Sloane Stephens vs. Misaki Doi, Roland Garros R1 Preview

🇫🇷🥖💶 Roland Garros, R1 Preview
🇺🇸 (7) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇯🇵 Misaki Doi

2018 runner-up Sloane Stephens starts her 2019 Roland Garros campaign against Japan’s Misaki Doi. Stephens arrives in Paris in mediocre form but that is frequently the case for Sloane heading into a major, she certainly has the ability to flick the switch and play her best when it matters, plus Paris has been her most consistent major over the years. Stephens looms as one of the main contenders.

Sloane Stephens of the United States during practice at the 2019 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Stephens did receive a confidence boost in a semi-final showing at the Mutua Madrid Open earlier this month. Stephens beat a couple of quality opponents on route to the final 4 before succumbing to the eventual champion Kiki Bertens in straight sets. Most recently Stephens suffered an opening round loss to Johanna Konta in Rome. Stephens has won more matches in Paris than any other Grand Slam, a runner-up last year, the goal for Stephens will be to go one step further in 2019.

Misaki Doi’s record in Paris is not so good. Doi has only ever won the 1 main draw match at Roland Garros from 6 appearances. The odds are stacked against Doi who brings poor from into the event. Doi has not won a match on clay this year and arrives in Paris fresh from an opening round loss in Nuremburg last week at the hands of Tamara Zidansek. Winning is something Doi has really struggled to do over the last few years.

This will be the first career meeting between Stephens and Doi, will the result be as one-sided as the odds suggest?

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Sloane Stephens vs. Taylor Townsend, Australian Open R1 Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, R1 Preview
🇺🇸 (5) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇺🇸 Taylor Townsend

Sloane Stephens is the great unknown heading into the 2019 Australian Open. The 2017 US Open champion begins her Melbourne Park campaign with an opening round match-up against Taylor Townsend. At her best, Stephens is a genuine contender for the title, however, on current form she is no guarantee to get through this potentially tough first round match with Townsend.

Sloane Stephens of the United States in action during the first round of the 2019 Sydney International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Stephens has made a typically lackluster start to the season. Stephens started the year in Brisbane where she looked lethargic in a straight set loss to Johanna Konta. Stephens fought harder in Sydney, the American came from a set down to beat Ekaterina Alexandrova in a final set tiebreak in the first round but was unceremoniously dumped from the tournament by Yulia Putintseva in the second round. Stephens led Putintseva by a set and 5-3 before being forced to a deciding set where she did not win a single game.

Taylor Townsend will be searching for her first main draw victory at Melbourne Park on Monday when she takes on the 5th seed. Townsend has only played 1 match in 2019, a decent showing but a loss nevertheless. Townsend was beaten in 3 tight sets at the opening round stage in Auckland by Barbora Strycova.

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

Which Sloane Stephens will show up to Melbourne Park?

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Sloane Stephens vs. Ekaterina Alexandrova, Sydney R1 Preview

🦒 Sydney International, R1 Preview
🇺🇸 (4) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇷🇺 (Q) Ekaterina Alexandrova

Sloane Stephens continues her search for a much needed win in Australia when she takes on Russian qualifier Ekaterina Alexandrova in the opening round of the Sydney International. Sloane Stephens has not won a match in Australia since a first round win in Hobart way back in 2015, she would like to change that in Sydney before heading into the first Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne next week.

Sloane Stephens of the United States in action during her first-round match at the 2019 Brisbane International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Stephens started her 2019 campaign with a disappointing straight set loss to Johanna Konta in Brisbane last week. Stephens looked very rusty in Brisbane last week, she looked sluggish and uninspired. Stephens has been in Sydney for a decent amount of time thanks to her early round exit in Brisbane, it will be interesting to see what type of level she bring to this match, from the outside it seems like an important one for her.

Ekaterina Alexandrova has made a decent start to the season. Alexandrova started her season in Shenzhen last week where she beat Dalila Jakupovic in straight sets before succumbing to the eventual champion: Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets. Alexandrova made her way through the qualifying draw in Sydney with ease, the Russian beat Stefanie Voegele in straight sets before benefiting from the retirement of Johanna Konta early in their match.

Alexandrova is a dangerous opponent on her day, can the talented young Russian take down the 4th seed?

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Sloane Stephens vs. Johanna Konta, Brisbane R1 Preview

Brisbane International, R1 Preview
🇺🇸 (3) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇬🇧 Johanna Konta

Sloane Stephens and Johanna Konta will go head-to-head for the first time when they meet in an exciting opening round clash in Brisbane. It will be interesting to see how this match-up pans out, a match-up that features an extreme contrast in styles. Konta has a powerful, aggressive game but is very mechanical whilst Stephens has easy power and is a supreme athlete.

Sloane Stephens has struggled during the Australian summer in recent times and will no doubt be focusing on having a great month down under in 2019. Stephens was very inconsistent in 2018, her best is extremely good but she seems to pick and choose when to produce that level. Brisbane is an important tournament for Stephens to gain momentum and confidence heading into the first Grand Slam of the year.

Johanna Konta of Great Britain practices ahead of the 2019 Brisbane International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Johanna Konta also had a very inconsistent 2018 season. Unlike Stephens, Konta has started well over the last few years. Konta has made it to the quarter-final stage at the Australian Open in 2 of the last 3 years. The Sydney-born Brit sees Australia as a second home and her game is well suited to the quick hard courts in Brisbane where she made the quarter-finals last year.

Will the third seeded Stephens survive a tough opening round match-up?

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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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Sloane Stephens vs. Karolina Pliskova, Singapore SF Preview

🇸🇬 WTA Finals, Singapore SF #2 Preview
🇺🇸 (5) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇨🇿 (7) Karolina Pliskova

Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova will go head-to-head in the second semi-final of the day in Singapore. This match-up features a big contrast in styles, the great versatility and athleticism of Stephens against the rangy power of Pliskova. Stephens has been extremely impressive on throughout the week, winning all 3 of her matches on route to the semi-finals, as a result Stephens enters this match as the favourite and should be a very tough opponent for Pliskova.

Karolina Pliskova’s route to the semi-finals:

(W) vs. Caroline Wozniacki 6-2 6-4
(L) vs. Elina Svitolina 6-3 2-6 6-3
(W) vs. Petra Kvitova 6-3 6-4

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic celebrates wining her second match at the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Karolina Pliskova is through to the semi-finals in Singapore for the second year in a row in her third consecutive appearance at the event. Pliskova started her Singapore campaign in style with a commanding straight set win over Caroline Wozniacki. Pliskova put herself in a tough position with a 3 set loss to Elina Svitolina but rebounded strongly to claim her first ever win over Petra Kvitova and confirm a spot in the final 4. Interestingly Pliskova stated that she was feeling fatigued after her loss to Svitolina, Kvitova provided little resistance so it is hard to know how much to read into that win and whether or not fatigue is still an issue for Pliskova after a long month. Pliskova has been playing sensible tennis this week, playing much more conservatively than she has in the past.

Sloane Stephens’ route to the semi-finals:

(W) vs. Naomi Osaka 7-5 4-6 6-1
(W) vs. Kiki Bertens 7-6 2-6 6-3
(W) vs. Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-3

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

Sloane Stephens entered Singapore in poor form having struggled to win matches during the Asian swing. Nevertheless, Stephens has flicked the switch as is often the case for the American at big events. Stephens topped the red group having won all 3 of her matches. Stephens started her WTA Finals debut with tough 3 set wins over Naomi Osaka and Kiki Bertens. Stephens faced Kerber in the last group stage match with the winner set to progress, it was Stephens who far more clutch, winning in straight sets to top the red group. The ability of Stephens to win the big points was key to her win over Kerber, a sign that she is confident right now.

Stephens has the slight edge in the head-to-head record having won 2 of their 3 previous encounters. Stephens won the first two matches between the pair in straight sets, most recently it was Pliskova who won 6-2 6-3 in Madrid earlier this year. Expect a very different result in Singapore.

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Angelique Kerber vs. Sloane Stephens, Singapore RR Preview

WTA Finals Singapore, Red group match preview
🇩🇪 (1) Angelique Kerber vs. 🇺🇸 (5) Sloane Stephens

The final red group match in Singapore sees the top seeded Angelique Kerber take on the a red-hot Sloane Stephens in what will be one of the most anticipated matches of the tournament thus far. Stephens tops the group heading into this match having won her first few matches whilst Kerber has 1 win and 1 loss to her name this week. Stephens has had the better of this match-up of late and will be confident in claiming a 5th consecutive win over the German.

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

Angelique Kerber made a disappointing start to the tournament where she lost from a set and 2-0 up against Kiki Bertens. Kerber responded in a typically gutsy fashion with a fighting 3 set win over Naomi Osaka. Kerber was seemingly struggling with a back injury throughout the later stages of her win with Osaka but she was able to dig deep and tough out a win. Kerber’s ability to absorb the pace of Osaka was key and she also played aggressive tennis more often than she usually would. It will be interesting to see how Kerber responds against Stephens.

Sloane Stephens enters this match full of confidence having won her first couple of matches in the red group. Stephens required 3 lengthy sets to claim victories over Naomi Osaka and Kiki Bertens to almost guarantee her place in the semi-finals in her WTA Finals debut. The attitude of Stephens throughout her first few matches has been most impressive, it is clear that Stephens means business this week and when that is the case she is one of the toughest players on tour to defeat.

Stephens holds a commanding 4-1 head-to-head record over Kerber. It was Kerber who won the first meeting between the pair in 2012, since then Stephens has won 4 consecutive matches, all in straight sets. The most recent match between the pair was at the quarter-final stage in Miami earlier this year, Stephens won very comfortably 6-1 6-2.

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Sloane Stephens vs. Kiki Bertens, Singapore RR Preview

WTA Finals Singapore, Red Group match preview
🇺🇸 (5) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇳🇱 (8) Kiki Bertens

Sloane Stephens and Kiki Bertens both made impressive winning starts in their Singapore debuts. As a result Stephens and Bertens now have a chance to almost certainly book a place in the semi-finals with a victory here. Adding to the intrigue is that this will be the first time Stephens and Bertens have gone head-to-head for over 5 years and will be just their second career meeting.

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

Sloane Stephens arrived in Singapore arguably in the worst form of all 8 of the participants. Nevertheless, Sloane has shown that she almost always drastically improves her level for big events and that was the case in her WTA Finals debut. Stephens took down reigning US Open champion Naomi Osaka 7-5 4-6 6-1. Stephens successfully frustrated Osaka with her mix of attack and defense, Stephens broke the Osaka serve on 7 occasions from a whopping 19 break points chances. The reasonably slow conditions in Singapore seemingly suit the game of Stephens very nicely.

Kiki Bertens made another huge statement in her first ever match at the WTA Finals. Bertens came from a set and a break down to defeat Angelique Kerber 1-6 6-3 6-4. Bertens has now won 11 matches against top 10 opponents since Madrid this year. Bertens has made a habit of winning ugly, that was certainly the case here in what was a fairly messy deciding set with breaks of serve galore. Bertens served 12 double faults and had a first serve percentage of just 53% yet still managed to beat one of the best returners of serve on tour. Bertens will probably need to step it up if she is to claim her first ever win over Sloane Stephens.

It was Stephens who won the only previous match between the pair. A 4-6 6-3 6-2 win way back in 2013 in Rome. Much has changed since then, but another close match is to be expected.

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Naomi Osaka vs. Sloane Stephens, Singapore RR Preview

WTA Finals Singapore, Red Group match preview
🇯🇵 (3) Naomi Osaka vs. 🇺🇸 (5) Sloane Stephens

Reigning US Open champion Naomi Osaka will take on 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the first match of the red group at the WTA finals Singapore on Monday. This will be just the second career meeting between two the tours brightest young stars, their only previous match took place at the quarter final stage in Acapulco in 2016, 2 and a half years later they meet in Singapore in very different circumstances. Who will win the battle of the US Open champions?

Naomi Osaka of Japan in action during her third-round match at the 2018 China Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Naomi Osaka has been the best player in the world over the last couple of months, as a result it is Osaka who is considered by many to be the favourite heading into her maiden appearance at the WTA Finals. Osaka arrives in Singapore having won 14 of her last 16 matches which of course included her stunning triumph in New York followed by a finalist showing in Tokyo and a run to the semi-finals in Beijing.

Unlike Osaka, Stephens has not been playing very well of late. Stephens won just 2 of her last 6 matches and was part of a mad scramble for a position in Singapore that saw her play in Moscow last week. By the time Stephens took to court in Moscow her place in Singapore was guaranteed, Stephens suffered a first round loss to Ons Jabeur and was seemingly already planning her trip to Singapore. Like Osaka, this will be Sloane’s first appearance at the WTA Finals.

It was Sloane Stephens who won the only previous match between the pair, a 6-3 7-5 victory in Acapulco in 2016. This is a fascinating match-up between two of the most dynamic players on tour, two players that should be inside the top 10 for years to come. Indeed this has potential to be a rivalry we will see a lot of in the future, who will gain the upper hand in Singapore?

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Sloane Stephens vs. Anastasija Sevastova, US OPEN QF Preview

🇺🇸🗽 US OPEN: QF Preview
🇺🇸 (3) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇱🇻 (19) Anastasija Sevastova

Sloane Stephens and Anastasija Sevastova will go head-to-head for a spot in the US Open semi-finals. This is a rematch of last year’s epic quarter-final match that ended in a final set tiebreak, Stephens won that match on route to winning the title. Sevastova will be keen for revenge on Tuesday but it won’t be easy to come by given Stephens is arguably the top player left in the draw. Is this where Sloane’s title defense ends?

Sloane Stephens of the United States in action during her fourth-round match at the 2018 US Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Sloane Stephens now looks a legitimate chance to successfully defend her title at Flushing Meadows. Sloane has been extremely impressive on route to the quarter-final stage. Sloane made a scratchy start to the tournament, beating Evgeniya Rodina in 2 sets and surviving a real scare in a 3 set win over
Anhelina Kalinina. Stephens has really raised her level in the last couple of matches with a 6-3 6-4 win over Victoria Azarenka and 6-3 6-3 win over Elise Mertens. The level Sloane has produced in the last couple of matches Is the type of tennis that saw her win the title 12 months ago.

Anastasija Sevastova is through to the quarter-finals in New York for the third year in a row, an outstanding achievement given Sevastova has not reached the final 8 at any other Grand Slam event. Sevastova has had several topsy-turvy victories on route to the final 8. Sevastova started her campaign with a 3 set win over Donna Vekic, a straight set win over Claire Liu and a 3 set win over Ekaterina Makarova. Sevastova’s most impressive performance came at the fourth round stage, a 6-3 1-6 6-0 win over Elina Svitolina, the Latvian’s best tennis in that match was outstanding, touch and precision that few could replicate.

Stephens holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Sevastova. All 3 of their previous meetings were in the last 12 months, starting with Sloane’s epic 6-3 3-6 7-6 victory at the quarter-final stage of the US Open last year. Sevastova beat Stephens in straight sets a few months later in Zhuhai. Their most recent match was in Montreal last month, Stephens won 6-2 6-2.

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