Stanford QF: (8) Elina Svitolina vs Alison Riske
A great opportunity to reach a rare premier level semi-final presents itself to Elina Svitolina and Alison Riske on Friday when they go head to head at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford.
Elina Svitolina has put in two typically gutsy performances on route to the final 8 in Stanford. The Ukrainian needed three very tight sets to defeat compatriot Kateryna Bondarenko 4-6 6-4 7-5 in her opening match. Svitolina then overcame a strong fight from Nicole Gibbs, prevailing 6-3 7-6 to set up a quarter-final match with Alison Riske.
Alison Riske was also forced to work hard for her opening round victory, defeating Tatjana Maria 6-2 5-7 6-1. The erratic American secured her spot in the final 8 with just her second ever top 10 victory, upsetting Carla Suarez Navarro 6-4 6-4. Alison Riske has typically saved her best tennis for the North American hard courts and is a real threat when she brings her a-game.
This will be the first tour level meeting between Elina and Alison. The two have met at the challenger level, it was Svitolina who prevailed in three sets back in 2012.
This is a tough match to call, however I’m going to give Svitolina the slight edge. The Ukrainian has been far more consistent this year, her base level is far higher than Riske’s. Svitolina will be able to absorb enough of the American’s pace to frustrate Riske. The Ukrainian should grind out yet another victory.
Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Alison Riske in 3 sets