Toronto R1: Victoria Azarenka vs Elina Svitolina
Victoria Azarenka has been handed another tough first round draw in 2015, the Belarusian will open her Rogers Cup campaign against a determined Elina Svitolina.
Azarenka will be looking to pick up as many ranking points as possible over the next couple of weeks to ensure she doesn’t run into Serena Williams early at the U.S Open. Azarenka’s ranking has held her back in the last two Grand Slams, running into the eventual champion relatively early in the tournament. A strong showing in Toronto would be hugely beneficial.
Elina Svitolina continues to rise up the rankings in season 2015. The Ukrainian kick-started her U.S Open series with a solid set of results in Stanford. Svitolina defeated Bondarenko, Gibbs and Riske on route to the semi-finals at the Bank of the West Classic. The week did end on a sour note for Svitolina, suffering a comprehensive 6-3 6-1 loss to eventual champion Angelique Kerber.
Azarenka won the only previous encounter between the pair, a hard fought 6-3 6-7 6-1 victory in Doha earlier this year. Svitolina’s game is quite similar to Azarenka’s, making this a potentially tough matchup.
Svitolina will be a difficult first round opponent for Azarenka, a challenge that Azarenka will be up for. Expect the Belarussian to have a good week in Toronto, Azarenka looms as one of Serena Williams’ biggest threats over the next couple of months. Azarenka should be too good for Svitolina, she does most things better than the Ukrainian.
Prediction: Victoria Azarenka to defeat Elina Svitolina in 2 sets