Round three action at the Volvo Car Open in Charleston will commence today… by the way, like me, if you’ve been having trouble keeping up with the tournament, check out Ace Tennis Extra Youtube channel here where they have been posting a bunch of 10-minute highlight videos from the tournament. The line-up for the round of 16 is SPECTACULAR, so read on for three match previews for Garcia vs Cornet, Goerges vs Osaka and Sevastova vs Barty…
1.  Caroline Garcia [No.7] vs  Alize Cornet (No.37)
One year on from the French Fed Cup drama, Garcia and Cornet have already met each other on the tour thrice, with Garcia coming up trumps in two of their encounters in the French Open and Beijing. Their last meeting was in Brisbane where Garcia retired when they each had a set due to a back injury.
Garcia’s tennis this year has been mostly up and down and there have definitely been more downs than ups. She lost to World No.104 Alison Riske in Miami in a 3-6 1-6 scoreline, but has rebounded decently here with a 6-3 6-2 victory over Varvara Lepchenko. Garcia was firing on all cylinders in a punishing display of aggressive tennis.
Much like Garcia, Cornet hasn’t had much success this year but she’s won back-to-back matches for the first time since Brisbane. When she’s on, you know that the clay swing is here! It was a typical Cornet display on clay in her first two wins against Kateryna Bondarenko and Polona Hercog, where her topspin forehand and quick movement around the court gave a lot of problems for her opponent.
Thoughts: Playing Garcia of late has been a tough task for Cornet considering she doesn’t have enough power and a real weapon to contend with Garcia’s powerful groundstrokes. A decent enough level from Garcia should be able to get the job done but on clay, I expect this to be a little tighter than their past two completed matches. Garcia in two tight sets for me.
Final Prediction: Caroline Garcia d. Alize Cornet in two sets
2.  Julia Goerges (No.13) vs  Naomi Osaka (No.21)
As they always say, this match is definitely going to be one of those ‘helmets at the ready’ encounters with two booming baseline hitters with relentless power and aggression. After a brilliant start to the year which saw her capture the International title in Auckland, Goerges’ season has somewhat turned pear shaped after a second round loss to Cornet in the Australian Open. Goerges suffered from injury in Doha and thus wasn’t able to perform her best in Indian Wells and Miami, thus a win over Kristie Ahn here would have done a world of good for the German. Goerges was 4-0 up in the third set vs Ahn and although the latter came back with five games on the trot, the No.5 seed managed to get the win in a solid deciding tiebreak.
The Osaka train continues to roll on and now she has won her last ten of 11 matches with a 6-4 7-6(8) victory over the returning-from-injury Laura Siegemund. Osaka needed to save four set points in that second set and deal with Siegemund’s endless drop shots, but was super impressive in closing out with an ace. It sounded like a huge treat and I’m definitely going to watch the highlights!
Thoughts: According to form, Osaka wins this, but it’s never going to be that easy to predict a match! Goerges’ mental toughness and ability to win the big points has been a key factor of her success in the latter part of 2017 and a huge and clutch win against Ahn would have definitely raised Goerges’ confidence. I’m still going for Osaka though because she has been so, so impressive this month.
Final Prediction: Naomi Osaka d. Goerges in three sets
3.  Anastasija Sevastova (No.16) vs  Ashleigh Barty (No.18)
I can’t believe this match is on the second court – well it just goes to show how brilliant is the round of 16 field in Charleston! Sevastova and Barty are both very smart out there on the court and possess beautiful gamestyles. Sevastova needed three sets to oust the in-form 19-year-old Caroline Dolehide, 7-5 6-7(5) 6-1. Even the World No.1 Halep had problems dealing with Dolehide’s game so I’m pretty impressed with how Sevastova managed to edge the match with a 6-1 scoreline in the third. Another match which I’m going to check out the highlights!
Barty also needed three sets to fend off the slice and dicing game of Tatjana Maria, 4-6 6-3 6-2. It seems like Barty did a really great job of making adjustments and dealing with Maria’s game in the second and third sets. Barty hasn’t really performed her best tennis since the Australian swing and now on her least favoured surface of clay, every win is going to be important for the No.9 seed.
Thoughts: Sevastova is the much better player on clay but Barty’s one of the best at making adjustments to her game to deal with her opponents. Should be a fun one and a close match, but I’ll stick with the Latvian for the win.
Final Prediction: Anastasija Sevastova d. Ashleigh Barty in three sets
Charleston predictions can be found at the top of the page or by clicking the link here! Thank you for reading!