For the third time, Serena Williams faces Russia’s Margarita Gasparyan at a Grand Slam: Will the American maintain dominance at…
For the third time, Serena Williams faces Russia’s Margarita Gasparyan at a Grand Slam: Will the American maintain dominance at the US Open?
Serena Williams vs Margarita Gasparyan | US Open women's singles R2 | 3/9/2020Under 17.5 games 2.43 Bet Now! New Customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org.
Serena vs Gasparyan is live from New York on Thursday 3 September, time TBC
Serena Williams’s 7-5, 6-3 victory over Kristie Ahn on Tuesday did more than start her campaign for a seventh US Open title: It was also her 102nd singles win at the US Open, breaking her tie with Chris Evert and securing the record for most US Open singles match wins in history.
That’s not the record that Williams is in New York to chase, however, and her focus will be firmly on a second-round clash with Russia’s Margarita Gasparyan, who has lost both their previous encounters in one-sided straight sets – but nothing can be taken for granted with Serena these days.
Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.
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Serena vs Gasparyan: Head-to-head
Williams leads the head-to-head with Gasparyan 2-0, having beaten her 6-4, 6-1 in the first round of Wimbledon in 2015 and 6-2, 6-1 in the fourth round of the Australian Open in 2016.
Serena vs Gasparyan: Preview
Williams has never really come close to dropping a set to Gasparyan: Will she be able to maintain that dominance at the US Open in 2020?
As we all know, things have been up and down for Williams in 2020, even before the six-month suspension: She won the Auckland title for the loss of one set, but went out in the third round of the Australian Open to Wang Qiang in a mass of errors; before the US Open, all five of the matches she had played since returning from hiatus had gone the distance, with Williams losing to Shelby Rogers in Lexington and Maria Sakkari in ‘Cincinnati’ after winning the first set.
Williams snapped that streak when she beat Kristie Ahn 7-5, 6-3 in the first round of the US Open on Tuesday, a reasonably solid win which saw her recover early breaks in both sets. The third seed served 13 aces and lost just six of 39 points played behind her first serve, but she lost the majority of points played on her second serve, ending the match with 28 winners to 24 unforced errors.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion’s record in early-round matches at majors is as extraordinary as it would have to be – she’s only lost two of the 73 second-round Grand Slam matches she’s played, although she’s dropped sets in three of the eight she’s played since returning from maternity leave, including two of the last three.
Russia’s Gasparyan has not been a troublesome opponent for Williams in the past, getting five games in their first meeting and three in the second. Both matches came before Williams went on maternity leave, but they also came during the first phase of Gasparyan’s career when she reached a career-high ranking of world no. 41 in 2016 after reaching the last 16 at the Australian Open.
Gasparyan injured herself at Wimbledon that July, and played just one match in 2017 before returning to competition in April 2018 ranked outside the top 1,000. It was incredible to see Gasparyan finish 2018 up to world no. 105, and she worked her way up to world no. 56 in 2019, but she has dropped back outside the top 100 in 2020 and came into the US Open on a six-match losing streak, having lost to Jamie Loeb in Lexington and Shelby Rogers in Cincinnati.
The Russian broke that streak when she beat Monica Puig 6-3, 6-7(0), 6-0 in the first round to set up her clash with Williams, but it’s not one which I can see her winning. Gasparyan has a beautiful one-handed backhand, and she’s beaten top-10 players before (Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens), but the kind of first-strike contest Williams will make of it doesn’t suit her. Their previous matches have seen Williams win by seven and nine games respectively; a similar one-sided scoreline seems likely on Thursday.