Tennis commentator and former Top 40 player Jill Craybas – whose 18-year pro career included an upset of Serena Williams at 2005 Wimbledon – gives her picks for the Miami Open.
March 18, 2019

Jill Craybas gives advice on who you should pick this week for WTA Fantasy Tennis.

Serena Williams - Indian Wells 2019 - Getty

Serena Williams

 

“Serena Williams is always dangerous; she’s a player you have to throw in the mix wherever she is in the draw. Unfortunately, due to illness she had to retire against Muguruza in the third round at Indian Wells, but that came after a terrific win over Azarenka. I expect her to be back on form in Miami, where she has a great record.”

 

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However, Kvitova hit back to take a dominant second set to level the score (Getty)

Petra Kvitova

 

“It’s a new tournament site, so I’m not quite sure how the courts will play, but they will be faster than Indian Wells and that can only help Petra Kvitova. I think the fact she was out a little early at Indian Wells is going to spur her on a bit. At times in the past she has struggled in the heat, but she did so well in Australia this year and looks fitter than ever.”

 

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Karolina Pliskova (Jimmie48 Photography/WTA)

Karolina Pliskova

 

“Karolina Pliskova made a solid run to the quarters at Indian Wells, which probably gives her a nice amount of time to acclimatize before Miami starts. She’s been playing well this year under coaches Rennae Stubbs and Conchita Martinez, and I believe she will carry that momentum to Miami, where she was a quarterfinalist last year.”

 

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Naomi Osaka's title defence continued along stellar lines with a straight-sets defeat of Danielle Collins (Getty)

Naomi Osaka

 

“Naomi Osaka lost to an in-form Belinda Bencic in the round of 16 at Indian Wells, but I think there was a lot of pressure on her as defending champion and new WTA World No.1. With Indian Wells off her back and a couple of extra weeks under her belt with new coach Jermaine Jenkins, I expect her to be back on form in Miami.”

 

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Outsiders:

 

Kiki Bertens

 

“After a tight loss to Muguruza at Indian Wells, I think Kiki Bertens could perform really well in Miami this year. She’s got a big game, and when she’s ‘on’ she can beat anybody. It’s just a gut feeling, but she won the Cincinnati title last year, which suggests she feels comfortable at these bigger US events.”

 

Madison Keys

 

“Madison struggled a bit at Indian Wells, losing to Mona Barthel in three sets in the second round, but I think that was just a case of tough match-up – it wasn’t a fluke, Barthel played really well. Madison obviously has the weapons to win big titles and I think she can show her best tennis in Miami.” 

 

Ash Barty

 

“Having watched Ash Barty in Australia, where she played so well under home pressure, I just feel she is ready to win a bigger title like Miami. She has always carried herself well, but it seems like mentally she is in a good spot right now, and I think the breakthrough will come sooner rather than later.”

 

Aryna Sabalenka

 

"Aryna Sabalenka has a big game and she seems to thrive on the big stages. She almost beat Angelique Kerber at Indian Wells and if she can harness her power in the key moments she will absolutely be a threat at Miami."

 

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