(27) Barbora Strycova vs Sloane Stephens
An intriguing first round matchup sees two former quarter-finalists go head to head, 2014 quarterfinalist: Barbora Strycova and 2013 quarter-finalist: Sloane Stephens. This is a very unfortunate first round matchup for these two, a first round loss would be extremely disappointing for both.
Barbora Strycova had a breakout year in 2014, however she has failed to maintain that form in season 2015. Strycova has suffered numerous opening round losses this year, including at Roland Garros. The Czech will be hoping for a reversal of form on grass, a surface her game is well suited to.
Strycova achieved her greatest ever Grand Slam result at Wimbledon last year, defeating Li Na and Caroline Wozniacki on route to her first Grand Slam quarter-final where she was defeated by eventual champion: Petra Kvitova.
Strycova’s lead up to Wimbledon has been less than ideal, however she has got a fair few matches under her belt on the grass. Strycova reached the third round in Birmingham before succumbing to Kristina Mladenovic and suffered a disappointing second round loss in Eastbourne, upset by Sara Errani in an extremely tight match.
Sloane Stephens’ lead up to Wimbledon has been far greater. The American reached her first premier level semifinal of the year in Eastbourne, defeating Carla Suarez Navarro and Heather Watson in straight sets on route to the final four. Sloane was eliminated at the semifinal stage by Agnieszka Radwanska, however there were still a number of positives to take out that match for Sloane, she competed well and was able to raise her level throughout the match but it wasn’t enough in the end.
Sloane’s results haven’t been the best this year, however a lot of that can be attributed to the tough draws she has been dealt. Stephens has twice been beaten by Serena Williams, and has suffered losses to Victoria Azarenka and Simona Halep, all in big events. Stephens has generally beaten the players ranked around her.
These two have met on two previous occasions, the head to head record is currently split at one win apiece. It was Sloane Stephens who emerged victorious in their only recent encounter, prevailing 7-5 6-1 in Cincinnati last year.
Sloane Stephens will enter this match as the favourite given her recent form, the American consistently performs well at the Grand Slam level and will be desperate to avoid a second opening round loss at a Grand Slam this year. Sloane’s extra firepower and greater form will give her the edge in this one.
Prediction: Sloane Stephens to defeat Barbora Strycova in 3 sets