Panelists Predictions Australian Open Women’s Day 4–Including Serena/Safarova

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As we finish off the second round of the Australian Open, there will be great matches played all over Melbourne Park. As always, our panelists are here to predict five of the best of them for you. Todays panelists are myself (Yesh Ginsburg), editors Steen Kirby and Sam Barker, and writer Jeff Crady.

Panelists Predictions Australian Open Women’s Day 4

Daria Gavrilova vs Ana Konjuh

Sam:
A first time meeting between these two young stars certainly makes for an intriguing match-up. Gavrilova just about survived the onslaught of big-serving Naomi Broady in round one but may find a second big hitter in Konjuh slightly too hot to handle. The young Croatian barely broke a sweat as she swept past Kristina Mladenovic and she should come through this one as well.
Prediction: Konjuh in 3

Jeff:
Gavrilova enters off a hard fought win over another tall big hitting up and comer in Naomi Broady. Konjuh had a strong first round and seemed terribly confident in press after. I think Konjuh stays powerful and steady and takes the match in three.
Prediction: Konjuh in 3

Yesh:
Konjuh looks in great form and Gavrilova had a lot of trouble in her first-round match against Broady. I think Konjuh can move on easily.
Prediction: Konjuh in 2

Steen:
Two talented youngsters without much to separate them. Gavrilova has more upside, but Konjuh looks fresher.
Prediction: Konjuh in 3

Sara Errani vs Ekaterina Makarova

Sam:
The two met in New Haven last year and the Russian came through that match comfortably. Errani’s form has been really poor over the last twelve months and her ranking has suffered as a result. Makarova’s raw power should make it extremely uncomfortable for Errani, although the Italian has won three of their previous seven meetings.
Prediction: Makarova in 2

Jeff:
Errani has been struggling over the past 18 months. She seems to have lost the magic and touch that took her to two in the world. Makarova has been finding success again, and the lefty has too much power for Errani.
Prediction: Makarova in 2

Yesh:
Sara Errani has more talent than her opponent, but she has been seriously struggling for a long time now. Still, Errani has the talent, which means that she should be able to turn it around at some point. That point could definitely be now.
Prediction: Errani in 3

Steen:
Neither player is in great form but Makarova dominates the hard court H2H between these two. Given the surface, I’ll go with the Russian.
Prediction: Makarova in 3

Naomi Osaka vs Johanna Konta

Sam:
The only loser from this tie is the tennis balls who will take a brutal pounding from two of the worlds most powerful players. Bruising baseline rallies and a flurry of winners will be on display in this mouth-watering, must-see contest. Konta’s exceptional start to 2017 will be enough to see her through her more inexperienced opponent.
Konta in 2

Jeff:
In a match against two of the more exciting power hitters on the WTA, Konta will try and continue to climb the WTA ladder with another impressive Australian Open win. Osaka has the power and the spirit to stay with the British #1, but she will have too many unforced errors.
Prediction: Konta in 2

Yesh:
Konta has been very strong recently and is only getting better and better. Osaka is a future star and probably will win Grand Slam’s some day. I think she makes her first huge statement here.
Prediction: Osaka in 3

Steen:
Konta has a real shot at the title, and despite Osaka having a shot in this one, I don’t see Jo losing focus.
Prediction: Konta in 2

Barbora Strycova vs Andrea Petcovic

Sam:
There was an element of symmetry about the first round appearances of these two as they both came through 6-3 6-2 against lower-ranked opponents. Petkovic has struggled throughout her career with injuries but a change in her training routine this off-season means she looks sharp once again. Strycova’s form should just about have enough to hold off the German though.
Prediction: Strycova in 3

Jeff:
Strycova has had an amazing 18 months and has struck the ball so cleanly and powerfully thus far in Australia. Petkovic provides an opponent with ample power and weapons, but the Czech has been so consistent and fierce, hard to see Petkovic holding her nerves long enough for the win.
Prediction: Strycova in 2

Yesh:
This match should be a tight toss-up between two talented but not always consistent players. I like Petkovic in this match, but I can’t precisely put a finger on why she should win. It should be a great match, though, regardless of the winner.
Prediction: Petkovic in 3

Steen:
Petkovic has beaten Strycova on hard courts, but the Czech is simply in great form right now and I don’t see Petkovic bringing her down.
Prediction: Strycova in 2
Serena Williams vs Lucie Safarova

Sam:
It is never nice coming into a match with a 9-0 losing head-to-head but that is the challenge facing Lucie Safarova. Williams looked extremely comfortable in her first round against Belinda Bencic while Safarova will take huge mental confidence from saving nine set points against Yanina Wickmayer in Round 1. That said, Serena is a totally different proposition and will be a step too far for the Czech.
Prediction: Serena in 2

Jeff:
Serena’s hard draw continues as she faces a slam runner up and former top 10 player in Safarova. Although Safarova’s singles form has been off slightly the last 10 months, she still has great movement, power, and touch to frustrate Serena. However, Serena looked very impressive in beating Bencic, and is motivated to reclaim the #1 ranking and another Slam.
Prediction: Serena in 2

Yesh:
Serena’s difficult draw continues with the very-talented Lucie Safarova. Safarova has never beaten the younger Williams sister, but she is still a much tougher draw that Serena would want in the second round of a Slam. She should be able to get through this match, but it won’t be easy.
Prediction: Serena in 2

Steen:
Serena dominates the H2H and Safarova should be a bit worn down. Look for Serena’s power to break the will of another opponent.
Prediction: Serena in 2
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