?? Australian Open, R1 Preview
?? (5) Sloane Stephens vs. ?? Taylor Townsend
Sloane Stephens is the great unknown heading into the 2019 Australian Open. The 2017 US Open champion begins her Melbourne Park campaign with an opening round match-up against Taylor Townsend. At her best, Stephens is a genuine contender for the title, however, on current form she is no guarantee to get through this potentially tough first round match with Townsend.
Stephens has made a typically lackluster start to the season. Stephens started the year in Brisbane where she looked lethargic in a straight set loss to Johanna Konta. Stephens fought harder in Sydney, the American came from a set down to beat Ekaterina Alexandrova in a final set tiebreak in the first round but was unceremoniously dumped from the tournament by Yulia Putintseva in the second round. Stephens led Putintseva by a set and 5-3 before being forced to a deciding set where she did not win a single game.
Taylor Townsend will be searching for her first main draw victory at Melbourne Park on Monday when she takes on the 5th seed. Townsend has only played 1 match in 2019, a decent showing but a loss nevertheless. Townsend was beaten in 3 tight sets at the opening round stage in Auckland by Barbora Strycova.
This will be the first career meeting between Stephens and Townsend.
Which Sloane Stephens will show up to Melbourne Park?