CINCINNATI, OH, USA - Things are heating up on the hardcourts at the Western & Southern Open and wtatennis.com contributor Chris Oddo is on hand to preview Day 2's must-see action.
Tuesday, First and Second Round
Key Stat: Vandeweghe is sporting a 4-0 record against the Top 10 in 2016.
Neither player has ever been past the second round in Cincinnati, but that is about to change on Tuesday for either CoCo Vandeweghe or Garbiñe Muguruza as they prepare to square off for the first time in two years. Though Muguruza has had the more storied career, it is Vandeweghe who has taken their previous two meetings, which both occurred in 2014. It's been an excellent year for the 24-year-old American. She has risen to a career-high ranking (No.29 on June 20) and at Wimbledon was seeded at a major for the first time. But Vandeweghe's achievements pale in comparison to those of the Spaniard. Muguruza rolled to the Roland Garros title in June, defeating Serena Williams in the final. Though the 22-year-old has struggled a bit since her shining moment in Paris - going 3-3 in her last six - Muguruza says she feels refreshed and ready to tackle the Cincinnati challenge. "I was happy to live the experience in Rio, and I'm happy to be back," she told reporters on Monday. "Coming here, I'm motivated to have a great tournament because I haven't played a lot of matches. I'm looking forward to it."
Pick: Muguruza in three
Key Stat: Gavrilova has won six straight sets since the beginning of qualifying in Cincinnati.
Making her second appearance at the Western & Southern Open, 22-year-old Daria Gavrilova zoomed into the second round with a 7-5, 6-3 shutdown of France's Caroline Garcia on Monday. The Australian qualifier won 32 of 38 first-serve points and didn't face a break point in winning her 18th match of 2016, and she hopes that having three matches under her belt in Cincinnati will help her when she faces Elina Svitolina on Tuesday. The Ukrainian reached the semifinals last year in Cincinnati, and she's fresh off a quarterfinal appearance at the Olympics that saw her achieve her first victory over World No.1 Serena Williams. With both players in form, expect a hard-fought battle between feisty players, both of whom are eager to push deep into a quality draw.
Pick: Gavrilova in three
Key Stat: Safarova is bidding for her 400th WTA win on Tuesday.
Two tried-and-true veterans will battle for the eighth time on Tuesday, with each hoping to gain some much-needed traction on the hardcourts - and their 400th career win! Safarova, who owns a career record of 399-282, hopes to crack the milestone on Tuesday and make it three consecutive hardcourt wins over Petkovic. Meanwhile, the 28-year-old German could pass the mark by reaching the quarterfinals. Petkovic and Safarova are each hovering around the .500 mark for the season and could badly use a deep run here in Cincinnati to bolster their confidence ahead of the season's final Grand Slam in New York. With the US Open less than two weeks away the time is ripe for making statements. Who will make theirs on Tuesday?
Pick: Safarova in two
Around the grounds...
Nineteen-year-old Daria Kasatkina will make her Cincinnati debut when she takes on lucky loser Tsvetana Pironkova on Court No.10. Kasatkina, who reached the Olympic quarterfinals last week in Rio, is playing with a career-high ranking of 24. Canada's Eugenie Bouchard qualified for the main draw and will open with a tricky encounter against Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic. Bouchard won the pair's first three meetings but Strycova has taken the last two, including a 6-1, 6-0 trouncing in Rome this spring. Strycova is coming off a Bronze medal performance in women's doubles at the Rio Games.