Jelena Ostapenko vs Sloane Stephens, Miami Final Preview

Miami Open, 🇺🇸🌞🐬🌴 Final 🏆 Preview
🇱🇻 (5) Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇺🇸 (13) Sloane Stephens

A blockbuster final at the Miami Open sees a pair of reigning Grand Slam champions collide when Jelena Ostapenko comes up against Sloane Stephens. Ostapenko and Stephens have followed similar paths of late, both struggled early in the year but both have come good in Miami in a big way. Interestingly this will be the first career meeting between Ostapenko and Stephens, it will be fascinating to see how this match-up pans out especially given how well both generally play on the big stage.

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Ostapenko arrived in Miami with a losing record to her name in 2018. The Latvian has really ignited her season in Miami, rocketing her way through to the final without dropping a set. Ostapenko started the event with a couple of hard fought victories over Timea Babos and Beatriz Haddad Maia. The reigning Roland Garros champion made her big move with back-to-back wins over top 10 opponents as she beat Petra Kvitova 7-6 6-3 and Elina Svitolina 7-6 7-6. Ostapenko confirmed her spot in a fourth career final with a hard-fought 7-6 6-3 win over Danielle Collins.

Ostapenko’s ability to raise her level under pressure has been the most impressive part of her run to the final. The 20-year-old has a perfect 5-0 record in tiebreaks in Miami, her brave tennis under pressure has been rewarded just as it was at Roland Garros last year.




Sloane Stephens has been equally impressive on route to the final. In the early rounds Stephens claimed a comfortable straight set win over Ajla Tomljanovic and a hard-fought 3 set over Monica Niculescu. Like Ostapenko, Stephens then claimed back-to-back straight set wins over top 10 opponents, beating Garbine Muguruza 6-3 6-4 and Angelique Kerber 6-1 6-2. Stephens confirmed her spot in Saturday’s Miami Open final with a 3-6 6-2 6-1 win over Victoria Azarenka, Stephens came from a set and a break down, winning 12 of the last 13 games to storm into her first final since the U.S Open last year.

This promises to be an extremely entertaining final, Ostapenko and Stephens have proven to be big game players in the last 12 months, both have played their best tennis of the biggest stages. Who will step up and claim the 2018 Miami Open title?

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Sloane Stephens vs Victoria Azarenka, Miami SF Preview

Miami Open, 🇺🇸🌞🐬🌴 SF Preview
🇺🇸 (13) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇧🇾 (wc) Victoria Azarenka

A blockbuster semi-final clash at the Miami Open sees reigning U.S open champion Sloane Stephens take on 3-time former Miami Open champion Victoria Azarenka. Stephens and Azarenka have both played scintillating tennis in their last couple of matches on route to the final 4 stage, both enter this match desperate to reach a big final for the first time in a while. This promises to be a thrilling match, who will prevail?

This has been an important event for both Stephens and Azarenka. Sloane Stephens is into her first semi-final since winning the U.S Open last year whilst Azarenka will be competing in her first semi-final since her title run in Miami back in 2016.

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Sloane Stephens has cruised past two quality opponents in a row to reach the semi-final stage in Miami. Stephens claimed straight set victories over Garbine Muguruza (6-3 6-4) and Angelique Kerber (6-1 6-2), back-to-back wins over top 10 opponents to ensure that Stephens herself will reach the top 10 for the first time when the latest rankings come out next week. Earlier in the event Stephens thrashed Ajla Tomljanovic in straight sets and came from a set down to defeat Monica Niculescu. This is clearly the best tennis Sloane has played since her heroics at the U.S Open last year.

Amazingly Stephens has a 22-5 win-loss record in North American over the past year whilst in any other country she has a 0-9 win-loss record. Clearly the reigning U.S Open champion saves her best tennis for her home continent…

Victoria Azarenka is on an 11-match winning streak in Miami. Alongside the Australian Open it would be fair to say that the Miami Open is the most successful tournament for the 3-time former champion. Like Stephens, Azarenka has ripped through two quality opponents in a row to reach the semi-finals. A 6-2 6-2 win over Agnieszka Radwanska and a 7-5 6-3 win over Karolina Pliskova. Azarenka’s return of serve has been particularly damaging, the Belarussian has consistently been at the top of the return points won standings this tournament.

Azarenka holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Stephen. It was Azarenka who won the first three matches between the pair, all in straight sets at the Australian Open between 2013 and 2015. However, most recently it was Stephens who prevailed 6-1 7-5 just a few weeks ago in Indian Wells. There is certainly an underlying tension between these two, they do not particularly like each other and will both be desperate to win Thursday’s clash in Miami. Expect fireworks.

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Sloane Stephens vs Stefanie Voegele, Acapulco QF Preview

Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, 🇲🇽🌴 Acapulco QF Preview
🇺🇸 (1) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇨🇭 Stefanie Voegele

Sloane Stephens will be back in action on Thursday where she takes on Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele in the Abierto Mexicano quarter-finals. Stephens survived match point in her 3 set second round victory, perhaps a turning point for the reigning U.S Open champion and 2016 Acapulco champion. Sloane will head into this match as a strong favourite and will hope for a more clinical performance than her previous match.

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Stephens arrived in Acapulco having not won a match since her U.S Open triumph almost 6 months ago. The American finally got back onto the winners list with a straight set win over Pauline Parmentier in the opening round. Stephens looked set for another disappointing loss when she twice trailed Arantxa Rus by a set and a break, her Dutch opponent served for the match at 5-4 in the second set. Stephens managed to force a second set tiebreak where she came from 1-4 down and saved match point to force a decider. It was 1 way traffic in the deciding set as Stephens claimed an important 5-7 7-6 6-0 victory.

Stefanie Voegele is having her best week of the season so far. Voegele is into her first tour level quarter-final since Tianjin last year courtesy of a couple of straight set victories. Voegele eliminated the 8th seeded Tatjana Maria in the opening round before defeating Maria Sakkari 6-3 6-4 to advance to the final 8 in Acapulco. This is a huge result for Voegele given she currently sits at number 183 in the world.

Interestingly, it is Voegele who holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Stephens. The most recent match between the pair was way back in 2013, a 3 set win for Voegele in Luxembourg, Voegele also beat Stephens the week before that in 3 sets in Linz.

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Sloane Stephens vs Arantxa Rus, Acapulco R2 Preview

Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, 🇲🇽🌴 Acapulco R2 Preview
🇺🇸 (1) Sloane Stephens vs 🇳🇱 (Q) Arantxa Rus

Sloane Stephens continues her Abierto Mexicano campaign with a second round clash against Dutch qualifier Arantxa Rus. Sloane’s opening round victory was her first win since her triumph in the U.S Open final almost 6 months ago. The 2016 Acapulco champion will be hoping she can string a few wins together this week and work towards the form the saw her claim a maiden Grand Slam title last year.

Stephens is certainly going through the process of coming to terms with her new standing tennis. The 2017 U.S Open champion arrived in Acapulco on a 6-match losing streak having not won a match since the U.S open final. The top seed and former champion managed to get her Acapulco campaign off and running with a fairly comfortable straight set win over Pauline Parmentier 6-4 6-0. The first set was tight but Stephens cruised to victory in the second.

Arantxa Rus secured her spot in the Acapulco main draw courtesy of a couple of straight set wins in the qualifying draw. Rus then came from a set down to defeat American wild card Kayla Day, a 4-6 6-1 6-0 win. Her reward is a second round clash against the top seeded Sloane Stephens.

This will be the first career meeting between Stephens and Rus.

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Sloane Stephens vs Pauline Parmentier, Acapulco R1 Preview

Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, 🇲🇽🌴 Acapulco R1 Preview
🇺🇸 (1) Sloane Stephens vs 🇫🇷 Pauline Parmentier

2016 Abierto Mexicano champion Sloane Stephens begins her 2018 Acapulco campaign against Pauline Parmentier. Incredibly, Stephens has not won a match since her U.S Open triumph almost 6 months ago. This opening round clash in Acapulco is seemingly a great opportunity for Stephens to end her 6-match losing streak since becoming a Grand Slam champion, will she make the most of this opportunity?

Stephens has not played since her opening round defeat at the Australian Open over a month ago, it will be interesting to see what type of level the American can bring to Acapulco. Stephens will be competing at the event for the first time since her triumph at the event in 2016, where she beat Dominika Cibulkova in an epic final. Perhaps a return to Acapulco will allow Stephens to rediscover some confidence and better form.

Pauline Parmentier has also struggled in 2018. The Frenchwoman has a poor 1-5 win/loss record. Parmentier was in action last week in Budapest where she was beaten in the opening round by Sabine Lisicki in straight sets.

The head-to-head record between these two is split at 1 win apiece. Stephens won the only previous match between the pair on a hard court, a 3 set win in Miami in 2012 whilst more recently, Parmentier beat Stephens in 3 sets on clay in Strasbourg.

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Sloane Stephens vs Shuai Zhang, Australian Open R1 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R1 Preview
(13) 🇺🇸 Sloane Stephens vs 🇨🇳 Shuai Zhang

The 2018 Australian Open will be Sloane Stephens’ first Grand Slam appearance since claiming her maiden Grand Slam title at the U.S Open last year. Stephens will begin the event with an opening round clash against China’s Shuai Zhang. Interestingly, Stephens is yet to win a match since her win over Madison Keys in the final of last year’s U.S Open, Stephens arrives in Melbourne on the back of 5 consecutive losses.

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Sloane Stephens and Shuai Zhang both made their big breakthrough’s at the Grand Slam level at Melbourne Park, both have great memories at the event. Stephens reached the semi-finals in 2013 whilst Zhang reached the quarter-finals in 2016. The quick hard courts in Melbourne really suit both Stephens and Zhang.

Sloane Stephens’ only match in the lead-up to the Australian Open was In Sydney where she was trashed by Camila Giorgi 6-3 6-0 in the opening round. Shuai Zhang’s form is better but unspectacular, Zhang reached the second round in Shenzhen and Hobart, beaten by Diyas in 3 sets in Shenzhen and Sabalenka in straight sets in Hobart.

Stephens holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Zhang. The most recent match between the pair took place on grass in Birmingham in 2014, Stephens won 6-3 6-1.

Sloane Stephens vs Barbora Strycova, Zhuhai Group Stage Preview

WTA Elite Trophy, 🇨🇳🌹🐉 Zhuhai RR Preview + Prediction
(3) 🇺🇸 Sloane Stephens vs (11) 🇨🇿 Barbora Strycova

The final group stage match at the 2017 WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai will see reigning U.S Open champion Sloane Stephens take on Barbora Strycova. Stephens and Strycova both proved to be no match for Anastasija Sevastova in their opening matches from the camellia group, both were defeated by the Latvian in straight sets ensuring it would be Sevastova would progresses through to the semi-finals. Stephens holds a 2-1 H2h advantage over Strycova and has won their last two matches, however, Stephens has not won a match since her historic U.S Open triumph. Can the American end a career changing season with a victory on Friday night with a victory over Barbora Strycova?

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Sloane Stephens vs Anastasija Sevastova, Zhuhai Group Stage Preview

WTA Elite Trophy, 🇨🇳🌹🐉 Zhuhai RR Preview + Prediction
(3) 🇺🇸 Sloane Stephens vs (5) 🇱🇻 Anastasija Sevastova

Sloane Stephens will make her debut at the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai on Wednesday evening when she comes up against Anastasija Sevastova in the first match from the Camelia Group. Stephens and Sevastova have been drawn alongside Barbora Strycova in what looms as one of the tougher groups. Stephens recently defeated Sevastova in an epic quarter-final encounter which ended in a final set tiebreak, a critical victory for Stephens on route to her first Grand Slam triumph. Interestingly, both Stephens and Sevastova were unable to win a match in the couple of tournaments they played in Asia after their U.S Open success. One of these two will break that drought on Wednesday, who will it be?

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Madison Keys vs Sloane Stephens, U.S Open Final Preview + Prediction

US Open, 🇺🇸🍎🗽🚕 Final Preview + Prediction
🏆 (15) 🇺🇸 Madison Keys vs 🇺🇸 Sloane Stephens

The new generation is here! Two African American women are into the final of the U.S Open, neither of them named Williams. Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens will square off for the final Grand Slam title of 2017 at Flushing Meadows, a maiden Grand Slam title is up for grabs, it will be a life changing moment for the winner. No one could have predicted this final at the start of the tournament, Keys and Stephens both brought good form into New York but both have only just recently returned to competitive actions after frustrating injury setbacks.

After all the setbacks, both will leave everything out on the court on Saturday in what should be a highly competitive final. This match-up will features an interesting contrast in styles, the extreme power of Keys up against the incredible athleticism of Stephens. it was Sloane Stephens won the only previous match between the pair in straight sets in Miami of 2015. Who will step up and rise to the occasion?

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Venus Williams vs Sloane Stephens, U.S Open SF Preview

US Open, 🇺🇸🍎🗽🚕 Semi-Final Preview + Prediction:
SF #1: (9) 🇺🇸 Venus Williams vs 🇺🇸 Sloane Stephens

Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens will go head-to-head for a spot in U.S Open final when they do battle on Friday at Flushing Meadows. This will be a battle of the generations, the evergreen, 37-year-old Venus Williams up against the rising, 24-year-old Sloane Stephens. Venus and Sloane both confirmed their spot in the semi-finals with epic victories on Tuesday, both emerged victories in dramatic final set tiebreaks. Venus will be aiming to reach her third Grand Slam final of 2017 and hopefully go on to win her first major since 2008. Conversely, Sloane Stephens will be aiming to reach her first Grand Slam final and potentially a first major title. This looms as a fairly even match-up, another classic match could be on the cards on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

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