Sloane Stephens vs. Jelena Ostapenko, Eastbourne R2 Preview

Nature Valley International, Eastbourne R2
🇺🇸 (7) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇱🇻 Jelena Ostapenko

Two Grand Slam champions will collide in a blockbuster second round clash at the Nature Valley International on Tuesday as the 7th seeded Sloane Stephens takes on Jelena Ostapenko in Eastbourne. Stephens and Ostapenko are two of the most unpredictable players on the WTA tour, both are capable of playing top level tennis but both can also go missing from time-to-time.

Sloane Stephens will be in action for the first time since her disappointing quarter-final loss to Johanna Konta at Roland Garros earlier this month. Grass is traditionally Stephens least preferred surface, the American has nothing to lose over the coming weeks as she has no points to defend given she was beaten in the opening round at Wimbledon last year in the only match she played on the grass. Perhaps the lack of pressure will work in the American’s favour.

Conversely, Jelena Ostapenko is much more comfortable on the grass. Ostapenko arrives in Eastbourne fresh from a quarter-final showing in Birmingham, Ostapenko’s Birmingham campaign did end quite sadly as she squandered 5 match points and a set and a break lead to lose to Petra Martic in the quarter-finals, nevertheless it was a decent week. The pressure is on Ostapenko over the next few weeks as she has to defend semi-final points at Wimbledon.

It was Sloane Stephens who won the only previous match between the pair, a 7-6 6-1 win over the Latvian in the Miami Open final last year. Can Stephens maintain her perfect record over Ostapenko in Eastbourne?

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Jelena Ostapenko vs. Victoria Azarenka, Roland Garros R1 Preview

🇫🇷🥖💶 Roland Garros, R1 Preview
🇱🇻 Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇧🇾 Victoria Azarenka

One of the most intriguing opening round matches at Roland Garros in 2019 sees two former Grand Slam champions collide when Jelena Ostapenko takes on Victoria Azarenka. Ostapenko and Azarenka were arguably the two most dangerous unseeded players in the draw so both can consider themselves unlucky with this draw, to make matters more complicated, the winner of this match is highly likely to face the top ranked Naomi Osaka in the next round.

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus during practice at the 2019 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Jelena Ostapenko is continuing to slip down the WTA standings. Ostapenko has been consistently inconsistent over the last 18 months and is a shadow of the player that shocked the tennis world two years ago to win the Roland Garros title as a teenager. Ostapenko has lost 10 of he last 14 matches and is simply playing without any confidence in recent times, perhaps a return to the scene of her greatest achievement will help spark a form reversal?

Conversely, Victoria Azarenka is steadily climbing back up the rankings and brings good form into Roland Garros after a strong run in Rome a few weeks ago. Azarenka battled her way through to the quarter-finals in Rome where she claimed an impressive 3 set win over the 2-time defending champion Elina Svitolina in the second round, a win that proves Azarenka can still beat the best, a seemingly important moment in Azarenka’s journey back o the top.

This will surprisingly be the first career meeting between Ostapenko and Azarenka. Expect fireworks between two feisty competitors that know what it takes to win big matches. Who will prevail?

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Anastasija Sevastova vs. Jelena Ostapenko, Stuttgart R1 Preview

🇩🇪🏁 Porsche Tennis GP, Stuttgart R1 Preview
🇱🇻 (7) Anastasija Sevastova vs. 🇱🇻 Jelena Ostapenko

Latvia’s two top players will do battle at the opening round stage of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart when the 7th seeded Anastasija Sevastova takes on Jelena Ostapenko. This is an intriguing match-up given the contrast in styles between the pair, the versatility and creativity of Sevastova up against the power of Ostapenko, who will prevail?

Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia during practice ahead of her opening round match with Jelena Ostapenko at the 2019 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix WTA Premier tennis tournament.

Sevastova and Ostapenko have both struggled to find their best tennis in 2019. This was supposed to be a big year for Latvian tennis but things have certainly not gone to plan. Latvia was beaten by Germany in their first World Group playoff appearance in a long time, Ostapenko lost both her rubbers while Sevastova chose not to take part.

Sevastova and Ostapenko are both very capable on clay and will be keen to finally gain some momentum in 2019 over the next few months on the red dirt. The pair have only played once before, Sevastova won that match via retirement in Moscow back n 2015. It will be interesting to see how this match-ups pans out this time around.

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Jelena Ostapenko vs. Maria Sakkari, Australian Open R1 Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, R1 Preview
🇱🇻 (22) Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇬🇷 Maria Sakkari

One of the toughest opening round match-ups at Melbourne Park on Monday sees the 22nd seeded Jelena Ostapenko take on Maria Sakkari, the Greek rising star. Ostapenko arrives at Melbourne Park in a slump, the Latvian has lost her first two matches of the season and will need a dramatic improvement if she is to get through this tough opening round match-up.

Maria Sakkari of Greece practices ahead of the 2019 Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Jelena Ostapenko is a shadow of the player that stormed to the Roland Garros title in 2017. Ostapenko started her 2019 campaign with an embarrassing opening round loss to Monica Niculescu in Shenzhen where she won just 2 games. More recently Ostapenko played n Sydney where she produced a more respectable level but was still beaten by Ashleigh Barty in straight sets.

Maria Sakkari has made a more impressive start to her 2019 campaign. Sakkari started the season at the Hopman Cup where she went 2 from 3 in her singles matches, Sakkari defeated Katie Boulter and Belinda Bencic in straight sets whilst succumbing to Serena Williams in a competitive straight set loss. Sakkari did however suffer an opening round loss to Magda Linette in Hobart last week, perhaps it was for the best.

The only previous match between the pair took place in Charleston in 2017, Ostapenko won that match 6-2 4-6 6-2. Much has changed since then, Sakkari will fancy her chances this time around.

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Ashleigh Barty vs. Jelena Ostapenko, Sydney R1 Preview

🦒 Sydney International, R1 Preview
🇱🇻 Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇦🇺 Ashleigh Barty

Ash Barty begins her Sydney International campaign with a potentially difficult opening round clash with Jelena Ostapenko. The top ranked Australian woman heads into this match as a strong favourite. Barty brings good form into this event having ended 2018 really well and having played some good matches in Perth last week, conversely Ostapenko is in awful form and in desperate need of a form reversal before heading to Melbourne.

Ostapenko has lost 6 of her last 8 matches spanning back to the US Open last year. Ostapenko made a messy start to the 2019 season, the 2017 Roland Garros champion was thrashed by Monica Niculescu, Ostapenko managed to win just 2 games in her first round match with the Romanian in Shenzhen and looked very rusty.

On the other hand, Ash Barty is in great form. Barty has won 9 of her last 12 matches having ended 2018 on high by winning the title in Zhuhai. Barty started her 2019 campaign with a solid showing at the Hopman Cup, Barty defeated Alize Cornet and Garbine Muguruza in straight sets before being beaten by Angelique Kerber in straight sets. Barty made the final in Sydney last year and will be hoping to go one step further in 2019.

Can Ostapenko find some decent form in Sydney and Challenge the top ranked Aussie?

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Jelena Ostapenko vs. Daria Gavrilova, Wuhan R1 Preview

🐉 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, R1 Preview
🇱🇻 (10) Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇦🇺 Daria Gavrilova

A first round match-up in Wuhan which features a huge contrast in styles sees the 10th seeded Jelena Ostapenko take on Daria Gavrilova. Adding to the intrigue is the fact that this will be the first career meeting between the pair. Will attack of defence prevail?

Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in action during her third-round match at the 2018 US Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Jelena Ostapenko and Daria Gavrilova have both been in fairly disappointing form of late, both had poor results during the North American hard court swing and both suffered early exits last week. Ostapenko was beaten at the second round stage in her title defense in Seoul, smashed by Ekaterina Alexandrova in straight sets. Gavrilova played a couple of marathon matches against the Pliskova sisters in Tokyo, Gavrilova let several leads slip on route to a three 3 set loss to Karolina Pliskova.

This should be an entertaining match between two totally different players. Ostapenko has the firepower whilst Gavrilova has the defensive prowess. Gavrilova will make life hard for Ostapenko if she is off her game but if the Latvian fires she should be too strong.

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Jelena Ostapenko vs. Andrea Petkovic, US Open R1 Preview

🇺🇸🗽 US OPEN: R1 Preview
🇱🇻 (10) Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇩🇪 Andrea Petkovic

Jelena Ostapenko will begin her 2018 Flushing Meadows campaign on Tuesday with a potentially tricky first round clash against Germany’s Andrea Petkovic. Ostapenko has shown over the last few seasons that she is always dangerous at Grand Slam events, the 2017 Roland Garros champion will be particularly keen for a good run in New York given it has historically been her least successful Grand Slam event.

Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in action during her first-round match at the 2018 Western & Southern Open WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Ostapenko was unable to win a match in her 2 lead-up events to the final Grand Slam of the year. The Latvian suffered first-up losses to Johanna Konta in Montreal and Alize Cornet in Cincinnati, both losses were in similar fashion, winning the opening set before crumbling as the match wore on. Prior to those losses Ostapenko did reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon, her best result of the season thus far. Ostapenko has generally performed well at the biggest events over the last few years so she will bring confidence into this event despite her recent losses.

Unlike Ostapenko, Petkovic has really struggled at the Grand Slam level over the last few years, Petkovic has won 5 matches in her last 7 Grand Slam main draw appearances. Petkovic’s U.S Open series campaign got off to a good start when she reached the semi-finals in Washington D.C but the last couple of weeks have not been so impressive. Petkovic failed to get through the qualifying draw in Cincinnati and New Haven, retiring injured in the later.

It was Ostapenko who won the only previous match between the pair, a 7-5 1-0 victory via retirement at the semi-final stage in Doha back in 2016. The pair have gone in completely different direction over the past few years, Ostapenko has solidified her spot in the top 10 whilst Petkovic has consistently slipped outside the top 50.

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Angelique Kerber vs. Jelena Ostapenko, Wimbledon SF Preview

🇬🇧 Wimbledon semi-final preview
🇩🇪 (11) Angelique Kerber vs. 🇱🇻 (12) Jelena Ostapenko

Thursday’s first semi-final at SW19 sees the 11th seeded Angelique Kerber take on the 12th seeded Jelena Ostapenko. Surprisingly, this will be the first career meeting between Kerber and Ostapenko, an exciting match-up that features an extreme contrast in styles. This match-up will feature arguably the best counter-puncher in the world against one of the most aggressive players on tour, an exciting match-up between two former Grand Slam champions. Who will prevail?

Angelique Kerber of Germany in action during her second-round match at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships Grand Slam tournament

Angelique Kerber is through to her 7th career Grand Slam semi-final, her third at Wimbledon. Kerber’s level has steadily improved throughout the event. The German got off to a slow start with unimpressive wins over Vera Zvonareva and Claire Liu. Kerber brings great momentum into this semi-final clash after straight set wins over Naomi Osaka, Belinda Bencic and Daria Kasatkina. Kerber has made it to the pointy end of several big events in the last 6 months but has frequently failed at this hurdle, she will be keen to make amends here.

Jelena Ostapenko has steamrolled through the draw, reaching the final 4 without dropping a single set. The Latvian waltzed through the first week, comfortably beating Katie Dunne, Kirsten Flipkens and Vitalia Diatchenko. Ostapenko found herself trailing in matches against Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Dominika Cibulkova but on both occasions she recovered to win a tight opening set before taking control in the second. Ostapenko’s 7-5 6-4 win over Dominika Cibulkova in the quarter-finals was particularly impressive.

Kerber and Ostapenko both bring great form into this match, both are high on confidence and will fully expect to win this match. It will be interesting to see how this match-up pans in out in the first career meeting between the pair.

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Jelena Ostapenko vs. Dominika Cibulkova, Wimbledon QF Preview

Wimbledon QF Preview
🇱🇻 (12) Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇸🇰 Dominika Cibulkova

The pick of the quarter-final matches on Tuesday at Wimbledon sees the 12th seeded Jelena Ostapenko take on a red-hot Dominika Cibulkova. This is an exciting match-up between two fairly similar players, two of the most fiery players on tour, with aggressive, powerful games from the baseline. Cibulkova won both of the previous meeting between the pair, but that was before Ostapenko became a Grand Slam champion and top 10 player. Cam the Latvian capture her first win over the Slovakian?

Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia in action during her second round at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships Grand Slam tournament

Ostapenko and Cibulkova has both blasted their way through the draw, reaching the quarter-final stage without dropping a set. Ostapenko and Cibulkova are two players that are extremely tough to stop when they are in this type of form, making this match-up an exciting prospect if both maintain their a-game.

It is Cibulkova who has had the far tougher draw to this stage. Cibulkova has beaten Alize Cornet (7-6 6-1), Johanna Konta (6-3 6-4), Elise Mertens (6-2 6-2) and Su-Wei Hsieh (6-4 6-1) on route to the final 8. This is the first time everything has come together nicely for Cibulkova of court in 2018, serving well, returning well and deadly from the baseline. If Cibulkova can maintain such a high level of tennis then she is a genuine contender to win the title.

Jelena Ostapenko has also been impressive but has not faced any significant threat on route to the quarter-finals stage. Ostapenko claimed wins over Katie Dunne (6-3 7-6), Kirsten Flipkens (6-1 6-3), Vitalia Diatchenko (6-0 6-4) and Aliaksandra Sasnovich (7-6 6-0) to secure back-to-back appearances in the final 8 at Wimbledon. Ostapenko trailed Sasnovich 2-5, down a double break, before she managed to fight back and run away with the match in the second.

Cibulkova holds a perfect 2-0 H2H record over Ostapenko. The pair met on grass in Eastbourne in 2016, Cibulkova won that match 6-3 6-3. Their most recent match was at Indian Wells last year, Cibulkova won 6-4 3-6 6-3 in a high quality clash.

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Jelena Ostapenko vs. Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Wimbledon R4 Preview

🇬🇧 Wimbledon, R4 Preview
🇱🇻 (12) Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇧🇾 Aliaksandra Sasnovich

Jelena Ostapenko will be out to maintain her perfect record over Aliaksandra Sasnovich and reach the quarter-final stage at Wimbledon In back-to-back visits when she meets the Belarussian on Manic Monday. Ostapenko went under the radar through week one, the 21-year-old did not drop a set through her first 3 matches and is one of only 3 former Grand Slam champions left in the draw heading into the round of 16. The Latvian now looms as a genuine contender but Sasnovich has defied the odds already at SW19 and will fancy her chances of an upset here.

Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in action during the third round at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships Grand Slam tournament

After Ostapenko won Roland Garros last year it would be easy to forget that grass is actually her most dangerous surface and her favourite surface. Ostapenko eased through the first week, taking full advantage of a favourable draw, claiming straight set wins over Katie Dunne, Kirsten Flipkens and Vitalia Diatchenko. It was just 4 years ago that Ostapenko won the junior Wimbledon title, she reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last year and is clearly very confident on this surface.

Aliaksandra Sasnovich is having the best year of her career and is now through to the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career. Sasnovich stared her campaign with a huge upset, defeating tournament favourite Petra Kvitova 6-4 4-6 6-0 in what was the biggest win of her career. Sasnovich has back-up that victory impressively well by claiming straight set wins over Taylor Townsend and the 26th seeded Daria Gavrilova, dropping just 4 games in each of those matches.

Ostapenko holds a 2-0 record over Sasnovich. Both of the previous matches went the distance, most recently the pair met at Wimbledon 12 months ago, the Latvian claimed a typically topsy-turvy 6-0 1-6 6-3 victory.

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