Nature Valley International, Eastbourne R2
?? (7) Sloane Stephens vs. ?? Jelena Ostapenko
A fascinating second round clash at the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne sees the 7th seeded Sloane Stephens begin her 2019 grass court campaign with a tough match-up against Jelena Ostapenko. Whilst it is Stephens who has generally been the far more impressive of the pair in recent times, it is Ostapenko who has a far better recent record on grass, making this a tough match to call.
I’m going to give Sloane Stephens the benefit of the doubt here. I think this is a good way for Stephens to start her grass court campaign, a match-up where she doesn’t have to think too much, she simply has to react to the hard hitting of Ostapenko. Stephens is generally a great counter-puncher and did beat Ostapenko in straight sets in their only previous meeting in Miami last year. If Stephens maintains a decent level she should eventually crack the Latvian who is still riddled with inconsistencies and really struggling behind her serve.