Safarova vs. Serena
|Date & Time||Wednesday January 18, 2017, 9:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Serena Williams and Lucie Safarova meet in the second round of the 2017 Australian Open.
Serena Williams is coming off a straight sets win over Belinda Bencic that took 19 games to decide. In the victory, Serena won 76 percent of her first serve points and 50 percent of her second serve points. Serena looked sharp in her opening round victory, as her serve was on point and she produced four breaks on eight tries. If there’s one concern for Serena is that she did have four double faults and 30 unforced errors, numbers that need to be trimmed moving forward. However, there are positive signs that Serena was able to win a quick match despite a high number of mistakes. Serena passed a big opening round test. Serena has lost before the third round of a grand slam once since 2013. Serena has won seven of her last nine matches on hard court.
Lucie Safarova is coming off a three set win over Yanina Wickmayer that took 29 games to decide. In the victory, Safarova won 74 percent of her first serve points and 50 percent of her second serve points. Safarova was able to grind out a victory despite losing her first set and producing 35 unforced errors. Safarova did have 16 aces, and those free points will be big in this match if she can repeat such a performance. Safarova must get off to a fast start and control her serve every chance she can. Safarova has 23 career wins over top-10 players but none since her 2015 win over Angelique Kerber. Safarova looks for her fifth third round grand slam appearance since 2015. Safarova has split her last eight matches on hard court.
These two have played nine times in the past and Serena has won all nine meetings. The most recent match was in the 2015 French Open, a match Serena won in three sets. Safarova has won four career sets against Serena.
Serena isn’t unbeatable and keeps the window open with those unforced errors. However, head to head matters and Safarova has had little to no success against Serena in nine matches. That goes a long way with both players psyche and a quick start from Serena would simply sink Safarova.
Serena should win another match in straight sets.