Match Preview: Angelique Kerber v Elena Vesnina

This match got the night session out on Stadium 2, which is probably understandable considering some of the other matches on today. Both women came through there second rounds in straight sets but it took them with three sets to get through their third rounds yesterday.

Recent Form

Angelique Kerber didn’t have the most success at the start of the year in Australia as she lost in the quarterfinals of Brisbane, second round of Sydney and fourth round of the Australian Open but that can be put down to the pressure she felt to defend all her points from last year. After another second round loss in Doha, she finally got her season underway as she made the semifinals of the Premier 5 event in Dubai and got wins over Monica Puig and Ana Konjuh, who are two rising stars on tour. Kerber has a 9-5 win-loss record so far this year, which she wouldn’t be to happy about. Elena Vesnina hasn’t had too much success so far this year either as she hasn’t been able to win more then two matches at a tournament, and this is only the third tournament where she has won back to back matches this season. Her best result came in front of her home crowd in St. Petersburg where she reached the quarterfinals. She has a disappointing 8-6 win-loss record for the season so far.

Indian Wells Form

Traditionally, Kerber hasn’t been to consistent at this tournament and has had a mixed bag of results. She has played here eight times since 2008 with her best result coming when she reached the semifinals here in 2012 and 2013 and her worst result coming when she failed to get through qualifying 2009. She has fallen in the second round here every year before now since 2013 so that would have got her down on confidence but she will be feeling good about getting a couple of wins here already. Vesnina has played here nine times since 2006 with her best result coming when she reached the third round in 2009 and 2013 and her worst result coming when she failed to get through qualifying last year. The two years before last she went out second round so, like Kerber, she hasn’t posted good results so far this year and would be happy with the two wins she’s already gotten.

Head to Head Record

These two have played each other four times but haven’t played each since 2013 and they have both come a long way since then with Kerber winning slams and Vesnina entering the top 20. There two hard court meeting were 2013 New Haven in the second round, which Vesnina won 6-2, 6-4, and at the 2012 Hobart International first round, which Kerber won 6-2, 6-4. There other two meetings came on the grass courts at the 2013 Aegon International first round, which Kerber won 3-6, 6-0, 7-5, and at the 2007 Topshelf Open second round, which Kerber won 6-3, 6-3.

My Prediction

Kerber wasn’t playing very well in her last match but I think that that was a blip in her path to the tournament. Vesnina said she felt unwell after her third round match but I think that that will also be behind her when she comes out today. I think Vesnina will be nervous at the start and with Kerber playing well, I don’t think the German will drop a game on the way to a very dominant set. I believe Vesnina will be able to find some feet in the second set and they might exchange a couple of breaks on the way to a breaker. I think it will be a tight tiebreaker but Vesnina will tighten up in the end and Kerber will take the 6-0, 7-6 match.

 

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