Our predictions for the matches played on the most important courts in day two at the Australian Open. Venus Williams faces a threat, there should be room for great moments of tennis.
In Bold the player we believe will win the match today at the Australian Open.
Rod Laver Arena
Anett Kontaveit (EST) vs. Garbine Muguruza (ESP)
Garbine could lose a set considering how she might be a little rusty, but it is very unlikely she will lose in the first round.
Venus Williams (USA) vs. Johanna Konta (GBR)
Venus appeared far from her best in the first tournament she has played this season in Auckland. Konta is someone who likes big stages and has already shined in New York. This could be an upset.
Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. Fernando Verdasco (ESP)
Despite it is a re-match of the 2009 semi-final, we should feel happy if we were just to see glimpses of those rallies. Nadal should win easily.
James Duckworth (AUS) vs. Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)
Lleyton Hewitt will live at least one more round if not more as a tennis player as he has the game to beat his compatriot and the will not to let it go yet.
Victoria Azarenka (BLR) vs. Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL)
The favourite for us on the women’s side. Victoria will win easily in straight sets.
Margaret Court Arena
Madison Keys (USA) vs. Zarina Diyas (KAZ)
Madison should be able to win easily, considering how Diyas has the game to let the American play hard and command the rallies. Considering a little bit of rust, Keys should win in two tight sets.
Alexander Zverev (GER) vs. Andy Murray (GBR)
Match of the day on Margaret Court Arena. Zverev is one of the most promising talents in men’s tennis, but Murray should prove to be too consistent yet for the German. Hopefully Zverev will take a set to make the match more thrilling and push the quality as high as hoped.
Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) vs. Jarmila Wolfe (AUS)
Wolfe should manage to take the home advantage and win in three sets.
Shuai Zhang (CHN) vs. Simona Halep (ROU)
Not a tough test for Halep, who proved last week to be back in form. If nothing hurts, Simona should win in two.
Dmitry Tursunov (RUS) vs. Stan Wawrinka (SUI)
A nice test for the 2014 winner in Melbourne, but definitively a test he will pass, if not in three sets in four because of the tension.
Adrian Mannarino (FRA) vs Sam Groth (AUS)
Playing home Groth should be able to use his serve to safely sale into the second round, maybe in four sets.
Kimberly Birrell (AUS) vs Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 
This should be an easy win for Pliskova, who has played well last week in Sydney.
Tammi Patterson (AUS) vs Ana Ivanovic (SRB) 
Ana seemed lost at the start of this season. Lost enough to lose to World No. 459 Patterson? Well, let’s not exaggerate. After all she won a Slam and she is a former world No.1.
Bernard Tomic (AUS)  vs Denis Istomin (UZB)
Tomic has decided to give up in Sydney to make sure he was ready for Melbourne and for his favourable draw. He should start his home campaign with a straight-set win.
Show Court No.2
Milos Raonic (CAN)  vs Lucas Pouille (FRA)
Brisbane winner Raonic should use the confidence he gained beating Federer to win in straight sets spending less than 2 hours on court.
Jelena Jankovic (SRB)  vs Polona Hercog (SLO)
A threat for Jankovic, who tends to be quite inconsistent in majors now. She should still manage to win, but in three sets.
Jerzy Janowicz (POL) vs John Isner (USA) 
Another very interesting matchup. Isner is the favourite, but faces tough competition against the former Wimbledon semi-finalist. Jerzy is yet to play a match this year, which will not help him against Isner. Expect at least two tie-breaks, possibly one set win for Janowicz.
Angelique Kerber (GER)  vs Misaki Doi (JPN)
Kerber should win in straight sets.
Another interesting match will be played on court 8 between Fabio Fognini and Gilles Muller. The Italian should win, but this could be a 5-set tight battle.
Svetlana Kuznetsova Wins First Title Since Return From Surgery In Washington
The two-time grand slam champion has returned back to the winners circle following her six-month absence due to injury.
Former world No.2 Svetlana Kuznetsova saved four match points to defeat Donna Vekic 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-2, in the final of the Citi Open in Washington.
Kuznetsova, 33, fought back against the aggressive play of her opponent. Saving seven out of the 10 break points she faced in the match. Eventually, it was the experience of the Russian that guided her to the finish line as she hit 34 winners to 36 unforced errors to win her first title on the tour since the 2016 Moscow Open.
“It was a difficult week,” Kuznetsova reflected afterwards. “Tennis is always mental, if you lose or if you win, you always gotta stay focused.”
With both players contesting their first final of the season, it was Vekic who battled through what was a roller-coaster and tense opening set. At first, the seventh seed appeared on course to clinch the opener with ease after breaking Kuznetsova in the fourth game as she raced out to a 4-1 lead. Only to be pegged by the 2014 champion. Serving for the set at 5-3, a forehand error rewarded Kuznetsova the chance to break back. Prior to the following point, the Russian complained about the movement of the crowd just as Vekic was about to serve. Then the Croat hit a double fault with the two players exchanging words at the changeover.
Despite feeling hard done by, Vekic soon restored order in the match. As Kuznetsova served for a chance to level 5-5, she pounced one again as the former world No.2 faltered. Recovering from a 15-40 deficit to seal the opening set with the help of a Kuznetsova double fault on set point.
Vekic continued to fight with the help of her of some rapid shock-making. Fending off a break point to nudge ahead 4-3 in the second set. Although Kuznetsova refused to go away. Saving two match points, it was in the tiebreaker where the Russian managed to turn her fortunes around. Vekic missed out on another two chances to win the match, allowing Kuznetsova to nudge ahead 8-7. She was then able to force proceedings into a decider after a Vekic forehand slammed into the net.
Kuznetsova’s resilience eventually wore her opponent down, who was close to tears after the match. Vekic admitted afterwards that she was dealing with leg pain and took a medical time out just before the start of the final set.
A double break in Kuznetsova’s favor in the decider guided her to a 5-0 lead. Enough of a cushion to enable her to close out the match after two-and-a-half hours of play to win her second Washington title.
“I know I’ve been a little bit lucky today,” she said.
“There’s something going on with Washington. I never lose here. I played two times and I won both.”
The victory comes after what has been a testing first half of the year for Kuznetsova. Left wrist surgery forced her to miss six months of the tour. Meaning that she didn’t start the 2018 season until March. Prior to the Citi Open, she had only won four matches in 10 tournaments played. Making her latest triumph even more special.
“Those times I had after the surgery, I had difficulties everywhere — personal, working different things. I switched coaches. I had lots of issues,” Kuznetsova explained. “But still, I rise again, and it’s really good for me.”
As a result of her latest win, Kuznetsova has risen 41 places in 87th in the world. Meanwhile, Vekic has jumped seven places to 37th.
Davis Cup Reforms Face Late Opposition As Vote Looms
The proposed Davis Cup reforms have received strong criticism from Tennis Australia and Tennis Europe ahead of this month’s vote.
The upcoming Davis Cup reform vote has received some strong opposition and criticism from Tennis Australia and Tennis Europe.
The vote is set to take place on the 16th of August, where federations will vote to change the 118 year old format to a one week season finale at the end of the year. The proposed move by Kosmos, has received fierce criticism and will need a two-thirds majority in order for it to be approved.
However with the vote just two weeks away Tennis Australia has been among the federations to oppose these reforms and have pushed this even further as they have wrote a letter expressing their discontent at the idea. The letter has been signed by the likes of John Newcombe, current Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt and Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley.
The letter raises the following concerns, “We have written and spoken to the ITF President for several months now requesting clarity on the proposal from Kosmos, but this has not been forthcoming,” explained the letter, which is even signed by former ITF president Brian Tobin.
“Very large numbers are being referenced, but there is not enough detail to give us confidence this proposal will genuinely deliver enough additional value to players and the nations to offset the loss of home and away camaraderie and all the local marketing, facility investment and player development benefit that comes with those ties. In the absence of such important information, we have no choice other than to vote against the proposed amendments.”
However Tennis Australia isn’t the only federation to be against this move as Tennis Europe, who represent more than 50 member nations have also expressed their concern at the idea, “I am particularly concerned that there is hardly any information received from the ITF regarding bank guarantees for the proposed US$120 million per year which would be the $3 billion deal over 25 years, according to the original proposal,” President Vladimir Dimitriev explained in a separate letter.
“I have not yet seen a final and feasible explanation on how the business model or the governance structure will be either.”
The ITF do have the backing of Germany and France ahead of the move though with the AGM meeting set to take place in Orlando, Florida between the 13th and 16th of August.
Serena Williams Withdraws From Montreal Due To Personal Reasons
Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Coupe Rogers in Montreal next week due to personal reasons.
Former world number one Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Coupe Rogers in Montreal next week as she deals with some personal issues.
The American suffered the worst defeat of her career last week when she lost 6-1 6-0 to Johanna Konta in San Jose. The 23 grand slam champion clearly wasn’t at her best and it now turns out that she had personal problems to deal with as this is the reason for her withdrawal in Montreal next week.
The recent Wimbledon finalist also felt that she could not play Montreal and Cincinnati in back to back weeks as she continues her comeback from pregnancy. The tournament director, Eugene Lapierre, admits that he is disappointed but still recognises the high quality field that is left, “Of course, we are disappointed that Serena will not be joining us, Fans were very much looking forward to seeing her in action,” explained Eugene.
“But beyond the disappointment, the tournament, as a whole, remains a high-level competition. The entire Top 10 is here, along with 22 of the Top 25. There are exciting matches in store from the outset.”
The American was set to play in Canada for the first time since 2015 before withdrawing today. The 23 time grand slam champion has played five events since returning from pregnancy and the results have been mixed as you can see below:
Indian Wells – Third Round
Miami – First Round
Roland Garros – Fourth Round
Wimbledon – Final
San Jose – First Round
Tatjana Maria will now replace Serena Williams in the main draw and the German faces Alize Cornet in the first round.
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