By Ros Satar

  • Venus Williams [6] v Madison Keys [10]
  • Agnieszka Radwanska [4] v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova [16]
  • Simona Halep [5] v Karolina Pliskova[14]
MONTREAL, CANADA – A recently resurgent Venus Williams may meet her match with Madison Keys as we pick three to see on Thursday at the Coupe Rogers.

 

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Venus Williams [6] v Madison Keys [10] – H2H: Williams leads 2-1

After such a run to the Stanford final, and a quick turnaround in Montreal, Williams came out on top of an intense, if not a little perplexing encounter with Barbora Strycova on a windy humid day on court.

That being said, Williams did admit to WTATennis.com that there may be some underlying aches and pains, saying:

“I had issues. I don’t like to really get into, you know, what’s going down. But I had some issues. I definitely do like to serve a lot bigger.

“I hope to be better for the next match.”

This will be food for thought for the Keys, who surely must consider herself as the most natural heiress apparent to the powerful game of the Williams sisters. Keys’ progression this year, including winning Birmingham saw her break the Top 10 this year.

With her own big serving and powerful game, this is going to test a perhaps struggling Williams to the limit. The veteran seven-time Slam champion was able to get away with rolling in serves against a self-destructing Strycova, but Keys is unlikely to be so easy.

Prediction: Keys in three sets.

 

Agnieszka Radwanska [4] v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova [16] – H2H: Radwanska leads 4-2

It had not been the easiest of years for the Russian, who up until Wimbledon had only managed to put together single back to back wins, if at all. Her run to the fourth round of Wimbledon was easily her best performance of the year so far.

It has been a couple of years since the pair have faced each other, and it has been the Pole in control for most of the time, although Pavlyuchenkova did get the better over her in Eastbourne in 2014.

Radwanska came through a potentially tricky match against Monica Niculescu, which turned out to be a veritable game of chess on court. The fourth seed was very much in the driving seat in the first set, before Niculescu made it a far tighter affair in the second, as they traded breaks and finally edged the Romanian out, saving three set points before sprinting to the finish 6-1 7-5.

She can expect some solid serving and powerful groundies to be coming at her, but should weather the storm.

Prediction: Radwanska in two sets.

 

Simona Halep [5]  v Karolina Pliskova[14]

Halep is suddenly looking to walk the walk. After winning her home tournament in Bucharest she is back for the hard court summer, and perhaps without having to worry now about the Olympics, it is freeing her up to play all-out tennis.

The gritty scrambler faces the tour’s current acing machine Pliskova who will have to take comfort from the fact that she only snapped her three-match losing streak against the Romanian this year at Fed Cup but their matches have always been tight.

Halep serves well, and hits hard and flat, and together with her speed should fancy her chances of at least getting on the end of some of the Pliskova serves. She will look to move the Czech around more – at times a weakness for the 14th seed.

Right now, on a seven match winning spree, you would have to pick Halep to advance but this could be a real scrap if Pliskova brings her A-game.

Prediction: Halep in three sets.

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