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PREVIEW: Cincinnati Masters – Selected Round of 64 and Round of 32 Matches

Damien Kayat previews the WTA 1000 Cincinnati Masters Round of 64 and 32 matches between Serena Williams and Emma Radacanu as well as Elena Rybakina vs Garbine Muguruza on 17 August 2022.

Serena Williams - US Open Preview

Damien Kayat previews the WTA 1000 Cincinnati Masters Round of 64 and 32 matches between Serena Williams and Emma Radacanu as well as Elena Rybakina vs Garbine Muguruza on 17 August 2022.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

2022 ATP Tour
WTA 1000
Cincinnati Masters
Lindner Family Tennis Centre (Outdoor Hardcourt)
Selected Round of 64 and Round of 32 Matches- 17 August

Round of 64

Serena Williams (23/20) vs Emma Radacanu (10) (68/100)

This is a classic case of generations colliding in the opening round of this year’s Cincinnati Open.

40-year-old Serena Williams will take on 19-year-old Brit prodigy in a real blockbuster opening encounter. Fans were actually left supremely frustrated after the game was postponed on Monday.

This may very well be Serena’s penultimate tournament as she recently gave her biggest allusion to impending retirement. The two-time Cincinnati champ has played just three times this year, winning just once at last week’s Canadian Open.

Belinda Bencic easily dispatched of her in the 2nd round but at least Williams got a little bit of on-court feeling back.

She is obviously hoping to build some momentum this week as she launches one more assault on Margaret Court’s all-time Grand Slam record in New York.

One thing that she desperately needs to improve is her movement. She looked completely static against Bencic and she will need that to change.

19-year-old Emma Radacanu is entering a massive portion of her season. She only recently broke into the world’s top ten.

But many of those points will be contingent on how she fares in defending her title in New York. And things haven’t being looking too good for the Brit. She hasn’t even reached a semi-final since winning her maiden Slam.

She has battled with injuries, having to withdraw from three events this year. Her ‘shock’ first-round defeat to Giorgi in Canada took her season win-loss record to a woeful 11-14. She hasn’t just battled with injury this year.

There have also been multiple upheavals in her coaching staff. She has also been accused of embracing the socialite aspect of becoming tennis’ hottest new commodity a bit too readily.

I feel for Radacanu. There is a huge swathe of the British sporting fraternity that just seems desperate for her to fall on her face.

This match represents a real opportunity for her to make a statement win.

The Verdict: Williams to win in three at 42/10- It’s unsurprising to learn that this will be the first encounter between these two.

Radacanu will be looking towards her natural athleticism to give her the edge over the somewhat inert Williams. Williams will be banking on a strong serving performance and cutting out the unforced errors from the back of the court.

I think she could triumph against a Radacanu who is scraping the barrel of confidence at present.

Round of 32

Elena Rybakina (2/5) vs Garbine Muguruza (8) (7/4)

What a bizarre year it has been for 23-year-old Kazakh Elena Rybakina.

She started it in brilliant fashion, reaching the final of the Adelaide Invitational. But she then went on an absolutely disastrous run, reaching just one quarterfinal in her next 13 tournaments.

The big-serving Kazakh was just leaking unforced errors during that spell. But then her schizophrenic season veered into the realm of fairy-tale, as the Kazakh remarkably won her maiden Grand Slam title at SW19.

She was incredible at Wimbledon, beating the likes of Andreescu, Halep and Jabeur en route to her title. But her performance took another dip in the immediate aftermath of her Wimbledon victory.

She is 2-2 since Wimbledon. She crashed out of the first-round in San Jose before a titanic 2nd round loss to Gauff in Canada. It’s not as if she has been obliterated since Wimbledon.

She just thrashed Sherif in a dominant first-round performance that showcased all of her hardcourt prowess. She desperately needs another deep tournament run to kickstart her North American hardcourt swing.

WTA Finals champion Garbine Muguruza must have been thinking that 2022 could be a real strong year following three titles last season. But things have been borderline disastrous for the two-time Grand Slam champion.

In 13 tournaments played this year, the Spaniard has made the quarterfinal stage on only two occasions. That’s pretty shocking for a player of her undeniable pedigree (Muguruza won this very event in 2016).

Muguruza’s eternal service issues have come back to haunt her this year. She just serves too many double faults at this moment in time. She also tends to get defensive on her 2nd serve and you can expect the ultra-aggressive Rybakina to be all over that.

The Verdict: Rybakina to win in straight sets at 1/1- This will be their 3rd career meeting. Muguruza won their only hardcourt meeting at last year’s Olympics in Japan.

I just think that Muguruza looks shot for confidence at the minute: she is currently 9-13 for the year.

Granted, she does possess an improved 6-6 record on hard surfaces. But Rybakina traditionally players her best tennis on hard surfaces and she looked excellent in defeat against Gauff last week.

I think Rybakina will be pouncing on any weakness from the Spaniard’s serve this week.

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