It’s shaping up to be an intriguing contest as the No.43 and 44 ranked players, Catherine Bellis and Alize Cornet respectively meet in the first round of the Bank Of The West Classic in Stanford.
 Catherine Bellis (No.43) vs Alize Cornet (No.44)
Overview: Last year when Catherine Bellis played in Stanford, she needed a wildcard to enter as she was ranked No.203. One year on and the rising teenager is now seeded in Stanford! Bellis started the year at No.73 in Doha after injury but has been steadily climbing up the rankings. The American’s first huge ranking surge of the year came in Dubai where she beat Agnieszka Radwanska enroute to reach the quarterfinals in the Premier 5 event. Onto clay where she was participating in WTA events on the red dirt for the first time, she continued to impress by reaching the quarters of Rabat and the third round of the French Open. In her first ever grass tournament in her whole career, Bellis recorded three solid wins in Mallorca before falling to Julia Goerges in the semifinals. Overall, it has been a very solid season and a year of firsts for Bellis. However, she will be defending a barrage of points for the first time ever as she made a couple of deep runs in ITF events last year; not to forget a third round appearance in the US open as well. It will be interesting to see if she can handle the pressure…
Other than a final run in Brisbane in the first week of the season, Alize Cornet has not won three matches in a row in a WTA event since. Cornet has racked up an uninspiring 12-14 record for the season and she will have to improve her form if she is to prolong her stay in the Top 50 after producing very solid results during the US and Asia hard courts last year. Her best tournament after Brisbane has been Roland Garros – Cornet beat Agnieszka Radwanska enroute to the fourth round but was once again unable to make her debut quarterfinal appearance at a Slam as she lost to fellow countrywoman Caroline Garcia. Cornet is now on a four match losing streak having went 0-3 on the grass and she will be eager to turn her fortunes around.
Stat: This is Cornet’s second appearance in Stanford while Bellis has entered this tournament three times. Cornet amassed a 1-1 record last year while Bellis is even steven too at 2-2.
Thoughts: It’s worth noting that Bellis has been beating players that roughly have the same gamestyle as Cornet – she has beaten the likes of Radwanska, Laura Siegemund, Daria Gavrilova and Timea Bacsinszky this year. Bellis loves playing on home soil and is rarely fazed by the home crowd as shown by her results in the past two years, excelling in the US Open and winning her maiden WTA (125K) title at Honolulu. Cornet is always ready to entangle anyone with her variety and even though I like her gamestyle, I think Bellis will shine in Tuesday’s night session in the Stanford university.