Panelists Predictions US Open Women’s Day 2–Including Osaka/Kerber

It’s the second day of the US Open, and there are 32 more first-round matches on the day. Our panelists are here to predict the best five of them, including defending champion Angelique Kerber attempting to stave off an upset, and recent NCAA champion Brienne Minor’s Grand Slam debut (and I think much more highly of Minor’s chances than any of our panelists seem to). Today’s panelists are editor Steen Kirby, along with writers Pablo Mosquera and David Adair.

Panelists Predictions US Open Women’s Day 2

Sabine Lisicki vs Shuai Zhang

Pablo:
At her best, the big-hitting German could do damage in New York. However, injuries have limited her to seven official matches in 2017. Despite being seeded, Zhang is not enjoying a brilliant campaign either, as she’s only amassed 12 wins in 18 WTA level events. Lisicki needs the points to climb back up in the rankings.
Prediction: Lisicki in 3

David:
The enigmatic German, Sabine Lisicki has not been seen since Washington, her only hard court tournament this season. Here she secured two steady victories including a round of 16 victory over powerful Belorussian, Aryna Sabalenka – before succumbing to the talented French girl, Oceane Dodin. A year-to date 71% first serve points won shows that this former (2013) Winbledon runner up, still has that punch-packing ability built around a strong first serve. She just needs some luck with the draw and deeper tournament runs aren’t far off.
Lisicki may just have had that luck with the draw here. 27th seed, Shuai Zhang comes into this match off the back of a good run to the quarterfinals in New Haven. However, Zhang had to withdraw due to injury and never struck a ball against Elise Mertens, a suspected right arm injury. Lisicki will surely be peppering Zhang’s right hand side with shots to expose any weaknesses/frailty. Therefore, the percentage call is for a Lisicki victory in a close match.
Prediction: Lisicki in 3

Steen:
Both players are in middling form. Lisicki’s power probably gives her a slight edge.
Prediction: Lisicki in 3
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Ons Jabeur vs Brienne Minor

Pablo:
The crafty Tunisian, who has recently broken into the top 100, is heavily favored against the reigning NCAA champion. The University of Michigan rising junior doesn’t even have WTA points. Barring collapse, this matchup should be a gimme.
Prediction: Jabeur in 2

David:
Ons Jabeur put together some good hard court performances earlier on in the season, but has struggled since. She has not made many inroads into the main section of draws since the Grass Court tournament in Mallorca in May.
NCAA Champion Brienne Minor will want to make impression in her home country’s Grand Slam, but has struggled recently to get through the qualifiers for tournaments. This could be an edgy affair and closer than many may expect.
Prediction: Jabeur in 3

Steen:
Minor is a highly accomplished college player and has an outside shot since Jabeur hasn’t played in five weeks. Jabeur is higher ranked for a reason though.
Prediction: Jabeur in 2
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Anett Kontaveit vs Lucie Safarova

Pablo:
As great as she’s been in 2017, Kontaveit has not won a match in over 40 days. On the other side of the net, the veteran Czech is no longer a threat to win big titles in singles, but could cause an upset or two.
Prediction: Safarova in 3

David:
Kontaveit has not managed a win on hard courts this season and, this is not the first round tie she would have wanted.
The Sloane Stephens curse has twice caught hold of Safarova on the American hard court stretch (Cincinnatti and Canadian Masters), but Safarova has beaten Cibulkova in the latter tournament. The Czech should be too sharp for her opponent in this one.
Prediction: Safarova in 2

Steen:
Safarova’s form is much better and she should win this match on hard courts.
Prediction: Safarova in 2
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Elena Vesnina vs Anna Blinkova

Pablo:
This is a rematch of a thrilling three-setter at Wimbledon. The 18-year-old Russian is on the rise, whereas Vesnina has not impressed anyone ever since her unbelievable title run at Indian Wells. Upset alert on.
Prediction: Blinkova in 2

David:
I have already done a full preview on this match, as it is one of the top matches of the first round for me. Vesnina had a spectacular victory in Indian Wells earlier in the season, but Blinkova has been working hard on the ITF circuit most of the season and already has a second round Slam appearance under her belt (Australian Open). Blinkova is only 18 and has a bright future, she can underline her potential here and sneak a close match.
Prediction: Blinkova in 3

Steen:
Vesnina has a h2h win at Wimbledon. Her form isn’t great, but experience is a virtue.
Prediction: Vesnina in 3
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Naomi Osaka vs Angelique Kerber

Pablo:
After a dismal first half of the 2017 campaign, it seems like Osaka found her form in Toronto. Kerber has been too volatile this year as well, so a title defense looks far-fetched. The defending champion is prone to suffering in the early rounds of slams.
Prediction: Osaka in 3

David:
Osaka was involved in one of the best matches at the US Open last year. She was on the wrong end of a spectacular comeback in her 3rd round match against Madison Keys last year. This year she draws the defending champion in the first round, but Osaka who has struggled with injury this year may just be coming to the boil and can pinch this.
Prediction: Osaka in3

Steen:
Kerber is in terrible form and is ripe to be upset. Look for Osaka to hand her a third straight loss.
Prediction: Osaka in 2

Main Photo:
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