Summer not warm for Stephens

At what point will Sloane Stephens begin to play great in January? I would imagine that the 2017 US Open champion will turn it around, very soon, because in the fall, she essentially collapsed. Something has to be in her head, not thinking, spacing out, not focusing. 

However, clearly when she is on and locked in, she can beat anyone. He movement side to side is excellent and her strokes can go very deep. She can be very funny, and hilarious, but then she can be muddled. She just lost at Brisbane against new player Liudmila Samsonova. I would imagine that the young Russian will continue to grow, gradually, but Stephens has to shake it off and be more calmer. Right now.

Will the Canadian Eugenie Bouchard begin to turn it around this year? She didn’t last year, and she is currently ranked No. 152. A few years ago, she was ranked No. 6, and after that, she fell again and again. She has yet to climb up, with so many errors, and she is very erratic. Hopefully, she can be smart and intelligent. Bouchard did win her first round in Auckland and shot through the second round, taking out Caroline Garcia? Time will tell …

Jennifer Brady is flying high down under. First, she bounces former No. 1 Maria Sharapova and then dispatches current No. 1 Ash Barty in straight sets.

Fifteen-year-old American Coco Gauff just won a match on Monday. Clearly, all ready, she is very good, ranked No. 67.  “I felt confident, I feel like I’m moving well,” said Gauff. But, service breaks were her downfall against Laura Siegemund 5-7, 6-2, 6-3. 

It is pretty incredible that she is so young and that she has beaten a number of good players. But, to defeat the best players, she must become better and better. She is fast, powerful and she sprints. It will be very interesting how she will hold up.

The former No. 1 Serena Williams has returned and she is playing in New Zealand. Four other Americans won – in Australia and China – all over the place: No. 25 Amanda Anisimova, No. 27 Danielle Collins, the No. 19 Alison Riske and the No. 13 Madison Keys?

Which if the four will go very deep this month at the AO? Pick-em, based on their mental games. However, when they get to the Australian Open, other than Serena, who is always the favorite, can Collins will reach the semis again?