Match Preview: Magdalena Rybarikova v Sachia Vickery

It is quarterfinals day today at the Monterrey Open and there is an exciting line-up of matches with my most anticipated being played first on Estadio GNP Seguros between second seed Magdalena Rybarikova and seventh seed Sachia Vickery. The favourite to make it the semifinals is the higher ranked Rybarikova but only by the smallest of margins so there is a lot of uncertainty.

Recent Form

This year has been underwhelming thus far for Magdalena Rybarikova because, after such a successful 2017, she has only managed to get back to back wins at one event. She started the year at the Sydney International and she went out in the first round to Catherine Bellis. At the Australian Open, she was able to have a reasonably successful run to the fourth round before going out the eventual champion Caroline Wozniacki. In Fed Cup, she helped Slovakia to a win over Russia with a win over Anna Kalinskaya but somewhere between then and her next event she got injured as she pulled out in the second round of the Qatar Total Open with a hip injury midway through the third set of her second-round match with Monica Niculescu. Her Sunshine Double was quite unfortunate as she fell to Sofya Zhuk in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open and then Monica Niculescu in the second round of the Miami Open. So far in Monterrey, she got a 6-4, 6-3 win over Risa Ozaki in the first round and a 7-5, 6-2 win over Jana Fett in the second round. Sachia Vickery has had some good results of late for a player of her lower rank and she has been building up some momentum. Straight after the Australian swing, she played three ITF events and in one of them in Rancho Sante Fe, she made the semifinals with a win over Misaki Doi before falling to Asia Muhammed. She then played a 125k event but fell in the first round to Sofia Kenin after winning just five games. She managed to bounce back quickly seeing that she had a great run at the BNP Paribas Open as she made the third round as a qualifier before falling to eventual champion Naomi Osaka. She was not able to follow that form through to the Miami Open however as she went out to Roberta Vinci in the first qualifying round. So far this week, she has got a 6-1, 6-4 first round win over Irina Falconi and a 6-3, 6-3 win over Ana Maria Sanchez in the second round. I have to give the edge in terms of confidence to Vickery because she has just got the wins while Rybarikova has not.

Monterrey Record

This is a staple on the calendar of Magdalena Rybarikova as she has come to this event five times in her career with her average result being the quarterfinals, which is good at any event. Her best result here was back on her debut in 2008 when she was just nineteen years old and she made a run to the final with wins over Vania King and Yanina Wickmayer before falling to Yaroslava Shvedova. Her worst result came in her most recent appearance in Monterrey in 2016 when she fell in the first round to Sara Errani. On the other hand, Sachia Vickery has played here three times before but before this year had failed to play a match in the main draw. Her best result here is the final round of qualifying and she reached that stage in 2014 when she lost to Luksika Kumkhum. Her worst result is the qualifying first round and she has fallen at that stage both other times she has played on her debut in 2013 to Jovana Jaksic and then again in 2015 to Timea Babos. I have to give the edge in this section to Rybarikova because she has competed in the championship match here while Vickery had failed to play in the main draw here before this year.

Head to Head Record

Magdalena Rybarikova and Sachia Vickery have never played each other in a WTA main draw match.

My Prediction

This is a very interesting match-up because both women can be very crafty when needed by Sachia Vickery also has that added play of power but the thing that could trouble her is that Magdalena Rybarikova can handle power well and she will be better in the slicing and dicing game as well. Most people struggle to get any rhythm of Rybarikova at any time and I think that will be a prevalent factor early on in this match because Vickery has never even played Rybarikova before so she will be lost for a time. I think that will give the second seed the opportunity to rush out to an early lead which she will take and I think that Vickery will have to fight to get a game in as the 6-1 set goes by. I think it will be a more stable start from Vickery in the second set as she will start getting some free points off her first serve and get some solid holds to start the set. However, as the set goes on I think Rybarikova will keep adding frequent drop shots and keep Vickery moving, which will eventually force the American to overpress out of frustration and give Rybarikova a break which is all she will need to finish the 6-1, 6-3 match and book her spot in the Monterrey semifinals.

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