Sloane Stephens vs. Elina Svitolina, Singapore Final Preview

🇸🇬 WTA FINALS, Singapore – Final Preview
🇺🇸 (5) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇺🇦 (6) Elina Svitolina

Sunday’s final in Singapore promises to be a blockbuster encounter as Sloane Stephens takes on Elina Svitolina. Stephens and Svitolina have undoubtedly been the two best players all week, each winning all of their group stage matches plus tough semi-final victories. On paper this is an extremely even match-up, both have very similar strengths and weaknesses and have both been playing great tennis this week. Who will raise their level when it matters most to claim a maiden WTA Finals crown?

Sloane Stephens’ route to the Final:

RR1: Naomi Osaka 7-5 4-6 6-1
RR2: Kiki Bertens 7-6 2-6 6-3
RR3: Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-3
SF: Karolina Pliskova 0-6 6-4 6-1

Sloane Stephens of the United States in action during her semifinal match at the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Sloane Stephens made a miraculous recovery to book her spot in the Singapore final. Stephens trailed Karolina Pliskova 0-6 0-2 15-40 and was seemingly down and out. Stephens managed to break from 40-15 down as she went on to win 12 of the last 15 games. Once Stephens got going her athleticism was too much for Pliskova to handle, this has been the case for each of Sloane’s opponents this week. If anyone can match Sloane’s athleticism it is a red-hot Svitolina…

Elina Svitolina’s route to the Final:

RR1: Petra Kvitova 6-3 6-3
RR2: Karolina Pliskova 6-3 2-6 6-3
RR3: Caroline Wozniacki 5-7 7-5 6-3
SF: Kiki Bertens 7-5 6-7 6-4

Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine in action during her semifinal at the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Elina Svitolina has produced the best tennis we have seen from her since the first half of the year where she won 3 titles. Svitolina has overcome several tough situations to reach the biggest final of her career. Svitolina’s greatest test came at the semi-final stage where she battled past Kiki Bertens in 3 extremely tight sets. The standout feature of Svitolina’s week has been her outstanding attitude and toughness in the critical moments, it has been Svitolina at her very best.

Sloane Stephens has the slight edge in the H2H between the pair, leading 2-1. Stephens has won both of the previous matches between the two on a hard court, including a 6-3 6-3 victory at the semi-final stage in Montreal earlier this year.

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Elina Svitolina vs. Kiki Bertens, Singapore SF Preview

🇸🇬 WTA Finals, Singapore SF #1 Preview
🇺🇦 (6) Elina Svitolina vs. 🇳🇱 (8) Kiki Bertens

Saturday’s first semi-final in Singapore sees Elina Svitolina take on Kiki Bertens. This is a huge opportunity for both players, both will be competing at the semi-final stage at the WTA Finals for the first time from limited experience at the event. Svitolina was the most impressive player in the white group, winning all 3 of her matches whilst Bertens continues to defy the odds in 2018. Svitolina will enter this match as the favourite but Bertens fancies an upset, she has secured the most top 10 wins of any player in 2018, can she do it again here?

Elina Svitolina’s route to the semi-finals:

(W) vs. Petra Kvitova 6-3 6-3
(W) vs. Karolina Pliskova 6-3 2-6 6-3
(W) vs. Caroline Wozniacki 5-7 7-5 6-3

Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine celebrates qualifying for the semifinal stage of the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Elina Svitolina has been back to her fighting best in Singapore this week, playing with the perfect mix aggression and defense. Svitolina’s form was poor heading into Singapore but she has been the most impressive player throughout the group stage. Svitolina won all 3 of her matches in the white group including a couple of tough 3 set victories. Svitolina started her second consecutive Singapore campaign with a reasonably comfortable straight set win over Petra Kvitova before battling past Karolina Pliskova and Caroline Wozniacki in 3 sets to reach the final 4 at the WTA Finals for the first time. Svitolina’s win over Wozniacki was particularly impressive, it was Svitolina who came out on top in the critical second set, a gutsy effort to outlast a desperate Wozniacki. Svitolina has been fired up all tournament, clearly desperate to reverse her form slump and end the year on a high.

Kiki Bertens’ route to the semi-finals:

(W) vs. Angelique Kerber 1-6 6-3 6-4
(L) vs. Sloane Stephens 6-7 6-2 3-6
(W) vs. Naomi Osaka 6-3 RET.

Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands in action during her third match at the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Kiki Bertens is only playing in Singapore because of the late withdrawal of Simona Halep. Bertens is certainly making the most of this opportunity by reaching the final 4 in her WTA Finals debut. Bertens started the event with a great comeback win against Angelique Kerber, Bertens came from 1-6 0-2 down to beat Kerber before succumbing to Sloane Stephens in a tight 3 set match. Bertens secured her spot in the semi-finals with a victory via retirement over Naomi Osaka, another fortunate break for Bertens. Bertens will face her biggest test yet against Svitolina in the semi-finals.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. Svitolina defeated Bertens in 3 sets in Zhuhai in 2016 whilst more recently Bertens claimed a 6-4 6-3 win at the quarter-final stage in Cincinnati earlier this year. This is an interesting match-up because of the contrast in styles, the type of match-up that seemingly lends itself to producing close matches.

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Caroline Wozniacki vs. Elina Svitolina, Singapore RR Preview

WTA Finals Singapore, White Group match preview
🇩🇰 (2) Caroline Wozniacki vs. 🇺🇦 (6) Elina Svitolina

The final match from the white group will see defending champion Caroline Wozniacki take on a red-hot Elina Svitolina in what looms as a blockbuster match. This match will be critical in deciding who advances to the semi-finals in the white group. Svitolina is in prime position after winning her few matches but she is not guaranteed a position in the semi-finals. Wozniacki must win this match to have a chance of qualifying but may need to win in straight sets depending on the previous result.

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in action during her second match at the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Caroline Wozniacki started her title defense in Singapore with a disappointing straight set loss to Karolina Pliskova. Wozniacki rebounded strongly as she defeated Petra Kvitova in 3 sets. Wozniacki’s willingness to be a bit more aggressive in the important moments was part of why she got over the line against Kvitova and she will need to be very aggressive if she is to beat Svitolina on Thursday, an opponent she has struggled against in the past.

Elina Svitolina has been the most impressive player of the tournament thus far. Svitolina started her Singapore campaign with a straight set win over Petra Kvitova and continued her strong form in the next match where she defeated Karolina Pliskova in 3 sets. The second half of the season has been disappointing for Svitolina but she can finish the season off on a high in Singapore. Svitolina’s level over the first few matches this week is arguably the best she has played since Rome earlier this year.

Svitolina holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Wozniacki. Svitolina won the first 3 matches between the pair including 2 commanding straight set wins in a pair of finals in Dubai and Toronto last year. The most recent match between the pair was in Singapore last year where Wozniacki won 6-2 6-0 against a wayward Svitolina.

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Elina Svitolina vs. Karolina Pliskova, Singapore RR Preview

WTA Finals Singapore, White Group match preview
🇺🇦 (6) Elina Svitolina vs. 🇨🇿 (7) Karolina Pliskova

The first spot in the semi-finals at this year’s WTA Finals will be up for grabs when Elina Svitolina takes on Karolina Pliskova in the second match from the white group on Tuesday. Svitolina and Pliskova both made bright starts to their Singapore campaigns with straight set victories over more fancied opponents. This is an interesting match-up because of the contrast in styles, Pliskova has generally had the wood over Svitolina but the Ukrainian has already defied a poor head-to-head record this week and will fancy her chances of doing the same here.

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in action during her first match at the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Elina Svitolina began her second consecutive appearance in Singapore with a noteworthy 6-3 6-3 win over Petra Kvitova. It was clear that Svitolina was pumped for this match and she gave very, very little away on route to victory. Svitolina was at her solid best, a perfect mix of attack and defense totally bamboozled Kvitova. Svitolina will know that a similar style of play will likely get the better of Pliskova here.

Karolina Pliskova was also impressive in her first round victory as she makes her third consecutive appearance in Singapore, defeating defending champion Caroline Wozniacki 6-2 6-4. What stood out in Pliskova’s win was her play under pressure, Pliskova saved all 10 break points she faced to remain perfect on serve throughout the match. Pliskova’s aggressive play was too much for Wozniacki to handle, a similar style of play will be required to get the better of Svitolina.

Pliskova holds a 5-2 head-to-head record over Svitolina. However, Svitolina has won the last couple of matches between the pair. The most recent match between the two took place in Brisbane earlier this year, Svitolina won that match 7-5 7-5.

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Petra Kvitova vs. Elina Svitolina, Singapore RR Preview

WTA Finals Singapore, White Group match preview
🇨🇿 (4) Petra Kvitova vs. 🇺🇦 (6) Elina Svitolina

The 2018 WTA Finals Singapore begins on Sunday evening with a white group clash between Petra Kvitova and Elina Svitolina. Kvitova heads into this match as the favourite, mostly thanks to her dominant 7-1 head-to-head record over Svitolina. However, Svitolina is never a pushover and will fancy her chances against a potentially rusty Kvitova. Can Svitolina start the tournament with an upset victory?

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic during practice ahead of the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Petra Kvitova will be competing in Singapore for the first time since her runner-up finish in 2015. Kvitova has had an outstanding season having won 5 titles. However, Kvitova has not found her best tennis in the biggest events, Kvitova had only won 2 matches at Grand Slam events in 2018, the WTA finals presents itself as a shot at redemption as the largest tournament outside the Grand Slam events. Kvitova has won this tournament before, back in 2011 in Istanbul.

Elina Svitolina’s form has really dropped away in the second half of the season so she too has a point to prove in Singapore. Svitolina’s results during the Asian swing were very poor by her usual standards, opening round defeats in Wuhan and Beijing highlighted her recent misery. Svitolina will be competing in Singapore for the second time, she made her tournament debut last year where she failed to get through the group stage.

Kvitova holds a 7-1 record over Svitolina and has won the last 7 matches between the pair, a surprisingly dominant record given how tough Svitolina usually is to beat. Indeed, Kvitova has dominated Svitolina like no other player has been able to do, 6 of Kvitova’s wins over Svitolina were in straight sets including a 6-4 7-5 win in Doha earlier this year in their most recent match.

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Elina Svitolina vs. Tatjana Maria, Wimbledon R1 Preview

🇬🇧 Wimbledon, R1 Preview
🇺🇦 (5) Elina Svitolina vs. 🇩🇪 Tatjana Maria

The 5th seeded Elina Svitolina looms as one of the most vulnerable top seeded players in the early stages at Wimbledon. Svitolina has drawn a potentially tricky early round opponent in the form of Tatjana Maria. The German arrives at Wimbledon full of confidence having won the first title of her career in Mallorca a few weeks ago.

Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine in action during the quarterfinals at the 2018 Nature Valley Classic WTA Premier tennis tournament

Elina Svitolina’s disappointing Grand Slam record has continued in 2018. The Ukrainian suffered a shock third round exit at Roland Garros at the hands of Mihaela Buzarnescu, a tournament where she was favoured to win the title. Unfortunately for Svitolina her chances of breaking her Grand Slam duck seem unlikely at Wimbledon, Svitolina’s record at SW19 is not great, having only reached the second week on 1 occasion, a fourth round showing last year. Svitolina played one event in the lead-up to Wimbledon, a decent quarter-final showing in Birmingham.

At the age of 30 Tatjana Maria won a maiden WTA title in Mallorca a few weeks ago and thus she arrives at Wimbledon on a 6-match winning streak. Maria beat several quality opponents in Mallorca, 3 set wins over Anett Kontaveit and Lucie Safarova and a straight set win over Anastasija Sevastova in the final. Maria’s game is well suited to grass because of her strong slice and willingness to move forward.

The only previous match between the pair ended in a 6-2 6-2 win for Svitolina in Beijing in 2016.

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Sloane Stephens vs. Donna Vekic, Wimbledon R1 Preview

🇬🇧 Wimbledon, R1 Preview
🇺🇸 (4) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇭🇷 Donna Vekic

The fourth seeded Sloane Stephens faces a tough opening round test at Wimbledon when she comes up against Croatia’s Donna Vekic. Stephens has not played a match on grass in 2018 whilst Vekic played 3 tournaments in the lead-up to SW19 with decent results. Vekic has a powerful game that can trouble Stephens if the American gets off to a slow start.

Donna Vekic of Croatia in action at the 2018 Nature Valley International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Grass is arguably Sloane Stephens’ worst surface, her recent results suggest that this is the case. Stephens has not played a match since her 3 set loss to Simona Halep in the Roland Garros final a month ago, it is tough to know what to expect for her in London. One thing is certain, Stephens has made a habit of playing her best tennis on the biggest stages.

Conversely, grass is Vekic’s best surface. Vekic started her grass court campaign in Nottingham where she reached the semi-finals before suffering a couple of early round exits in Birmingham and Eastbourne. Vekic was beaten by Svitolina in 3 sets in Birmingham, and a Barbora Strycova in straight sets in Eastbourne.

It was Stephens who won the only previous match between the pair, a 5-7 6-2 6-2 win on clay in Strasbourg in 2016. Vekic’s chances on grass increase significantly in this match-up.

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Elina Svitolina vs. Mihaela Buzarnescu, Birmingham QF Preview

🇬🇧 Nature Valley Classic, Birmingham QF Preview
🇺🇦 (2/wc) Elina Svitolina vs. 🇷🇴 Mihaela Buzarnescu

Elina Svitolina will get a shot at revenge when she comes up against Mihaela Buzarnescu at the quarter-final stage in Birmingham on Friday. Buzarnescu stunned Svitolina at Roland Garros a few weeks ago, the Romanian eliminated the tournament favourite at the third round stage in what was a devastating loss for the Ukrainian. Can Buzarnescu cause another upset on a surface Svitolina is seemingly vulnerable on?

Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania in action at the 2018 Nature Valley Classic WTA Premier tennis tournament

Svitolina is having a good week in Birmingham, it is important for her to have a great in Birmingham to gain confidence on grass, a surface she has comparatively struggled on in the past. The second seed started the event with a topsy-turvy 3 set win over Donna Vekic before producing a much more consistent level to cruise by Alize Cornet 6-4 6-2. It is clear that Svitolina is trying to be far more aggressive which is certainly the right attitude on this surface.

Mihaela Buzarnescu is arguably the most improved player in 2018, at the age of 30! The Romanian is now into back-to-back quarter-finals on grass having reached the final 8 in Nottingham last week. Buzarnescu has made a habit of winning tight matches in recent times, that has been the case in Birmingham this week where she has claimed a couple of 3 set wins, a 6-3 4-6 6-0 win over Timea Babos and 4-6 6-3 6-2 over Petra Martic.

It was Buzarnescu who won the only previous match between the pair, a 6-3 7-5 victory at Roland Garros a few weeks ago. If Buzarnescu can beat Svitolina on clay, she surely has a chance at beating her on grass a few weeks later?

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Elina Svitolina vs. Donna Vekic, Birmingham R2 Preview

🇬🇧 Nature Valley Classic, Birmingham R1 Preview
🇺🇦 (2) Elina Svitolina vs. 🇭🇷 Donna Vekic

Elina Svitolina begins her 2018 grass court campaign in Birmingham with an opening round showdown against Donna Vekic. Svitolina suffered yet another setback at Roland Garros a few weeks ago, a shock third round exit at the hands of Mihaela Buzarnescu. Grass is considered Svitolina’s worst surface, so it will be interesting to see how she performs over the next month and whether she can contend for the biggest titles.

Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine practices at the 2018 Nature Valley Classic WTA Premier tennis tournament

Svitolina continues to impress at the premier level before collapsing at Grand Slam events, a very disappointing trend for the Ukrainian. But, it is good news for her chances in Birmingham, these are the types of events Svitolina has been so efficient at over the last few years. However, grass is easily Svitolina’s least successful surface, and she has never made it passed the second round in Birmingham.

Donna Vekic started her grass court campaign in Nottingham last week. Vekic failed to defend her title in Nottingham but she still had a good week as she reached the semi-finals before succumbing to Johanna Konta in straight sets. Vekic enjoys playing on grass, her game is very much suited to the quick surface.

Svitolina holds a perfect 3-0 record over Vekic. The most recent match between the pair was on clay in Marrakesh in 2015, a comfortable 6-2 6-2 for Svitolina. This will be their first match on a grass court, a surface that seemingly gives Vekic some kind of a chance at an upset.

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Elina Svitolina vs. Mihaela Buzarnescu, Roland Garros R3 Preview

🇫🇷 Roland Garros, R3 Preview
🇺🇦 (4) Elina Svitolina vs. 🇷🇴 (31) Mihaela Buzarnescu

Elina Svitolina continues her quest for a maiden Grand Slam title on Friday where she comes up against the 31st seeded Mihaela Buzarnescu at the third round stage at Roland Garros. Buzarnescu looms as a significant test for Svitolina, Buzarnescu cruised through her first few matches in Paris and has been in good form of late, can the Romanian cause a big upset?

Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine in action during her second-round match at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Elina Svitolina remains the favourite to win the tournament. The Ukrainian is on a 7-match winning streak having won the title in Rome prior to arriving in Paris, Svitolina has actually won 10 consecutive sets and is looking extremely solid at the moment. The 4th seed started her Roland Garros campaign with a couple of hard-fought victories, 7-5 6-3 over Ajla Tomljanovic and 6-3 6-4 over Viktoria Kuzmova. Svitolina raised her level at the end of each set, her composure and consistency under pressure is the hallmark of her game at the moment.

Mihaela Buzarnescu is into the third round of a Grand Slam for the very first time. At the age of 30 Buzarnescu is reaching career highs at the moment. This is the first time Buzarnescu is seeded at a Grand Slam, it was only last year at the U.S Open that she made her main draw debut at a Grand Slam. The Romanian has easily progressed through her first few matches in Paris, 6-3 6-3 over Vania King and 6-1 6-2 over Rebecca Peterson.

This will be the first career meeting between Svitolina and Buzarnescu.

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