Cincinnati R3: Sloane Stephens vs (6) Ana Ivanovic
Ana Ivanovic has advanced to the third round in Cincinnati without even taking to the courts, a handy slice of fortune for the Serb. The 2014 runner-up will face a strong test in her first match of the tournament when she comes up against Sloane Stephens on Thursday.
Sloane Stephens is playing some good tennis at the moment. The American picked up her first career title a couple of weeks ago in Washington D.C and has also picked up a couple of solid victories on route to the third round in Cincinnati. Sloane breezed past Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1 6-2 in the opening round before setting up a third round clash with Ana Ivanovic courtesy of a 3-6 7-6 6-2 victory over Mona Barthel. Stephens looked to be in trouble late in the second set but played a clean tiebreaker before a rain delay halted proceedings. Sloane was far too good when the play resumed, comfortably winning the third set.
Ever since Ana reached the semi-finals in Paris, her form hasn’t been great. Ana was comfortably defeated by Bencic last week at the quarter-final stage in Toronto, the Serb played a very wayward match. Ana received a bye through to the second round in Cincinnati and a walkover in the third round (courtesy of Venus Williams). It’s hard to know where Ana is at right now.
Ana does hold a 2-1 head to head record over Sloane. However it was the American who emerged victories in their most recent encounter, a 7-6 6-3 victory at Indian Wells last year. I’m going to give Sloane the slight edge heading into this one, the American brings good form into this match and should be a bit too solid for Ivanovic in the quicker conditions.