An intriguing match-up between two of the WTA’s rising stars, world No. 18 Sloane Stephens and world No. 35 Elina Svitolina, is scheduled to take place in the second round of the Family Circle Cup on Wednesday afternoon. This marks the second time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Stephens leading the head-to-head series 1-0. Their first encounter also took place this season in the third round of the Australian Open.
American No. 2 Sloane Stephens is coming off a disappointing week in Miami, where she exited in the third round following a 6-0, 6-1 thrashing to Caroline Wozniacki. It was a contrasting performance in comparison to Indian Wells, where she reached the quarter-final round before losing to the eventual champion Flavia Pennetta. Prior to that, she lost in the opening round of both Dubai and Doha, emphasizing the turbulent season she is currently partaking in. She will be looking to rebound at her first clay court tournament this season, where she is scheduled to face the top ranked teenager in Elina Svitolina.
World No. 35 Elina Svitolina has made some magnificent strides over the past few months, as she reached the fourth round in Miami last week, which lifted her to a career high of world No. 35. The new ranking also means she is the new No. 1 teenager on the professional tour, a position Stephens used to hold when she was a teenager. Apart from her fourth round appearance at the Miami Premier Mandatory event, she also managed a quarter-final showing in Paris and a career-best third round exit from the season-opening Grand Slam event in Melbourne, making her one of the bright young stars of the upcoming generation. She is 10-7 this season and coming off a 6-1 5-7 7-6(5) win over Australia’s Jarmila Gajdosova.
This marks the second time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Stephens leading the series 1-0. Her only victory over Svitolina came this season, in the third round of the Australian open, which she won 7-5, 6-4. This will be a slightly different match-up, as Svitolina is currently in form, while Stephens will need to adjust to competing on clay. While Svitolina is more than capable of a victory tomorrow, Stephens should manage it in three sets.
Prediction: Sloane Stephens in Three Sets