Sloane Stephens vs. Jelena Ostapenko, Eastbourne R2 Preview

Nature Valley International, Eastbourne R2
?? (7) Sloane Stephens vs. ?? Jelena Ostapenko

Two Grand Slam champions will collide in a blockbuster second round clash at the Nature Valley International on Tuesday as the 7th seeded Sloane Stephens takes on Jelena Ostapenko in Eastbourne. Stephens and Ostapenko are two of the most unpredictable players on the WTA tour, both are capable of playing top level tennis but both can also go missing from time-to-time.

Sloane Stephens will be in action for the first time since her disappointing quarter-final loss to Johanna Konta at Roland Garros earlier this month. Grass is traditionally Stephens least preferred surface, the American has nothing to lose over the coming weeks as she has no points to defend given she was beaten in the opening round at Wimbledon last year in the only match she played on the grass. Perhaps the lack of pressure will work in the American’s favour.

Conversely, Jelena Ostapenko is much more comfortable on the grass. Ostapenko arrives in Eastbourne fresh from a quarter-final showing in Birmingham, Ostapenko’s Birmingham campaign did end quite sadly as she squandered 5 match points and a set and a break lead to lose to Petra Martic in the quarter-finals, nevertheless it was a decent week. The pressure is on Ostapenko over the next few weeks as she has to defend semi-final points at Wimbledon.

It was Sloane Stephens who won the only previous match between the pair, a 7-6 6-1 win over the Latvian in the Miami Open final last year. Can Stephens maintain her perfect record over Ostapenko in Eastbourne?

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Simona Halep vs. Su-Wei Hsieh, Eastbourne R2 Preview

Nature Valley International, Eastbourne R2
?? (6) Simona Halep vs. ?? Su-Wei Hsieh

Simona Halep begins her 2019 grass court campaign with a tricky second round match-up against Su-Wei Hsieh at the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne. The last time the pair met it was Hsieh who shocked Halep with a tough 3 set victory at the third round stage of Wimbledon last year. An in-form Hsieh will fancy her chances again here against a potentially rusty opponent.

Simona Halep will be back in action for the first time since her disappointing quarter-final loss to Amanda Anisimova at Roland Garros earlier this month. Grass has always been Halep’s least preferred surface but she has gradually improved on the surface over the years. Halep enters the 2019 grass court season with low expectation and little pressure on her shoulders, perhaps the perfect circumstances for the Romanian.

Su-Wei Hsieh arrives in Eastbourne fresh from winning the doubles title in Birmingham alongside Barbora Strycova. Hsieh won the doubles final in Birmingham on Sunday and was back in action on Monday in Eastbourne where she claimed a hard-fought 6-3 4-6 6-4 win over Camila Giorgi in what was a very high quality match.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. Halep required 3 sets to get past Hsieh in Cincinnati in 2013, whilst more recently Hsieh defeated Halep 3-6 6-4 7-5 at Wimbledon last year. Clearly this is a tough match-up for Halep, especially on grass.

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Danielle Collins vs. Yulia Putintseva, Eastbourne R1 Preview

Nature Valley International, Eastbourne R1
?? Danielle Collins vs. ?? Yulia Putintseva

An interesting opening round clash In Eastbourne sees two of the WTA tour’s feistiest competitors do battle as Danielle Collins takes on Yulia Putintseva. This will be the first career meeting between Collins and Putintseva, expect a drama filled contest between these two.

Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan in action during her quarter-final match at the 2019 Nature Valley Classic WTA Premier tennis tournament

Danielle Collins will be playing her first grass court tournament of the season this week in Eastbourne, her first event since a second round exit at Roland Garros earlier this month. Collins has very limited experience on grass, the American’s run to the quarter-finals in Eastbourne last year was the only time she has won main draw matches on grass.

Yulia Putintseva arrives in Eastbourne in good form after a run to the quarter-finals in Birmingham last week. The Kazakh made a good start to her grass court season in Birmingham as she notably claimed a straight set second round victory over Naomi Osaka, her first ever victory over a number 1 ranked player. Grass is traditionally Putintseva’s least preferred surface but she has certainly improved on the surface and will have gained a huge confidence boost from her win over Osaka.

Neither player will take a backwards step in this one, who will prevail?

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Polona Hercog vs. Barbora Strycova, Eastbourne R1 Preview

Nature Valley International, Eastbourne R1
?? (Q) Polona Hercog vs. ?? Barbora Strycova

Barbora Strycova will look to continue her strong form from Birmingham as she begins her Eastbourne campaign against Polona Hercog. Strycova arrives in Eastbourne in good touch after a run to the semi-finals in Birmingham last week whilst Polona Hercog enters this first round clash match-hardened having won a couple matches to get through the qualifying draw.

Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic in action during her semi-final match at the 2019 Nature Valley Classic WTA Premier tennis tournament

Barbora Strycova has always played her best tennis on grass, her crafty game makes her a threat to anyone on this surface. The Czech started her 2019 grass court campaign with a strong run to the semi-finals in Birmingham where she defeated Heather Watson, Su-Wei Hsieh and Kristyna Pliskova before falling to Ashleigh Barty in a close one. Meanwhile Strycova is also in strong form on the doubles court having gone all the way in Birmingham with Su-Wei Hsieh.

Grass is not as familiar to Polona Hercog, the Slovenian traditionally struggles on this surface but has made a decent start to her 2019 grass court campaign. Hercog defeated Christina McHale before falling to eventual champion Alison Riske in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Hercog made her way through the qualifying draw in Eastbourne with wins over Jill Teichmann and Pauline Parmentier.

Surprisingly it is Hercog who holds a strong head-to-head record over Strycova, Hercog has won 3 of their 4 previous clashes. However, it was Strycova who won their most recent match, a 6-4 6-4 win at Roland Garros in 2016.

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