The WTA Brisbane International 2020 continues with its first round matches on Tuesday, January 7 with Maria Sharapova kick-starting her season. Get the latest Madison Keys v Marie Bouzkova & Maria Sharapova v Jennifer Brady tips, previews and live streams below among other matches.
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Madison Keys v Marie Bouzkova Predictions & Preview
This will be the first time that the world number 14 Madison Keys will be facing Marie Bouzkova, starting off her new season with what should be a fairly straightforward opener.
Keys, who reached a career-high of world number seven at one stage, had a fairly reasonable 2019 campaign and went on to clinch two WTA titles as well. The first came at Charleston on clay but the bigger one was in Cincinnati, where she won against Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep, Venus Williams and Sofia Kenin before edging past Svetlana Kuznetsova to lift the trophy.
That was followed by a fourth round presence at the US Open before bit of a tapering off of her form. She played in a couple of matches at the WTA Elite Trophy, winning and losing one before pulling out.
Bouzkova has had to qualify for the main draw, winning three matches in a row. Ranked 57th in the world, she will be hoping to continue with her good form on hard court surfaces where she won 32 of her 49 matches last year. Her best showing came at the Rogers Cup where she made the semifinal last year after qualifying for the event, before she lost to Serena Williams.
Trust her to give Keys bit of a fight here.
Tip: Keys to win in three sets: 3/1 (Click here to get these odds with Unibet)
Maria Sharapova v Jennifer Brady Predictions & Preview
Maria Sharapova’s only previous match against USA’s Jennifer Brady came at the San Jose Open in 2017 and the Russian won it in three sets. This time around, Sharapova returns to the venue where she had won the title in 2015, and more than a repeat of that encounter, will hope to take it one win at a time.
With injuries having pushed her back majorly, Sharapova will be happy with the workout she got in her only pre-season match against Ajla Tomljanovic. She won it in straight sets but spent enough time on court to test out her match fitness and things looked fine.
On the other hand, Brady is a qualifier, who made it to the main draw without dropping a set. Ranked 55th in the world, it’s her career-best, founded on the basis of her semifinal at the Nottingham Open and a few other quarterfinals. She will know she has a chance against Sharapova but will need to be at her best to test out her Russian opponent. Expect over 20 games in this one.
Tip: More than 20.5 games in the match: 10/11 (Click here to get these odds with Unibet)
Sloane Stephens v Liudmila Samsonova Predictions & Preview
Here’s another USA-Russia battle and it will see Sloane Stephens take on Liudmila Samsonova for the first time in their careers. The 2017 US Open champion Stephens enters the tournament after a definite tapering off of her form in 2019 where she won just 24 and lost 19 of her matches.
This included a shocking 10-13 win-loss record on hard courts, a surface she won her Grand Slam title on. Since her third round exit at Wimbledon last season, Stephens lost in the opening round of tournaments on four separate occasions and won two matches in a row just once. She has a lot to do going into this tournament.
21-year-old Samsonova surprised Kristina Mladenovic in one of her qualifying rounds to make it to the main draw. That would be a relief for the Russian after the kind of season she had last year where she made the final of just one tournament at the lower circuit, losing that in Poitiers. One could back her to surprise the erratic Stephens but would she be able to beat the American? Sounds tough.
Tip: Stephens to win in three sets: 3/1 (Click here to get these odds with Unibet)
Donna Vekic v Yulia Putintseva Predictions & Preview
World number 19 Donna Vekic will be facing off Yulia Putintseva for the fifth time in their careers and on all four previous occasions, the Croat has won the match. Interestingly, those wins have come on different surfaces too, clay, hard and grass, and the last time they met was as recently as the 2019 US Open. And more interestingly, Vekic is yet to drop a set.
All of which points to Vekic starting off as a favourite to win it and do that easily against the Kazakh world number 34.
Tip: Vekic to win in straight sets: 11/10 (Click here to get these odds with Unibet)