Angelique Kerber  v Naomi Osaka – First Meeting
For someone who impressed so much in her standout year of 2016, 2017 has been a terrible experience in comparison for Angelique Kerber. Perhaps it was the combination of being a defending Slam champion and a World No. 1 that made her struggle to be the target, but no such issues this time as the World No. 1 mantle went a while ago.
She faces the effortless power of Naomi Osaka, but she does have the experience to hold it together while Osaka has not only struggled with injury a little this year, but certainly has the weapons to be a thorn in Kerber’s side. What the German has going for her is that she has the experience to come through tough matches, and in a way it is what she need to regain some of that fragile confidence.
A lot has change since the pair last met. For a start, Karolina Pliskova made her first Slam final, and ascended to the World No. 1 but honestly has been so laid back about it, you would hardly know it was there.
With her run to the final last year, Pliskova showed she had what it takes to be a contender, but still has to back that up with a major. Magda Linette has worked in the past on her serve to make up for maybe a lack of the same sort of power. She plays at a fast pace and looks to attack but holds back from being too risky. She moves well so Pliskova will look to win her points decisively so as not to end up dragged around the court.
Prediction: Pliskova in straight sets.
Elina Svitolina  v Katerina Siniakova – First Meeting
The steady Elina Svitolina faces a potentially tricky opener against the feisty and predictably unpredictable Katerina Siniakova. Although she wears her heart on her sleeve, the Czech has managed to pick up two titles this year, and when she is on it, she can be a lot to handle. She has an aggressive game but she moves well.
Svitolina has impressed for a few years now with her consistent game, although she does have her moments – unravelling in the Roland Garros quarter-final for example. She is also in the running to grab the World No. 1 spot so she needs to be assertive and try to dictate from the baseline, but her speed around the court gives this a good edge.
Prediction: Svitolina in straight sets.
Play begins on Day Two at 11am (4pm BST).
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