Australian Open Women’s Preview: Serena, Kerber Not Sharp
by Staff | January 13th, 2017, 7:17 pm
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The top women on tour aren’t exactly entering Melbourne playing scintillating tennis in 2017.


World No. 1 Angie Kerber has a 1-2 win-loss record on the season. Serena Williams is 1-1.

Serena by reaching the final could regain the No. 1 ranking.

A giant title could be up for grabs for a first-time Slam winner in January. Here’s a look at the women’s field of the 2017 Australian Open:

TOP QUARTER

Top 4 Seeds: (1) Angie Kerber, (7) Garbine Muguruza, (10) Carla Suarez Navarro, (15) Roberta Vinci

Floaters: CoCo Vandeweghe, (23) Daria Kasatkina

Notes: A very light section of the draw for Kerber to work her way into the tournament…Kerber starts against Lesia Tsurennko, who may be ill, then possibly a qualifier…Few floaters, but (15) Vinci will have her hands full against the big-hitting Vandeweghe in the first round…Kerber looking at the rising Kasatkina in the 4th round…”Obviously I’m nervous, I mean it’s the first Grand Slam of the year,” Muguruza said. “I wanna do it so well, so I have to be calm sometimes. So hopefully I won’t get crazy.”…Coming out of this quarter could be a yawner for Kerber.

2ND QUARTER

Top 4 Seeds: (4) Simona Halep, (8) Svetlana Kuznetsova, (11) Elina Svitolina, (13) Venus Williams

Floaters: Shelby Rogers, Jelena Jankovic

Notes: (4) Simona Halep with little match experience under her belt against Rogers, who likes to turn an upset…(26) Laura Siegemund starts against the former No. 1 Jankovic…Another dud quarter containing three wildcards and five qualifiers…If Halep beats Rogers she could easily work her way our of the quarter and be a formidable semifinals opponent.

3RD QUARTER

Top 4 Seeds: (3) Aggie Radwanska, (5) Karolina Pliskova, (12) Timea Bacsinszky, (14) Elena Vesnina

Floaters: Camila Giorgi, Heather Watson, Tsevtana Pironkova

Notes: Tough starts for (12) Bacsinszky vs. Giorgi, (18) Stosur who never kicks it in Australia vs. Watson, and Radwanska vs. the fast-court Pironkova…Lots of landmines for Radwanska, so this quarter is the hot-handed Pliskova’s for the taking.

“It was definitely from both sides, and there’s always something even behind the tennis,” Pliskov said of recently dumping her coach and former player Jiri Vanek under the bus, and picking up new coach David Kotyza. “You’re traveling the whole year together, so it’s not only about tennis or success. I believe that I’m good enough of a player that it’s not about the coach that much, but we will see with David. I’m excited to make the change. I think he can help and push me in other ways, which Jiri couldn’t. It was just two and a half years with him, so it was time for a change.”

4TH QUARTER

Top 4 Seeds: (2) Serena Williams, (6) Dominika Cibulkova, (9) Johanna Konta, (16) Barbora Strycova

Floaters: Kirsten Flipkens, Andrea Petkovic, Belinda Bencic

Notes: Now we’re talking…Serena starts against a player who beat her last year on hardcourt, Belinda Bencic…(9) Konta is playing well, but starts against Flipkens, who has sliced- and diced-up many a seeded player….Petkovic starts against wild card Kayla Day, then will meet (16) Strycova…Serena vs. Konta to see who exits this quarter?

Who are your picks to come out of the quarters?

 


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