Venus vs Muchova US Open tennis live streaming, preview and predictions
Despite a 1-5 record in 2020, is Venus Williams poised to upset 20th seed Karolina Muchova in the first round of the US Open on Tuesday?
Venus Williams vs Karolina Muchova | US Open women's singles R1 | 2/9/2020 12am BST3 sets 11/8 Bet Now! New Customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org.
Venus vs Muchova is live from New York on Wednesday 2 September, 7pm local/12am BST
Venus Williams has suffered first-round defeats at three of the past five Grand Slams, while Muchova has lost once in the first round in the same time span – and recorded her best result at a major so far when she made a surprise quarterfinal at Wimbledon last year.
Two-time US Open champion Williams came back from the shutdown with a remodelled service action – how effective will it prove against the attacking style of Muchova?
Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.
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Venus vs Muchova: Head-to-head
This will be the first meeting between Venus Williams and Karolina Muchova.
Venus vs Muchova: Preview
An intriguing first-round clash pits Venus Williams, veteran of many US Open successes, against the Czech Republic’s Karolina Muchova, who is just beginning to make an impact at Grand Slam level.
Williams’s back-to-back US Open titles came all the way back in 200-1, with her last appearance in the final in 2002, but she made the semifinals in 2007, 2010 and her resurgent 2017 season – and has never lost in the first round in all 21 main-draw appearances.
The American turned 40 during the shutdown and has not looked like a realistic contender for a major title for the past couple of years as she struggled with injuries, often taking the court heavily wrapped in bandages. Before the six-month suspension of competition, Williams was 0-3 in 2020, taking just one set in those three matches (against Coco Gauff at the Australian Open).
And yet Williams might have come back from the shutdown with a new lease of life. She’s certainly come back with a new service motion, streamlined and abbreviated to take the load off her back and arm, and the forehand action looks remodelled too. It got Williams’s first win of the season when she beat Victoria Azarenka 3-6, 2-6 in Lexington (a win that looks more impressive in retrospect when Azarenka went on to win the Western & Southern Open) and saw her push sister Serena all the way before losing 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, a clash that was as good as any they’ve played over the years.
Williams lost 7-5, 2-6, 5-7 to Dayana Yastremska at the Western & Southern Open but she’s keeping things close against top-20 players and will be no pushover for 20th seed Muchova.
The 24-year-old Czech – yet another impressive female player out of that nation – was a bit of a late bloomer but signalled her rise up the rankings when she reached the third round of the US Open in 2018, beating Garbine Muguruza on the way. Her breakthrough season came in 2019 when she won her maiden WTA Tour title in Seoul, finished runner-up to Jil Teichmann in Prague and, most significantly, reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, beating Anett Kontaveit and then Karolina Pliskova 11-13 in the third – significant and impressive wins on grass. Muchova ended the season with back-to-back semifinals in Moscow and Zhuhai and inside the top 30, but back-to-back wins have eluded her so far in 2020.
Muchova beat qualifier Ann Li at the Western & Southern Open last week but fell to Naomi Osaka after winning the first set in a tie-break. She’s an interesting opponent for Williams – an attacking player who will enjoy a fast court and loves coming into the net. I believe this one will go the distance.
Venus vs Muchova: Prediction
Serena Williams could face Coco Gauff at the Western & Southern Open while top US Open contenders warm up in New York.
WTA Cincinnati-New York | Western & Southern Open championCoco Gauff to win 33/1 Bet Now! New Customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org.
We break down the women’s singles draw, analyse the contenders and predict the semifinalists and champion as Serena Williams, Karolina Pliskova and Sofia Kenin lead the field at the Western & Southern Open.
WTA Western & Southern Open Preview
Relocated from Cincinnati to New York, the Western & Southern Open marks the first big tennis event to be played since the sport shut down in early March – and the only opportunity for many of the top players to compete and tune up their games ahead of the forthcoming US Open.
A prestigious Premier-5 event, the Western & Southern Open is taking place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre, home of the US Open, and using its Grandstand Court as centre court.
A significant number of WTA top-10 players based outside the USA bowed out, but the field remains immensely strong. Top four seeds Serena Williams, Karolina Pliskova, Sofia Kenin and Naomi Osaka are joined by Petra Kvitova, Coco Gauff, Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters and defending champion Madison Keys among others. With the WTA’s usual depth exacerbated by the fact that most players have competed little if at all in the past six months, we should expect upsets from the beginning.
WTA Lexington Draw Analysis
Projected quarterfinal by seeding: Karolina Pliskova (1) vs Aryna Sabalenka (5)
World no. 3 Pliskova is the only WTA top-10 player based outside of the USA to be playing Cincinnati-New York, and for good reason – some of the best results of her career have come on American hard courts, including her maiden Grand Slam final appearance at the US Open in 2016 and the Western & Southern Open title the same year.
Playing for the first time since Doha, the Brisbane champion starts against hard-hitting Ajla Tomljanovic, whom she has won five straight matches against, or Veronika Kudermetova, a more dangerous opponent who has had a quietly superb past 18 months before the shutdown. She could meet Elise Mertens, runner-up on clay in Prague last week, in the third round; former US Open semifinalist Anastasija Sevastova, who leads their head-to-head 2-1, is also in this section, but Sevastova is 1-7 in 2020 (before and after the hiatus).
Doha champion Sabalenka lost a tight second-round match with Coco Gauff in Lexington, and is a player to watch this week and next. She’ll open against a qualifier, but must face the winner of a packed mini-section in the third round: 11th seed Alison Riske taking on 2019 French Open semifinalist Amanda Anisimova, with the winner likely to face very in-form Lexington champion Jennifer Brady (Brady was supposed to face wildcard Kim Clijsters, who withdrew).
Predicted semifinalist: Brady (20/1 to win the tournament with Unibet)
Projected quarterfinal by seeding: Naomi Osaka (4) vs Petra Kvitova (6)
With neither Osaka nor Kvitova exactly a model for consistency and both women playing their first tournament since before shutdown, this seems like a recipe for a ‘surprise’ semifinalist.
Osaka could start off against last year’s Wimbledon quarterfinalist Karolina Muchova, who is not a model of consistency herself and who might not find these courts the best fit for her attacking game, although she’s beaten Garbine Muguruza at the US Open before.
Venus Williams meets Dayana Yastremska in an intriguing first-round clash – Williams looked in great form in Lexington where she narrowly lost to Serena, while Yastremska was a quarterfinalist in Palermo on her return from shutdown. The winner will likely face American lefty Bernarda Pera, who showed the benefits of playing World Team Tennis during the hiatus when she pushed Serena Williams hard in Lexington; nevertheless, the winner of Venus-Yastremska should make the quarterfinals.
Kvitova could be in for an all-Czech clash with Marie Bouzkova, who has not long broken into the top 50 after an excellent year or so of results and was a quarterfinalist in Lexington. Match sharpness could see Bouzkova upset Kvitova; the unpredictable Danielle Collins is also in this quarter, but Anett Kontaveit – a quarterfinalist at the Australian Open in January, and runner-up in Palermo two weeks ago – is the player to watch in this section.
Predicted semifinalist: Kontaveit (33/1 @ 888Sport to win the tournament)
Projected quarterfinal by seeding: Johanna Konta (8) vs Serena Williams (3)
Serena Williams looked brilliant in a victory over her elder sister in Lexington – then fell in the next round to Shelby Rogers, showing it’s still very difficult to know what to expect from Serena from one day to the next.
The six-time US Open champion isn’t going to push herself too hard the week before the US Open, but after opening against a qualifier or Alison van Uytvanck, she could face an intriguing third-round encounter with Coco Gauff. The 16-year-old looked great when she made the semifinals in Lexington, and is capable of beating Maria Sakkari and Yulia Putintseva to make a clash with Serena.
Johanna Konta and Marketa Vondrousova both lost their only matches since shutdown in Lexington and Palermo respectively; Konta didn’t look good at the Battle of the Brits, either. Poland’s Magda Linette could possibly take advantage, but this would be a good section for a qualifier to make a run.
Predicted semifinalist: Gauff (33/1 @ Unibet to win the tournament)
Projected quarterfinal by seeding: Madison Keys (7) vs Sofia Kenin (2)
Defending champion Keys will be tested from the beginning as she plays her first match since the Australian Open (!) against either a qualifier or, more likely, the unorthodox Ons Jabeur, who warmed up with a quarterfinal run in Lexington.
Polish teenager Iga Swiatek is in this section, but the first-round match to watch is the clash between Elena Rybakina – who made four finals already in 2020 but hasn’t played since February – and Ekaterina Alexandrova, who beat Rybakina in the Shenzhen final and was also having a great 2020 season before the shutdown (1-2 since). Rybakina is the more promising player but will greater match practice in recent weeks benefit Alexandrova?
Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin will be taking the court for the first time since winning Lyon on indoor hard courts in February, but the American’s counterpunching game should help her ease back into competition and she doesn’t have the worst draw: A first-round bye followed by either tenacious veteran Alize Cornet or wildcard Caty McNally. In the third round, she would face either Donna Vekic, last seen losing to the world no. 156 in Palermo; the slumping Victoria Azarenka; Sloane Stephens, who’s lost her last two matches to the same Canadian teenager; or Caroline Garcia, playing for the first time since February.
Semifinalist: Kenin (6/1 @ 888Sport to win the tournament)
WTA Cincinnati-New York Prediction
Semifinals: Anett Kontaveit d. Jennifer Brady
Coco Gauff d. Sofia Kenin
Final: Gauff d. Kontaveit
The legendary Williams sisters clash for the 31st time in their careers in Lexington on Thursday: How will Venus’s remodelled serve stand up to Serena’s return?
Serena vs Venus is live from Lexington on Thursday 13 August, 12.30pm local/5.30pm BST
Just a few days into the first WTA Tour event to be played on US soil since the sport was abruptly shut down in March and already tennis fans have a genuine superstar clash to enjoy: Serena and Venus Williams, with 30 Grand Slam titles between them in singles alone, facing off for the 31st time.
Top seed Serena narrowly avoided defeat at the hands of world no. 60 Bernarda Pera in the first round while Venus breezed past fellow former world no. 1 Victoria Azarenka in straight sets – the form suggests a win for Venus but her younger sister leads the head-to-head 17-12.
Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.
How to watch Serena vs Venus live
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Serena vs Venus: Head-to-head
Younger sister Serena leads the head-to-head 18-12, with a narrow 11-9 advantage in hard-court matches.
Serena has also won four of the last five matches the pair have played, although encounters have become rare in recent years – only four in the past five years.
Serena vs Venus: Preview
The return of the two most famous women in tennis to competition after a six-month absence was accomplished in contrasting style as Serena and Venus played their first-round matches in the unusually humble surroundings of the Top Seed Open in Lexington, Kentucky, with no fans in the stands.
Serena’s lack of match fitness was glaringly obvious as she dropped the first set to world no. 60 Bernarda Pera, whose sharpness off the ground was ample proof of the benefits of playing World Team Tennis during the WTA hiatus. Pera was on the brink of a famous victory, recovering an early break in the second set before climbing to 0-40 on the Williams serve at 4-4. Serena went into problem-solving mode, adjusting her return position to cut off Pera’s lefty serve wide and raising her intensity to compensate for the lack of atmosphere, and once she had broken Pera to level the match was able to dominate the decider.
Where Serena shone was in saving 11 of the 12 break points she faced in the second set, but six double faults cost her and it was shocking how easily Pera bullied her from the back of the court behind that effective wide delivery for the first set and a half.
Venus, following on court later, faced an on-paper tougher opponent in two-time Grand Slam champion and former world no. 1 Victoria Azarenka – but Azarenka has been a shadow of herself for some time. The same criticism could have been levelled at Venus, currently ranked world no. 67, in recent years but despite turning 40 during the shutdown, the American is by no means ready to hang up her racquets. The most noticeable feature of Venus’s 6-3, 6-2 victory over Azarenka was the remodelled service action she debuted: A lower ball toss and abbreviated takeback, presumably to alleviate the elbow and arm injuries which have blighted the past couple of seasons.
Taking the load off the ageing body might have been the goal, but the result is a streamlined service motion which proved extraordinarily effective against Azarenka, one of the game’s finest returners: Venus faced only one break point, serving at 70% and winning 70% and 61% behind first and second serves respectively.
Recording those numbers against Azarenka, who’s played and lost one match in 2020, is one thing; doing it against Serena is another. It might take the younger sister a set to adjust to Venus’s new service motion, as it took her a set (and a bit) to adjust to Pera, and this could be the first Williams sister clash in six years to go the distance, but Serena can test that new service motion and under pressure it will fail to keep delivering the winners.