Jan 19, 2022

2022 Australian Open Women's Round Two Writeup

Tons of good matchups coming in the next round, and a lot of question marks to be answered in this one for some of the mid-level seeds. I’ll be putting the WTA up first next round to make up for this going up so late.
Barty vs Bronzetti :

Barty will have some tricky matches ahead, but it was more crisp play in her first round against Tsurenko where she surrended only 1 game. Bronzetti managed to edge past Gracheva, who is still kinda struggling to find her range on the court. It’s a huge win for Bronzetti, and a cool opportunity to be center stage. She’ll find Barty’s defense is a bit too overwhelming at this stage, but she should win a few games. Barty in 2.

Martincova vs Giorgi :

Why worry about rust when you can just smoke your in-form opponent. Giorgi outhit Potapova from start to finish and looked extremely good on her backhand wing. It was surprising, and it sets up a high octane contest against Martincova, who was down 5-2 against David and only lost two games from there. Martincova will have a punchers chance here and her power might cause Giorgi errors but Camila moved the ball so well in round one that I think she gets the job done here. Giorgi in 2.

Bencic vs Anisimova :

Bencic and Mladenovic were even until the double faults crept in. Mladenovic has been doing this for so long that she’s created her own dread and once she starts to falter she loses all range. Anisimova’s opponent went ahead and played her best. Hartono didn’t gift anything to the talented American and nearly had the second set won as well. Comebacks have been a theme for Anisimova and while that’s troubling, what’s promising is that when she gets in a good rhythm she’s very hard to beat. Bencic and Anisimova reminds me of a tug of war. Both are going to hang on the baseline and look to pressure their opponent, and I expect it will make for some very short but intense rallies. Bencic is a bit more stable at this point, and I think her movement is a cut above Anisimova. Bencic in 3.

Brengle vs Osaka :

Brengle and Yastremska played a totally normal 6-1, 6-0, 5-0 match. Yastremska retired with a neck issue at 5-0, which is not ideal because of the speculation about her sportsmanship in the past, but seems fine. You can never really tell a player who’s losing to continue if they point to an injury, and as the advancing player you’re happy to get off the court quicker. Brengle’s been on a tear in the past 8 months, with nothing crazy to report but a lot of wins that land her in a stable place on tour. She’ll be Osaka’s first fake-test. A faketest is a player who you cannot beat if your offense is not legit. If you can execute your shots, you win. If you make errors, you lose. I expect Osaka to navigate this, because she has an edge in power and played decent in round one,but it might take more games than she wants. Osaka in 3.

Parrizas-Diaz vs Zanevksa :

Watching Zanevska limp around the court in the second set tiebreaker made me feel bad for Juvan, but also it makes this match impossible to call. She didn’t look to be cramping, so the recovery is unlikely. Even with that injury though, she has the offensive to control rallies against Nuria, who was lucky to get a fellow clay-courter in round. If she’s healthy, Zanevska can win this, but I think we’ll see a withdrawal. Parrizas Diaz in 3.

Pera vs Pegula :

Pegula refused to enter the court in round one, dragging things out until Kalinina finally gave her mistakes. It’s tough to watch, but when your confidence is low it’s hard to do anything but keep it in and hope. It doesn’t bode well for her match with Pera, but Pera is another player who’s likely to make errors if you make her play enough balls. I think the relative comfort of playing another player from the US will give Pegula some breathing room, but this is not a simple win the way Pegula is playing. Pegula in 3.

Kudermetova vs Ruse :

Paolini looked a bit fatigued against Ruse but she’s been hinting at becoming a top player for a whole year now. The clay background can hinder the hardcourt results, and this is a good test of where he ceiling currently is. Kudermetova was clinical in dispatching Liu, and she’ll test every bit of Ruse’s mettle. The olllllll mettle test! Or what am I even talking about. Kudermetova in 2.

Zheng Qinwen vs Sakkari :

Some of the best tennis of the day was in Zheng’s first round match with Sasnovich, so check out some highlights if they’re on Youtube. Sakkari didn’t exactly close things down against Tatjana Maria, and it makes this a winnable match for Zheng. Sakkari can’t possibly lose this match, but that kind of thinking is why the WTA confuses so many people. These players are all incredible, but they all go through slumps as well. Sakkari has not been herself to start the year, and her main problem (in my opinion so maybe not her main problem) is that she tends to be willing to play possum for too long. She’ll allow her opponents to control rallies and look to outlast them, but there’s really no need to as big as she can hit and as fast as she is. Zheng will take this if it’s available, and sadly it might be. Zheng in 2.

Krejcikova vs Wang Xiyu :

Clock’s ticking so I may speed this up a little. Why use lot word when few word do trick. Krejcikova in form = scary. Xiyu Wang = not as scary. Xiyu did well to hang in rallies against Kuzmova and earned errors that didn’t really need to come. Krejcikova won’t give her those, and should wrap this up in 2.

Riske vs Ostapenko :

I am always willing to doubt Ostapenko, but Riske’s stellar play lets me do so easily here. It’ll be a battle of whose offense is more consistent, but I think this is an even matchup currently, and Riske may be the better server. Ostapenko won their only previous matchup, but this is Alison’s best chance to even the score. Riske in 3.

Azarenka vs Teichmann :

Azarenka and Teichmann both won fairly easily, and this is one where I have to like Azarenka to win but I don’t know how the scoreline will look. She’s extremely good at moving the ball, but Teichmann has quietly become one of the better mid-tier defenders on the baseline. It’ll take a long time, and Azarenka will want it to. Quick sets are not your friend when you have small edges, and hers her likely are. Azarenka in 3.

Tan vs Svitolina :

Harmony Tan was so good in round one, but Putintseva never really pushed her behind the baseline. Svitolina and Ferro was a good warmup for Svitolina to win this as well, and there’s a glimmer of hope for her after a very weak start to the year. Svitolina in 3.

Keys vs Cristian :

Madison Keys is still on the same tear that saw her lift a title last week, so it’s hard to go against her until she gives you a reason to. Cristian might be that reason, but it’s still a very big ask for her to not only navigate new territory (2nd round of a major) and also play against one of the biggest hitters on tour running high on confidence. It could explode at any minute for Keys, but she should win this in 2.

Van Uytvanck vs Wang :

I’m a little confused about this line. Van Uytvanck squeaked by Bucsa, and had a lot of shots hit the baseline along the way. This is sharp play, but also is a bit of luck. Wang defeats Gauff, and lands as an underdog to AVU? If Gauff were in this same spot she’d be favored, and while she’s a huge market so she’s often inflated pricewise, there wasn’t a pure gift of a win in round one; Wang played great. I like Wang here, because AVU is generally a bit impatient and Wang hits the ball hard enough to give her trouble if she tries to force things at the net. Wang in 3.

Sorribes Tormo vs Kostyuk :

If you are Kostyuk’s racquet supplier, you tuck a few extra in her bag for this one. Tormo is going to drag this out in magnificent fashion, and Kostyuk’s task is to measure her shots well and utilize several shots to end points. If she does this, she can strategically win without much risk. Fernandez did this against Tormo, and Kostyuk has the power to really unravel Tormo’s defense if she gets inside the baseline. If she’s impatient though, it’ll be a long afternoon. I have faith though. In Tormo. Tormo in 3.

Trevisan vs Badosa :

Great run for Trevisan but this is tough. Badosa might be a little fatigued from last week, but she’s mastered the art of playing exhausted. I do expect some momentum swings since Trevisan moves the ball well, but Badosa should have this in hand. Badosa in 2.

Kontaveit vs Tauson :

Kontaveit was looking like she might go three with Siniakova but some clutch serving came in handy. She remains on fire, and it’s a good time to be since Clara Tauson is a junior player it’ll be good to win against early in her career. Extinguishing hope sounds harsh, but such is the task here. Tauson beat Sharma but not so convincingly that I’d give her a chance here against Kontaveit. Annett in 2.

Konjuh vs Rogers :

Nice finish for Konjuh sets up a tricky spot against Danielle Collins. Konjuh’s a great player and big hitter, but Collins moves the ball really well on her backhhand and Konjuh will have to serve well to keep her from hammering the returns. Dolehide couldn’t, and after a long match against Rogers I somewhat expect Konjuh to be a bit fatigued. Should be close, but Collins in 3.

Mertens vs Begu :

Mertens continues to be a really consistent performer in early rounds, and this sets up a match with Begu that should be tricky but I think won’t be. Begu’s power is great, and she managed to outlast Dodin’s best tennis until errors began to fly. Against Mertens, these won’t come. Mertens is equally not really annoyed if she has to defend, and she’s very skillful in every position Begu won’t have a simple task to hit the ball through her, and her own movement can be challenged at times. It seems strange to expect a peak run to just stop cold, but I think Mertens matches up perfectly against Begu. Mertens in 2.

Zhang Shuai vs Rybakina :

Good win for Zhang in round one. Golubic couldn’t find her offense,and Zhang doesn’t go for too much outside herself so there were no errors to capitalize off of. Rybakina nearly crashed out of this event against Diyas, and will be happy to get here. It didn’t seem to be fatigue that hurt Rybakina, so she should start as a favorite her. Still, that difficult round one bodes poorly against a more consistent opponent. Rybakina in 3.

Halep vs Haddad Maia :

Halep is just Halep’ing all over the place. Halep in 2.

Kovinic vs Raducanu :

Kovinic and Jang had a nice marathon, and Kovinic was the bigger hitter the entire match to great effect. Jang was content to hang behind the baseline and hope for errors, and that’s not going to net you a win on tour. Kovinic hit well, and it’s good to see her playing good ball again, although she was receiving coaching pretty much the entire match with makes me squint a little. Raducanu and Stephens had a lopsided contest, and I’m not gonna lie to you. I fell asleep. Idk how Raducanu played, but her mid level game should beat Kovinic, because Danka doesn’t really play the type of offense that would fold anyone up. Raducanu in 2.

Zidansek vs Watson :

Zidansek won a week ago when she played Heather Watson, and that result is likely to repeat itself. Both these players will be happy to have snuck past their round one opponents, and Zidansek was down 6-3, 2-0 before she woke up and ended up winning in a third set tiebreak. Watson is a server, but Sherif was able to get into a lot of her service games. Zidansek should be more familiar with Watson’s serve here, and should win this in 2.

Cornet vs Muguruza :

Cornet is always going to pressure her opponent and keep the ball in difficult spots. She’s a skill player first but her defending is what really wins her matches. Defending doesn’t usually work against Muguruza though. Muguruza in 2.

Swiatek vs Peterson :

This could be close but probably won’t be. Swiatek was down an early break 3-1 against Dart but quickly ran away with the match to win 6-3, 6-0. If you’re unfamiliar with tennis, or numbers, or darts, winning 11 games in a row is good. Peterson will put up a tougher fight. She beat Sabalenka last week, and hits big on her forehand while being overall stable on the backhand. Swiatek is likely to live and die by the sword here, with her winners being just good enough to outlast the errors. Swiatek in 2.

Linette vs Kasatakina :

Linette has a chance here. Kasatkina is playing great, but Linette is a purely offensive player and Kasatkina isn’t the biggest hitter on tour by any means. Linette does her best work in the first set, so it’ll be important to get off to a quick start. The most likely outcome though, is Kasatkina moves the ball around endlessly and Linette gives up errors. Kasatkina in two close sets.

Cirstea vs Kucova :

Kvitova did not come to play, and went to war instead with the net. Once she got down she just went for instant winners, and it didn’t take long for Cirstea to navigate to another win against the lefty. She gets a good reward here against Kucova, who outlasted Doi in a reversal of their match to open the year. Kucova has a two-handed forehand which is cool, and her consistency gives her a shot in any match against an offensive talent, which Cirstea is. Cirstea should win here though, and as I work through the draw I’m seeing a lot of spots where the underdog could win but I really have a hard time seeing them making it happen. Too many players right now on the WTA are playing well, and matches are generally earned, not given away (so cut it out Sabalenka). Cirstea in 3 because she loves to go 3.

Stosur vs Pavlyuchenkova :

Great win for Stosur and you could see how happy it made her to play in front of her home crowd. Pavlyuchenkova dismissed Bondar and it’s very likely that she does the exact same thing to Stosur. Stosur had too many errors and had Anderson been a bit more offensive she’d have won. Pavs in 2.

Kanepi vs Bouzkova :

Both Kerber and Kanepi played decent tennis in this one but Kanepi was just there at every turn. Everything Kerber created, Kanepi danced over to and hit something slightly better. It looked like her level might fall off eventually but it didn’t, and no one will be happy to see her in their section of the draw. Bouzkova is going to present a similar challenge. Great defending, good ball movement, and Kanepi will win if she can continue the same level of offense. It’ll be a fatigue issue for Kanepi to lose in this section of the draw, and it’s probably not this round. Kanepi in 2.

Baptiste vs Inglis :

Surprised actually to see this open at a pickem. Inglis was incredible against Fernandez. She hit very sharp angles to Fernandez’s forehand with good depth, and served well also. Baptiste, conversely, was mostly out of it against Garcia, down a set and a break, and then Garcia went for a few shots that were too ambitious in the tiebreaker in the second set and never recovered. It’s a constant thing with Garcia that she shoots herself out of matches, and the lack of on-court coaching might be hurting some players more than others. Baptiste is in the best shape I’ve seen her in, which is a great sign for a young player with a ton of pure talent and racquetskill. I think Inglis will turn in fewer errors here, and having just hit through Fernandez I think Baptiste’s defense will be called into question. A great matchup between two young players, but Baptiste coming through qualifying and playing three should see Inglis through. Oddly though, if this were a first round matchup I might like Baptiste, so perhaps the pickem odds make some sense. Inglis in 2.

Voundrousova vs Samsonova :

Bektas allllllllmost pulled off the first set, but Samsonova is a bit more tour-hardened. She has cool biceps also. Just throwing that out there. Voundrousova should win this match, because her defending and ability to move the ball is the one thing Samsonova still struggles with. She’s an excellent server and hits as big as Yastremska/Sabalenka types, but she’s had some injuries and is a bit tall for maximum court coverage to be an option. Vondrousova has more experience, and being a lefty is worth so much on tour. Vondrousova in 2.

Wang vs Sabalenka :

The bottom half of the draw is wide open, because Sabalenka has made it clear she’s not going to change her approach. Nonstop unforced errors had her down a set and a break, but at this juncture Sanders doesn’t hit the ball big enough to put her away. Wang, who had a great win against Ann Li, will have the same exact chance as Storm Sanders. Sabalenka is having serving issues, and those don’t just disappear during an event, because they’re generally a mental issue once they’ve manifested. A double fault might be fine, but Sabalenka’s thoughts are gonna go quickly to the deep dark when one comes naturally. Wang could win this, and I’m feeling Sabalenka is a bit like Bublik at this point where she’s capable of winning any match but we’re never sure if she’ll be 100% committed to that. Wang in 2 or Sabalenka in 3.