A mouth-watering clash in the first round of the Rogers Cup sees defending quarterfinalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova go up against the dangerous Frenchwoman Alize Cornet in a blockbuster opening round encounter between two Top 20 players. The winner of this match earns the privilege of being the new world number one Karolina Pliskova’s first opponent as the top-ranked player in the world, and both women have a great chance to cause some troubles for the Czech.
Pavlyuchenkova’s recent results
After bouncing out of the Wimbledon Championships in the first round having wasted an incredible seven match points, Pavlyuchenkova undergone some intensive training with her team and it proved effective when she sealed an impressive debut at the Bank of the West Classic with a vintage display of aggressive tennis by the Russian, strolling to a comfortable 6-4 6-0 win over the dangerous Alison Riske, the home favourite and the nemesis of the world number 18.
However, her joy was short-lived when she was totally outclassed by the hard-hitting American in Coco Vandeweghe, who was absolutely firing throughout the whole match and did not give Pavlyuchenkova any chance to make an impact. Pavlyuchenkova looks to defend her quarterfinal points from last year’s competition held in Montreal.
Cornet’s recent results
Falling in the opening round of the Wimbledon Championships to the powerful hitter in Camila Giorgi, Cornet entered the Bank of the West Classic on a four-match losing streak. Her poor luck continued to plague her when she was drawn against the eighth seed and eventual semifinalist Catherine Bellis in the first round, the stand-out match of the draw. However, the match failed to live up to the hype it received as the American was destructive in her play, strolling to a comfortable straight sets victory with the help of a supportive home crowd. Cornet would be looking to earn her first win in three months at the Rogers Cup.
Head to Head
The head-to-head between both players is surprisingly one-sided as Pavlyuchenkova had won all five of their previous meetings. They have already met on all surfaces, with their last meeting coming at the Brisbane International back in 2016 with the Russian triumphing in three sets.
On paper, Pavlyuchenkova is the favorite in this encounter because of her higher rank and the head-to-head record, which is in her favor. However, she must definitely not underestimate Cornet because of these factors. The Frenchwoman has a crafty playing style, and she enjoys moving her opponents all around the courts with the help of top-notch drop shots and slices. This would mix up her opponent’s rhythm, giving her time to be on the offense. Cornet is a renowned for her excellent return of service coupled with her decent forehand, but she has to ensure that her serve remains solid throughout the match to be able to challenge Pavlyuchenkova.
Nevertheless, Pavlyuchenkova would look to dictate play against the less aggressive Cornet, taking control of the proceedings. The Russian would have to ensure that she is playing some consistent tennis and maintain the high level of play throughout the match, preventing the Frenchwoman from having too many opportunities. Pavlyuchenkova’s groundstrokes are decent and she has the ability to fire winners off them. Her serve will provide some free points considering her power, and the world number 18 will look to mix in some variety of shots such as the drop shot to catch her opponents off-guard.
Both players possess their own weapons in their games, and it would be interesting to see how both Pavlyuchenkova and Cornet fare in their first matches. With a world number 18 being unseeded, we can see how brutal and packed the draw is, allowing for blockbuster first round matches to occur like this. The Russian seems like the favorite in this encounter but we can never rule out the unpredictable Frenchwoman.
Match Prediction: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova d. Alize Cornet in three sets