Strycova heads into the US Open on a four match losing streak, while Lao is playing her first Slam main draw. Strycova went into RG on a losing run so think she will turn it around. Also comes in following a doubles title in New Haven. Strycova in 2.

Elise Mertens vs. Kurumi Nara: High on Mertens right now. Not too concerned about this opener vs. Nara who she eased past in Hobart earlier this year in straight sets. Mertens in 2.

Julia Goerges vs. Anna Kalinskaya: Second Slam main draw for Kalinskaya after the Australian Open earlier this year. Goerges has maintained her form since Wimbledon and is proving herself in being able to tough out matches, even when not at her best. Goerges has won her last six three set matches. Goerges in 2.

Ekaterina Makarova vs. Heather Watson: Can’t really work out Makarova this year. She’s had some thumping wins since Wimbledon over the likes of Cornet and Pliskova but some shaky losses, notably the one against Lesia Tsurenko in Cincy where she had all manner of leads in the first set. A few bright signs for Watson who had never previously won a match at the US Open before successfully qualifying for the main draw this week. In their only previous meeting, Watson beat Makarova in Monterrey last year, 6-4 6-1. For this clash, I’d probably favour Makarova in two. If it were to go the distance and Watson hangs around then i’d give her the edge in three sets.

Anastasija Sevastova vs. Donna Vekic: Preview here

Magdalena Rybarikova vs. Wang Qiang: Wang has just won the Asian Games at the weekend so a very quick turnaround. I like Rybarikova’s variety to come through here. Rybarikova in 3.

Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Tatjana Maria: This could be a fun one for anyone who is not a fan of ball bashing tennis. Radwanska hasn’t won a match since the grass, but her two matches have been against Pliskova and Kvitova. I’ve always thought players with variety play Radwanska well. Still, going for Radwanska.

Elina Svitolina vs. Sachia Vickery: First time meeting. I wonder if Vickery will be buoyed by her recent hit with Venus! Vickery has lost five of her last six matches on tour. Svitolina has been just steady throughout the summer hard court season. Svitolina in 2.

US Open R1 Polls for Monday

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