Cincinnati QF #2: (14) Elina Svitolina vs (7) Lucie Safarova
Elina Svitolina and Lucie Safarova have quietly progressed through to the final 8 this week at the Western & Southern Open to set up an exciting quarter-final clash. This is a big opportunity for both ladies to reach the semi-finals of a premier 5 event and continue to build momentum ahead of the final the Grand Slam of the year.
Elina Svitolina has been typically consistent this week, making the most of a rather favourable draw to reach her 6th quarter-final of the year. The Ukrainian began her week with a three set victory over Alison Riske before recording a tight 7-6 7-5 victory over Eugenie Bouchard. Svitolina saved a set point on the Canadian’s serve during the first set tiebreak. The Ukrainian booked her spot in the final 8 with a convincing 6-0 6-3 win over a wayward Caroline Garcia on Thursday evening. Svitolina hasn’t done anything special this week but she has done what she has needed to do, something she does quite a well. The next step for Elina is to win matches like this, where she isn’t necessarily expected to win.
Safarova arrived in Cincinnati having not won a match since Wimbledon so it has been a good week for Lucie. After receiving a bye into the second round, Lucie Safarova recorded a 6-4 7-5 victory over CoCo Vandeweghe, avenging her loss to the American earlier this year at Wimbledon. Safarova advanced to the final 8 courtesy of Bencic retiring with a wrist injury during their third round clash on Thursday.
Elina Svitolina will head into this match full of confidence. Elina has already picked up 6 victories during the U.S Open series and defeated Lucie Safarova 7-6 7-5 in their only previous encounter earlier this year at Indian Wells. This is a really tough match to call, I’m leaning towards Svitolina who has been all business this week. Svitolina is in the groove whilst Safarova hasn’t really been able to get going this week. I’m not convinced Safarova is playing well enough at the moment to hit through the solid Ukrainian. Svitolina to grin out another win.