Elina Svitolina vs Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Brisbane Final Preview

Brisbane International, Final Preview
(3) 🇺🇦 Elina Svitolina vs (Q) 🇧🇾 Aliaksandra Sasnovich

The first premier level final of the 2018 season will take place on Saturday night at the Brisbane International where Elina Svitolina comes up against Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Elina Svitolina will head into this final as a strong favourite. Svitolina won 5 titles in 2017, more than any other player on tour, conversely Sasnovich is yet to win a title and has only ever played in 1 final. Svitolina is clearly the more established player but Sasnovich has defied the odds all week, can the Belarusian defy the odds one last time and complete here fairy tale run in Brisbane?

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Elina Svitolina produced a superb performance to confirm her spot in Saturday’s final at the Brisbane International. Svitolina ended the run of defending champion Karolina Pliskova with a hard-fought 7-5 7-5 victory. The world number 6 entered the match with a 1-5 head-to-head record against Pliskova and quickly found herself down 0-4. From there, it was all Svitolina. The Ukrainian displayed her improved attacking game whilst also showing her trademark speed and determination. Svitolina out-aced Pliskova and was all over the Czech’s serve, breaking Pliskova 6 times. Svitolina also claimed wins over Carla Suarez Navarro, Ana Konjuh and Johanna Konta on route to the final.

Aliaksandra Sasnovich has had the best week of her career. The 23-year-old Belarussian has won 7 matches in Brisbane having started the week battling her way through the qualifying draw. Sasnovich has done things the hard way winning 4 consecutive matches from a set down between her last qualifying match and the quarter-finals. Sasnovich produced her most consistent performance in Friday’s semi-final to claim an upset 7-6 6-4 win over an in-form Anastasija Sevastova. Sasnovich has never reached a premier level final, having only ever competed in 1 final. Clearly, Saturday’s match is by the far the biggest of Sasnovich’s career.

This will be the first career meeting between Svitolina and Sasnovich. Two 23-year-old’s but with vastly different levels of experience on the big stage.

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Karolina Pliskova vs Kaia Kanepi, Brisbane QF Preview

Brisbane International, Quarter-Final Preview
(2) 🇨🇿 Karolina Pliskova vs (Q) 🇪🇪 Kaia Kanepi

Karolina Pliskova continues her title defense on Thursday night at the Brisbane International where she takes on Kaia Kanepi at the quarter-final stage. After receiving an opening round bye, Pliskova was dominant in her first match of the tournament, easily beating CiCi Bellis in less than an hour. Pliskova will face a tougher test against the Estonian qualifier who has won 5 matches in Brisbane without dropping a set.

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Karolina Pliskova showed no signs of rust in her opening match of the 2018 season. Pliskova destroyed CiCi Bellis 6-1 6-1 in less than an hour. Pliskova’s serve was on, winning 91% percent of points behind her first serve, Pliskova did not face a break point all match.

2012 Brisbane champion Kaia Kanepi is back into the quarter-finals at one of her favourite events. Kanepi blasted her way through the qualifying draw without dropping a set and has carried that form into the main draw. Kanepi beat Daria Kasatkina 6-2 6-2 and Lesia Tsurenko 6-4 6-3. Kanepi has not dropped more 4 games in any set in her 5 matches this week in Brisbane. There are some danger signs for Kanepi who was struggling at times against Tsurenko and called for the trainer, it was a very low quality match.

Pliskova has won both of the previous matches between the pair, both on clay and quite some time ago. Most recently Pliskova beat Kanepi 7-5 6-3 in Katowice.

Elina Svitolina vs Johanna Konta, Brisbane QF Preview

Brisbane International, Quarter-Final Preview
🇺🇦 (3) Elina Svitolina vs 🇬🇧 (5) Johanna Konta

The pick of the quarter-final matches at the Brisbane International sees Elina Svitolina take on Johanna Konta, the first all top 10 battle of the 2018 season. Elina Svitolina has won both of the previous meetings between the pair, Konta will be keen to reverse that trend. Konta has made a gutsy run to the final 8 in Brisbane, coming from a set down in both of her opening matches. Konta will need a much more consistent performance if she is to be successful against Svitolina.

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Elina Svitolina has made a superb start to her 2018 campaign in Brisbane. Svitolina started the event with a 6-2 6-4 win over Carla Suarez Navarro before clinically disposing of the always-dangerous Ana Konjuh with little fuss, winning 6-3 6-1. Svitolina is one of several serious contenders looking to claim her maiden Grand Slam title in 2018.

Johanna Konta is another player in the mix for a maiden Grand Slam title. The British number 1 ended 2017 in poor form but has displayed signs of her old self in a couple of hard-fought victories to start the year. Konta was dealt a brutal first round draw against Madison Keys. Konta came through that match with flying colours, winning 4-6 6-4 6-3 after a tough start. Konta again found herself a set down in her second round match against Ajla Tomljanovic. Konta played an awful first set but gradually improved enough to record a 4-6 6-1 6-4 win.

As mentioned above, it is Svitolina who holds a 2-0 record over Konta. The most recent match between the pair took place in Zhuhai in 2016, Svitolina claimed a 2-6 6-1 6-4 victory. Can Konta reverse the trend and claim her first career win over Svitolina or will the Ukrainian be too strong?

Alize Cornet vs Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Brisbane QF Preview

Brisbane International, Quarter-Final Preview
🇫🇷 Alize Cornet vs 🇧🇾 (Q) Aliaksandra Sasnovich

A huge opportunity presents itself to Alize Cornet and Aliaksandra Sasnovich when the pair collide at the quarter-final stage of the Brisbane International. The pair have had contrasting pathways through to the final. Cornet has not had to work too hard, winning a couple of quick matches. Conversely, Sasnovich has already won 5 matches this week having come through the qualifying draw, the last 3 victories were all from a set down.

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Alize Cornet would have arrived in Brisbane hopeful of replicating her 2017 run to the final but would have considered herself a big underdog to do so. Suddenly the Frenchwoman is into the quarter-finals and the draw is open for Alize to again push toward the title at the Brisbane International. Cornet started the event with a win over Caroline Garcia who retired injured after losing the second set. Cornet booked her spot in the semi-finals with a 6-1 7-5 victory over Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

Aliaksandra Sasnovich has made a brilliant start to the year. Sasnovich would not have expected to be playing in the quarter-finals in Brisbane. The Belarussian won 3 matches in a tough qualifying draw before coming from a set down to beat Kristina Mladenovic and Anett Kontaveit to reach the final 8 at the first premier level event of the year. Sasnovich ended 2017 in exciting fashion at the Fed Cup final with a win over Sloane Stephens, the signs are there that the world number 88 will be a player on the rise in 2018.

It was Aliaksandra Sasnovich who won the only previous meeting between the pair, a 6-4 1-6 6-4 victory in Miami last year. Can the Belarusian get the Cornet of Cornet again on Thursday to reach one of the biggest semi-final of her career?

Anastasija Sevastova vs Aleksandra Krunic, Brisbane QF Preview

Brisbane International, Quarter-Final Preview
(7) 🇱🇻 Anastasija Sevastova vs 🇷🇸 Aleksandra Krunic

An in form Anastasija Sevastova comes up against Aleksandra Krunic at the quarter-final stage at the Brisbane International. Sevastova has cruised through her opening couple of matches in Brisbane, dropping a combined 7 games throughout the 2 wins. Sevastova will now take on the unique challenge that is Krunic. The unorthodox Serb has won 3 of the last 4 matches between the pair and will therefore fancy her chances here.

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Anastasija Sevastova has been one of the most impressive players over the first few rounds in Brisbane. Sevastova kick-started her season with a clinical 6-1 6-3 win over Samantha Stosur where she served incredibly well, saving all 5 break points she faced. The Latvian remained in cruise control in her second round match, easily accounting for Sorana Cirstea 6-2 6-1.

Aleksandra Krunic showed what she is capable in a gruelling encounter with Garbine Muguruza on Tuesday. Krunic found herself down a set and 3-5 before fighting back and winning the second set tiebreak to push the match to a decider. Early in the third set, Muguruza collapsed to the ground with cramp and was ultimately forced to retire. Krunic claimed a 7-5 7-6 win over Carina Witthoeft in the first round.

The head-to-head history between these two is quite strange. Krunic leads 3-2 and has won 3 of their last 4 matches. In 2016, Sevastova beat Krunic 6-0 6-0 in Istanbul, a week later Krunic beat Sevastova in straight sets in Marrakech. Strange! Who will step up and reach the semi-finals in Brisbane?

Lesia Tsurenko vs Kaia Kanepi, Brisbane R2 Preview

Brisbane International, R2 Preview
🇺🇦 Lesia Tsurenko vs (Q) 🇪🇪 Kaia Kanepi

Lesia Tsurenko claimed one of the first big upsets of the 2018 season by defeating Ashleigh Barty 6-3 6-2 in the opening round at the Brisbane International. Tsurenko will look to build on her terrific win over Barty when she comes up against big-hitting Estonian Kaia Kanepi in the second round on Wednesday. Surprisingly, this will be the first career meeting between Tsurenko and Kanepi, despite both being on the tour for around a decade.

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Lesia Tsurenko produced an extremely high level of tennis to eliminate the 8th seeded Ashleigh Barty in the opening round in Brisbane. Tsurenko produced a clinical serving performance, the Ukrainian did not face a break point all match whilst forcing 3 breaks of the Barty serve. Tsurenko ended 2017 in poor form, her win over Barty should be just what she needs to rebuild her confidence.

Kaia Kanepi, a former champion at the Brisbane International, has gotten her 2018 season off to a great start at the first premier event of the season. Kanepi rolled through the qualifying draw, dropping no more than 5 games in each of her 3 qualifying victories. Kanepi kept her level up in her first main draw match on Monday, Kanepi clinically disposed of Daria Kasatkina, claiming a surprisingly comprehensive 6-2 6-2 victory. The quick hard courts in Brisbane really suit the big game of Kanepi, the former champion loves this event and looms as a dangerous prospect to all opponent this week.

It will be interesting to see how this matchup plays out in the first career meeting between the pair.

Anett Kontaveit vs Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Brisbane R2 Preview

Brisbane International, R2 Preview
🇪🇪 Anett Kontaveit vs (Q) 🇧🇾 Aliaksandra Sasnovich

Aliaksandra Sasnovich is one of two qualifiers to advance to the second round at the Brisbane International. Sasnovich has shown good fighting qualities to reach this stage, coming form behind in her two recent matches. The Belarussian will continue her campaign in Brisbane on Wednesday when she comes up against the big-hitting Estonian Anett Kontaveit. Sasnovich’s biggest test of the tournament thus far.

Anett Kontaveit made a very positive start to her 2018 campaign with a dominant 6-0 6-3 victory over Heather Watson. Kontaveit was originally scheduled to play Petra Kvitova, but the Czech star was forced to withdraw from the event due to a viral illness. Kontaveit put on a serving clinic, winning 83% of behinds behind her first serve and did not face a break point all match.

Aliaksandra Sasnovich has already won 4 matches in Brisbane having come through the qualifying draw. Sasnovich cruised through her opening two matches in the qualifying draw against Boserup and Wallace. Sasnovich came from a set down against Monova to secure her spot in the main draw. The 23-year-old secured her spot in the second round with a 1-6 6-3 7-5 win over Kristina Mladenovic. Sasnovich condemned Mladenovic to her 13th consecutive loss, it was a diligent performance by Sasnovich who improved as the match wore on.

Anett Kontaveit holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Sasnovich and has won their two most recent matches on a hard court including a tight 3 set win at the semi-final stage in Biel last year.

Karolina Pliskova vs Catherine Bellis, Brisbane R2 Preview

Brisbane International, R2 Preview
(2) 🇨🇿 Karolina Pliskova vs 🇺🇸 Catherine Bellis

Karolina Pliskova will begin her 2018 campaign on Wednesday at the Brisbane International. The 2017 champion will be looking to make another strong start to the season in 2018. The world number 4 should have a decent test of her level from the get go as she takes on Catherine Bellis.

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Karolina Pliskova is the defending champion at the Brisbane International. The Czech made a fast start to 2017, highlighted by her title run at the Brisbane International. Pliskova exceled on hard courts in 2017, winning 39 matches on hard courts, 2nd of all players. Pliskova also had the 2nd highest hard court winning percentage, a 39/12 W/L record on the surface. The quick hard courts in Brisbane are the perfect surface for the big-serving Czech.

Catherine Bellis set up a second round meeting with the defending champion courtesy of a 6-2 7-5 victory over Kateryna Bondarenko. Bellis is one player to keep an eye on in 2018, At number 60 in the world, Bellis will look to cement her spot well inside the top 50 in 2018 and push into the top 30. Bellis is very experienced for an 18-year-old, after a full year on the main tour in 2017, Bellis is poised to rise in 2018.

This will be the first career meeting between Pliskova and Bellis. It will be interesting to see if the young American can push the defending champion in the world number 4’s first match of the year.

Johanna Konta vs Ajla Tomljanovic, Brisbane R2 Preview

Brisbane International, R2 Preview
(5) 🇬🇧 Johanna Konta vs 🇦🇺 Ajla Tomljanovic

Johanna Konta kick-started her 2018 campaign in style with a hard-fought 3 set win over Madison Keys on Monday. Konta will be straight back into action on Tuesday as she comes up against an ever-improving Ajla Tomljanovic on Pat Rafter Arena.

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Johanna received a brutal opening round draw in Brisbane, coming up against Madison Keys, the highest ranked unseeded players in the draw. It was a tight battle, but Konta improved as the match wore on and eventually claimed a 4-6 6-4 6-3 win. One break of serve was the difference in each set. After Keys blasted Konta off the court in the opening set, Konta steadily improved as the match went on and she improved her serve to keep Keys at bay. Konta’s trademark aggressive deep hitting from the baseline was on full display s was her power at end-range. Konta will gain a lot of confidence from this win, especially after she ended 2017 with a string of disappointing losses.

Ajla Tomljanovic cruised into the second round in Brisbane. Tomljanovic easily accounted for fellow Aussie Destanee Aiava 6-1 6-4. Tomljanovic’s serve was her standout weapon against Aiava. Tomljanovic was broken on just 1 occasion, served 7 aces and won 79 percent of points behind her first serve. Tomljanovic will face a far greater test when she comes up against Johanna Konta on Tuesday evening on the main court.

This will be the first career meeting between the pair. With over 100 ranking places between them, on paper it looks like a one-sided match but Tomljanovic is much better than her ranking suggests and if she serves well and plays consistent tennis from the baseline, this could be a close one.

Elina Svitolina vs Ana Konjuh, Brisbane R2 Preview

Brisbane International, R2 Preview
(3) 🇺🇦 Elina Svitolina vs 🇭🇷 Ana Konjuh

A blockbuster second round encounter at the Brisbane International on Tuesday sees the third seeded Elina Svitolina come up against 20-year-old rising star Ana Konjuh. Svitolina and Konjuh both rolled through their opening round matches in Brisbane in straight sets, both will head into this match with confidence and eager to test their level against quality opposition at the start of the new year.

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Svitolina showcased her new aggressive approach in her 6-2 6-4 opening round victory over Carla Suarez Navarro. Svitolina finished the straight set victory with a whopping 36 winners which included 10 aces. At the business end of the second set, it was Svitolina’s willingness to be aggressive, going for her shots down the line that got her over the edge. Svitolina’s aggressive nature will be better tested against Konjuh, it will be tougher for the Ukrainian to dictate against Konjuh compared to against Suarez Navarro.

Ana Konjuh ended 2017 on unfortunate circumstances, 4 consecutive losses in North America and side-lined from the Asian swing due to injury. Konjuh showed little signs of rust in her opening match of the year at the Brisbane International, Konjuh rocketed past Kiki Bertens 6-1 6-2. Critically, Konjuh saved all 6 break points that she faced throughout the match. Konjuh will need to bring a similar level to the court if she is to have a chance against Svitolina.

The head-to-head record Is split at 1 win apiece. However, most recently it was not an affair contest as Svitolina smashed Konjuh 6-1 6-1 at the quarter-final stage in Moscow in 2016.