Despite a 1-5 record in 2020, is Venus Williams poised to upset 20th seed Karolina Muchova in the first round…
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.