??? Roland Garros, R4 preview + prediction: ?? (3) Elina Svitolina vs. ?? Caroline Garcia
A blockbuster fourth round clash at Roland Garros on Sunday sees the 3rd seeded Elina Svitolina come up against a resurgent Caroline Garcia. It is Svitolina who heads into this clash as the favourite despite holding a problematic 1-3 head-to-head record against the Frenchwoman. Garcia has already beaten a couple of seeded opponents on route to the round of 16 and will have her eyes set on another big scalp on Day 8.
Elina Svitolina has now won 7 matches in a row on the red dirt in France. The world number 5 arrived in Paris fresh from winning her 15th title in Strasbourg. The third seed didn’t have things easy through the first week at Roland Garros, a 7-6 6-4 win over Varvara Gracheva was followed by a 6-3 0-6 6-2 victory over Renata Zarazua. Svitolina booked her spot in the round 16 in Paris for the 4th time with a hard-fought 6-4 7-5 win over the 27th seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova.
Caroline Garcia has flipped the script on her poor from in the lead up to her home major. Garcia started the tournament with a 6-4 3-6 6-4 upset victory over the 17th seeded Anett Kontaveit before getting the job done against Aliaksandra Sasnovich with a 7-6 6-2 win. Garcia booked her spot in the round of 16 at Roland Garros for the 3rd time with another upset win, a 1-6 6-4 7-5 win over the 16th seeded Elise Mertens. Garcia now has an opportunity to equal her best run at a major by reaching the quarterfinals, just as she did in Paris in 2017.
Caroline Garcia has won the last 3 matches between the pair, interestingly Garcia won all 3 matches despite losing the opening set in a tiebreaker. The most recent match between the pair was in Stuttgart in 2018, Garcia won 6-7 6-4 6-2. Garcia also won a couple of tight matches over the Ukrainian at the later stages of 2017 in Beijing and at the WTA Finals.
I’m going to side with Svitolina despite her negative record against Garcia. Svitolina was beaten by Garcia’s absolute best tennis in their 3 previous matches, all of which took place in favourable conditions for the Frenchwoman at a time where Garcia was in career best form. On this occasion a heavy clay court will give Svitolina more opportunity to get into extended rallies and to grind down her opponent. The conditions also give Svitolina more of an opportunity to pass Garcia at the net. Svitolina has defeated several big hitters over the last few weeks, wins over Aryna Sabalenka, Elena Rybakina and Ekaterina Alexandrova are great preparation for the heavy hitting for will face against Garcia. Svitolina is too solid to make the same mistake for the 4th time in a row.
Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Caroline Garcia in 3 sets
??? Roland Garros, R2 preview + prediction: ?? (3) Elina Svitolina vs. ?? (Q) Renata Zarazua
An in-form Elina Svitolina continues her 2020 Roland Garros campaign with a second round clash against Mexican qualifier Renata Zarazua. Svitolina is one of the form players on tour at the moment having won the Strasbourg title just a day before Roland Garros commenced. Svitolina is one of the best players in the world yet to win a major, something the Ukrainian will be hoping to change over the next few weeks, she has the game to make it happen.
Elina Svitolina arrives in Paris fresh from claiming her 15th WTA singles title last week in Strasbourg. The 3rd seed only had a couple of days to recover before her Roland Garros opener, which turned out to be a tough match, a 7-6 6-4 victory over Varvara Gracheva. Svitolina has a decent record at Roland Garros having reached the quarter-final stage in Paris on 2 previous occasions.
Renata Zarazua became the first Mexican woman to reach the main draw of a Grand Slam in 20 years when she successfully made her way through the qualifying draw in Paris. Zarazua claimed 3 wins over decent opposition in the qualifying draw, beating Olga Danilovic, Viktorija Tomova and Daniela Seguel. Zarazua made the most of a favourable opening round draw by beating local wild card Elsa Jacquemot 6-1 6-2.
I don’t see many problems for Svitolina in this match-up. Zarazua doesn’t possess any big weapons, that is a problem against Svitolina, especially on a heavy clay court. Svitolina thrives in these match-ups against fellow counter-punchers or defensive players, expect the Ukrainian to be far too solid for the Mexican. It has been a great run for Zarazua, but this is where her run comes to an end.
Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Renata Zarazua in 2 sets
??? Internationaux de Strasbourg – FINAL preview + prediction ?? (2) Elina Svitolina vs. ?? (5) Elena Rybakina
Elina Svitolina and Elena Rybakina will go head-to-head for the first time when they meet in Saturday’s championship match at the Internationaux de Strasbourg. Svitolina will be playing for her 15th WTA singles title, her second of 2020, whilst Rybakina will also be playing for her second title of the season and third overall.
It has been an important week for both Svitolina and Rybakina, both were in good form before the tour shutdown, but both had previously struggled to recapture that form prior to Strasbourg. Rybakina is yet to drop a set this week, storming into her fifth final of the season, whilst Svitolina has beaten 3 tricky opponents to reach her second final of the season.
It will be interesting to see how this match-up pans out in the first meeting between the pair. I’m going to side with Svitolina here. Firstly, I believe the surface suits Svitolina in this match-up, Svitolina will have more time to handle the power of Rybakina and get herself into more extended rallies where she should have the edge. Svitolina has the greater stamina and mental strength under pressure. Secondly, I suspect Svitolina will handle the occasion better, Svitolina knows how to get the job done in finals, the same hasn’t been true of Rybakina who has lost 3 of 4 finals this year. Svitolina has also had the tougher draw and will benefit from playing and defeating Aryna Sabalenka in the previous round, a similar type of opponent to Rybakina. The world number 5 should be too solid.
Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Elena Rybakina in 2 sets
??? Internationaux de Strasbourg – QF preview + prediction ?? (2) Elina Svitolina vs. ?? Jill Teichmann
The second seeded Elina Svitolina continues her Strasbourg campaign on Thursday with a quarter-final clash against Switzerland’s Jill Teichmann. This will be the first career meeting between the pair, on paper it is Svitolina who is a big favourite, but Teichmann is in good form and is especially tough to beat on a clay court.
Elina Svitolina is starting to gain some much needed momentum with Roland Garros just around the corner. Svitolina won a couple of tough straight set matches in Rome last week over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Svetlana Kuznetsova and started her Strasbourg campaign with a similarly tough 7-6 7-5 win over Magda Linette after receiving a bye through the opening round. Clay has historically been Svitolina’s favourite surface; her exceptional movement makes her a problematic match-up for anyone on the red dirt.
Jill Teichmann has beaten a pair of tough opponents to reach the final 8 in Strasbourg. The 23-year-old started the week with a 6-2 6-3 win over the 6th seeded Amanda Anisimova. Teichmann secured her spot in the quarter-finals with a hard-fought 7-6 7-5 win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova where she fought from behind in each set.
I’m going to side with the world number 5 here, it feels like Svitolina is heading in the right direction and should be too solid for Teichmann. Svitolina has won several tight sets over her last few matches, a great sign for her that she is playing well in the big moments. Teichmann had some great results on clay in 2019, winning titles in Prague and Palermo, but she also had some terrible results in between. Svitolina’s base level is higher, she will generally win in this match-up and is playing well enough to suggest this will be one of those occasions.
Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Jill Teichmann in 2 sets
bett1 ACES Berlin Exhibition – FINAL ?? ? ?? (1) Elina Svitolina vs. ?? (3) Petra Kvitova
Wednesday’s final at the bett1 ACES Exhibition event in Berlin sees the top seeded Elina Svitolina take on grass court specialist Petra Kvitova. Kvitova heads into this clash as the strong favourite having enjoyed great success in this match-up and having a superior record on grass.
Svitolina received a bye through the opening round in Berlin before booking her spot in the final with a hard-fought 7-6 6-3 win over Anastasia Sevastova. Svitolina’s win over the Latvian was a welcome one, given the world number 5 struggled in her first exhibition event since the office tour’s shutdown Svitolina failed to get out of the group stage at an exhibition event on clay in Switzerland. The Ukrainian was beaten Simona Waltert and Viktorija Golubic whilst only just defeating Stefanie Voegele.
Kvitova is enjoying a short return to grass in Berlin. The world number 12 has cruised into the final with a 6-4 6-1 win over Andrea Petkovic and a 6-3 6-2 win over Kiki Bertens. Kvitova has already enjoyed success at an exhibition event during the official tour’s shutdown as she won the national championships in the Czech Republic last month on a hard court.
Kvitova holds a dominant 7-2 head-to-head record over Svitolina. Kvitova won 7 matches in a row over Svitolina between 2014 and 2018, but it was Svitolina who won their most recent match 6-3 6-3 at the WTA Finals in 2018. This will be the first meeting between the pair on a grass court. Interestingly, all 9 of their previous matches were on a hard court.
All signs point to a Kvitova victory in Berlin. Kvitova’s firepower has traditionally been too much for Svitolina to handle, this factor should be amplified in their first career meeting on a grass court. Kvitova’s form heading into the final is also superior given she breezed through her 2 previous matches this week. Expect Kvitova to be too strong.
Prediction: Petra Kvitova to defeat Elina Svitolina in 2 sets
?? Australian Open, R3 preview + prediction: ?? (5) Elina Svitolina vs. ?? Garbine Muguruza
A blockbuster third round clash at Melbourne Park on Saturday sees the 5th seeded Elina Svitolina take on a resurgent Garbine Muguruza. This is an early heavyweight battle at the first major of the year, two players that expect to be featuring at the later stages of major events doing battle for a spot in the round of 16.
Elina Svitolina arrived in Melbourne without a win to her name in 2020 but has done well to move through her first couple of matches at Melbourne Park without dropping a set. The 5th seed started the tournament with a 6/4 7/5 win over Katie Boulter before winning a late night clash with Lauren Davis 6/2 7/6. Svitolina is typically the type of player to get better and better as a tournament progresses, the Ukrainian will certainly need to raise her level against Muguruza in the next round in what will be her first major test of the tournament thus far.
Garbine Muguruza has come through a couple of rollercoaster matches to reach the third round at Melbourne Park. Muguruza started the week with a bizarrely lopsided 0/6 6/1 6/0 win over Shelby Rogers before battling past a nervy Ajla Tomljanovic 6/3 3/6 6/3. Muguruza’s ranking has significantly dropped over the last 12 months but the 2-time former Grand Slam champion is showing signs that she is getting her game back together, albeit in patches.
This has historically been a favourable match-up for Svitolina. It is the Ukrainian who holds a 5-2 head-to-head record over Muguruza at the tour level. All 5 of Svitolina’s victories over Muguruza have been on a hard court, including their most recent match which ended in a 7/5 6/2 victory for Svitolina in Wuhan late last year.
I’m going to side with Svitolina here. History shows that this is a good match-up for Svitolina and it is easy to see why. Svitolina is one of the toughest competitors on tour and also one of the most consistent, she gives nothing away for free and fights for every single point. Muguruza is a streaky player who often goes missing for periods in a match, we have seen that from the Spaniard in both of her matches at this event. Svitolina will always be there to take advantage of that drop and that is why she has a strong record over the Spaniard. Svitolina is simply too solid, Svitolina has the defensive skills, variety and stamina to cause Muguruza a whole heap of problems on a hard court.
Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Garbine Muguruza in 2 sets
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???? WTA Finals – Shenzhen Final preview ?? (1) Ashleigh Barty vs. ?? (8) Elina Svitolina
A blockbuster championship match will conclude the inaugural WTA Finals Shenzhen as top seed and world number 1 Ashleigh Barty comes up against defending champion Elina Svitolina. It is Svitolina who heads into this match with a distinct edge given her dominant 5-0 head-to-head record over the Aussie. However, Barty has improved significantly in 2019, has the world number 1 improved her game enough to finally get the better of Svitolina?
Ash Barty has the chance to finish her greatest season on the ultimate high. Barty will end the year as number 1 and can extend the gap at the top even further by winning the WTA Finals in her first appearance at the event. Barty had a roller-coaster ride through the group stage but still managed to top the red group. Barty started the event with a 3-set win over Belinda Bencic before losing from a set and a break up to Kiki Bertens. The Aussie secured her spot in the final 4 with a straight set win over Petra Kvitova before booking a spot in the final with a hard-fought 4-6 6-2 6-3 win over Karolina Pliskova.
Elina Svitolina heads into Sunday’s final in Shenzhen on an incredible 9-match winning streak at the WTA Finals. The defending champion has been in outstanding form all week, thriving on the grind on the slow courts in Shenzhen. Svitolina topped the purple group with straight set wins over Karolina Pliskova, Simona Halep and Sofia Kenin. The Ukrainian’s first lapse came in her semi-final victory over Belinda Bencic, Svitolina won via retirement 5-7 6-3 4-1. There was an element of luck to Svitolina’s win over Bencic but credit to Svitolina, she is in outstanding shape and simply incredibly tough to beat on this surface.
Svitolina has won all 5 of the previous matches between the pair. 3 of those victories were in straight sets and 4 of them were on hard courts. The most recent match between the pair was the closest Barty has come to victory, Svitolina required over 3 hours to claim a 7-6 5-7 6-4 win over the Aussie in Indian Wells earlier this year.
I have to side with Svitolina here. The head-to-head record does not lie. Svitolina has the clear edge in this match-up having won all 5 of their previous matches. Barty has admitted that Svitolina is her toughest opponent and it is easy to see why. It is incredibly tough for Barty to consistently hit through Svitolina, Svitolina is happy to engage in a scrap with Barty, the Ukrainian is consistent and disciplined and not afraid of the Barty backhand slice, Svitolina is happy to trade cross court over and over again with Barty and will come out on top more often than not. The slow hard courts in Shenzhen favour Svitolina in this match-up, expect the defending champion to be too solid on a surface that will allow her play this match on her terms.
Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Ashleigh Barty in 2 sets
???? WTA Finals – Shenzhen SF #1 preview ?? (8) Elina Svitolina vs. ?? (7) Belinda Bencic
Elina Svitolina and Belinda Bencic will kick-start proceedings on semi-final day at the WTA Finals Shenzhen. Svitolina and Bencic were the last two players to qualify for this year’s tournament but both have continued the recent trend of late entrants having success in the season finale. This should be entertaining clash between two of the tour’s most fearsome competitors.
Elina Svitolina is now just a couple of wins away from becoming the first player to win back-to-back editions of the WTA Finals since 2014. Svitolina is on an 8-match winning streak at the WTA Finals, a truly outstanding effort from the Ukrainian. The 8th seed is once again loving the court conditions at the WTA Finals, the slow, lifeless courts in Shenzhen are perfect for Svitolina, similar to the Singapore courts where Elina captured the title last year. Svitolina went through the group stage without dropping a single set, Svitolina claimed straight set wins over Karolina Pliskova, Simona Halep and Sofia Kenin to top the purple group.
Belinda Bencic has had a topsy-turvy route to the semi-finals in her first appearance at the WTA Finals. Bencic was beaten by Ash Barty in 3 sets on the opening day but responded with a 3 set win of her own against Petra Kvitova. Bencic secured her spot in the final 4 with a bit of luck on her side as Bertens retired ill midway through their crucial winner takes all clash. Bencic has nothing to lose this week and remains a big threat given her impressive record over top opponents.
It is Bencic who heads into this match with a 2-1 record over Svitolina. However it was Svitolina who came out on top in their most recent clash, a 6-2 6-4 win for Svitolina at the Rogers Cup earlier this year.
I’m going to side with Svitolina here. There is absolutely no doubt that Svitolina has been the most impressive player throughout the group stage, Svitolina is remarkably solid and just so tough to beat at the moment on these slow courts. The conditions should be favourable for Svitolina in this match-up, Bencic likes absorb and redirect pace but she won’t be able to do that easily in this match-up, instead she will be forced into a baseline scrap with many long rallies, this certainly favours Svitolina who is quicker, stronger and mentally tougher.
Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Belinda Bencic in 2 sets
???? WTA Finals – Shenzhen RR preview ?? (8) Elina Svitolina vs. ?? (Alt) Sofia Kenin
Elina Svitolina and Sofia Kenin will go head-to-head for the fifth time in 2019 when they do battle on the final day of group stage matches at the 2019 WTA Finals Shenzhen. The pair have split their four previous meetings, each match was tight with at least 1 tiebreak being played in each of their previous matches.
The scenario heading into this match is a strange one. Svitolina has already secured top spot in the purple group and will be playing Belinda Bencic in the semi-finals on Saturday regardless of what happens in this match. Meanwhile Kenin received a late call to play as the second alternate when Bianca Andreescu pulled out of her final group stage match due to injury. Essentially this is a dead rubber as Kenin can’t progress and Svitolina is through, however there are ranking points and prize money at stake.
Elina Svitolina has made a perfect start to her title defense in Shenzhen and has easily been the most impressive player of the tournament thus far. The Ukrainian kick-started her title defense with a 7-6 6-4 win over Karolina Pliskova before defeating Simona Halep 7-5 6-3. The slow, lifeless courts in Shenzhen are proving to be a perfect surface for Svitolina, just as the similar surface was for her last year in Singapore. Svitolina heads into this match having won her last 7 matches at the WTA Finals, an amazing run given the quality of opposition.
Sofia Kenin will get one last chance to shine in 2019. Kenin has been one of the most improved players this year and deservedly gets a chance to play on the biggest stage. It has been a long season for the American who was competing at the Elite Trophy in Zhuhai last week where she failed to progress through the group stage.
The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 2 wins apiece. The most recent match between the two took place in Beijing a month ago where Svitolina won 6-3 6-7 6-3. Matches between these two are always a physical battle with many long rallies, expect the same here on a slow court.
This is a tough match to predict given circumstances. Svitolina is through and Kenin can’t progress. I’m going to side with Kenin. It is Kenin who knows this is her last match, she can give her all, whilst Svitolina knows she has to play Bencic tomorrow in the semi-finals. In a match-up that requires Svitolina to grind for victory it wouldn’t be wise for the defending champion to push too hard. If Kenin gets on top early the resistance from Svitolina may understandably be minimal.
Prediction: Sofia Kenin to defeat Elina Svitolina in 2 sets
???? WTA Finals – Shenzhen RR preview ?? (5) Simona Halep vs. ?? (8) Elina Svitolina
Simona Halep and Elina Svitolina will reignite their rivalry when they do battle in the opening singles match on Wednesday at the WTA Finals Shenzhen. Halep and Svitolina both claimed hard-fought victories to kick-start their Shenzhen campaigns and will head into this match full of confidence. The winner of this match will be the first from the purple group to secure a spot in the semi-finals, who will it be?
Simona Halep claimed a memorable 3-6 7-6 6-3 victory over Bianca Andreescu to begin her 6th consecutive appearance at the WTA Finals. Halep fended off match point late in the second set before running away with the match in the decider thanks to her superior toughness and stamina. It will be interesting to see how Halep recovers in time for her match with Svitolina, a match that will probably be even tougher for the reigning Wimbledon champion.
Elina Svitolina made a positive start to her title defense at the WTA Finals. The Ukrainian claimed a typically gutsy 7-6 6-4 win over Karolina Pliskova. Svitolina’s trademark toughness was on display as she edged past the big-hitting Pliskova 14-12 in the opening set tiebreak, finally converting on seventh set point before sneaking through in the tight second set. Svitolina has now won an impressive 6 consecutive matches at this event and will fancy her chances of extending that streak to 7 victories against Halep.
The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 4 wins apiece, this is indeed one of the most even match-ups on tour with both players possessing similar strengths and vulnerabilities. Halep has won the last couple of matches between the pair, both in 2019. Most recently Halep won 6-1 6-3 in the final 4 at Wimbledon.
This is of course a very difficult match to predict. I will give the slight edge to Svitolina. The defending champion is probably favoured by the slow, low bouncing hard courts in this match-up. This will be a total grind and that favours Svitolina. Svitolina looked sharp in her opening win over Pliskova whilst Halep was admittedly exhausted after a very tough win over Andreescu. It feels like Svitolina is in slightly better shape heading into this match as well as being slightly favoured by the conditions.
Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Simona Halep in 3 sets