Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: 2020 WTA Tour: Top Seed Open

2020 WTA Tour: Top Seed Open

Tennis player holds racquet

The round of 16 takes center stage at Top Seed Tennis Club, Lexington, Kentucky, United States (Outdoor Hardcourts). Damien Kayat previews the respective matchups between Coco Gauff vs Aryna Sabalenka as well as 
Serena Williams vs Venus Williams.
Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

2020 WTA Tour  | Top Seed Tennis Club, Lexington, Kentucky, United States 
Top Seed Open
Selected Quarterfinals

Ons Jabuer (21/20)
vs Coco Gauff (7/10)

Teenage sensation Coco Gauff showed the plucky determination of a seasoned veteran in overcoming Aryna Sabalenka.  She added the World Number 11 to her growing list of illustrious victims: she has beaten both Naomi Osaka and Venus Williams in Grand Slam tennis.  She defied my expectations yesterday (though I picked Serena to win in three against Venus). She served poorly at times but still managed to win in three terrific sets. The 16-year-old (who stole the hearts of millions at last year’s Wimbledon Championships) will be looking to add to the title she won in Linz last year. It will be interesting to see how she bounces back from that emotional roller-coaster against Sabalenka.  These one-day turnarounds require a steeliness that will test her years. Her devastating power will be tested against the formidable Tunisian: Ons Jabeur. 

While not quite as sensational a headliner as a certain Ms Gauff, Ons Jabeur was also trending in an upward trajectory prior to the Covid explosion. She has actually credited mediation for helping her actualize her potential. The 25-year-old Tunisian became the first Arab woman in history to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal (ending the career of former World Number One Caroline Wozniacki in the process).  She then held a match-point against Simona Halep in Dubai, ultimately losing in a pulsating three-set marathon. She then went on to beat Karolina Pliskova in another quarterfinal run at Qatar.  She did have to struggle past the unheralded Govortsova in the last round. But perhaps that will have dusted off some of the competitive cobwebs. Jabeur will not be an easy opponent for the explosive Gauff.  She isn’t just going to exchange monstrous forehands in a virtual tug-of-war. She will utilize an array of slice and drop-shots in trying to unbalance Gauff. 

This will unsurprisingly be the 1st meeting between these two.  Global sentiment will tend to opt for Gauff (especially following that excellent victory against Sabalenka). But I just have the feeling that Jabeur may be an uncomfortable opponent for the American teen. She will disrupt the brutal baseline slugfest that Gauff thrives on. 
Jockeys Ride Horses

Marie Bouzkova (27/20)
vs Jennifer Brady (5/10)

22-year-old Czech Marie Bouzkova would seem to be perfectly suited to North American hardcourts.  She rose to prominence by claiming the 2014 US Open girl’s title. She struggled to gain traction on the professional circuit until a remarkable tournament in Canada last year. She reached the semi-finals of the Rogers Cup, accounting for some massive scalps along the way. She beat Sloane Stephens, Jelena Ostapenko and Simona Halep prior to her semi-final defeat against Serena Williams (a match in which she won the first set). She would also go on to beat Elina Svitolina in Guangzhou last year. She was enjoying a fairly sub-par year until a run to the Monterrey Final in March. That would be the last event she played prior to the Pandemic freeze. She has looked in blistering form this week, accounting for Johanna Konta and the talented Blinkova without dropping a set. Granted, Konta suffered with some cardiac issues during their match. But that shouldn’t distract from the brutal efficiency that this young Czech possesses. 

Brady is a former college star who initially found it difficult to break thorough on the tour. A run to the 4th round of the 2017 Aussie Open was the highlight in a fairly stagnant early career. 2018 saw her concentrate more on doubles than singles- though 2019 saw Brady recapture some form. Perhaps reaching the semi-finals in doubles at the Aussie Open gave her an injection of confidence. She reached the final of the WTA 125K event in Indian Wells prior to semi-final run at Nottingham. But it was just prior to lockdown that she had a breakthrough performance. She reached her first-ever Premier semi-final in Dubai, dismantling the likes of Svitolina and Muguruza on the way. That type of hardcourt form suggests that Brady could very well be a contender this week. 

This will be the first time these two would have met. Neither player has dropped a set thus far, though Bouzkova undoubtedly had the tougher run. Seeing that this one is almost too tight to call, one has to gravitate towards the value. Bouzkova has proved her mettle against elite opposition and her demolition of Konta settles it. The Czech to win.  

Written by Damien Kayat for Hollywoodbets

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