For the 2nd consecutive Grand Slam, eighteen year old starlet Anna Blinkova has made in through three gruelling qualifying rounds to be rewarded with a 1st round tie against compatriot, Elina Vesnina.
Now ranked 117 on the WTA Tour, Blinkova is starting to establish herself in the women’s game. Binkova who won two hard-court ITF singles titles last season and, began this season by making the 2nd round in her first Grand Slam: the Australian Open.
A few rash shot decisions saw her form blip a little in spring.
A learning curve season so far for Anna Blinkova
This is epitomized by her 1st round exit in the ITF Surbiton Grass court tournament, losing to American Danielle Lao. Blinkova proceed to follow this up with a quarter finals loss to rising Belarussian, Aryna Sabalenka in three sets. This turned out to be a strong, ITF Aegon Manchester Trophy 2017. The way Sabalenka was able to bully on/boss key points, was reminiscent of what Serena Williams used to do to Martina Hingis. Blinkova has evidently done a great deal of soul-searching since that match.
Elina Vesnina v Anna Blinkova head-to-head
World number 18 and unfortunately 17th seeded at this year’s US Open – 2017 BNP Paribas Open Elina Vesnina won the above-mentioned Wimbledon match in three sets, two of them were close. This represents the only meeting between the two Russians.
For the teenager and her camp, the focus will be on second serve points won. Vesnina’s superiority in this sphere – 58% second serve points won against 52%, represents a focus point for Blinkova. Even though her final qualifying round match against America’s Bernard Pera was impressive. The Russian’s second serve percentage was a mere 50% (15/30). This is the key to this match. Should Blinkova be able to up her game and even match Vesnina in this area – a shock is on the cards.
The Potential Match of the US Open 2017, 1st Round
The previous meeting at Wimbledon was high in craft and quality. As matches go this must be up there in terms of the “if I could only watch a few US Open first round matches”. Vesnina, before this season, was predominantly a doubles specialist.
Wimbledon doubles champion with Makarova means she is still at the top of her game in that area. However, since her win in Indian Wells and some good results before that, more focus has been on her singles career. This match is a tantalising old guard against new kid on the block sort of a contest. Vesnina will need to be on her guard.
Shock seekers will have an eye on this match. Blinkova could sneak it, this time.
The match takes place on Tuesday 29th August 2017.