Having seen several of her rivals pass her by in recent years and pick up slams, Elina Svitolina will be hoping that 2020 is the year for her to pick up her maiden title. She will begin her tournament against Katie Boulter, who is in the midst of a return having been injured for the whole of the second half of the season.
Boulter had been progressing nicely over the past two years and may well have fancied her chances of a top 50 spot at the end of 2019 but her season was cut short in April after an injury picked up in Fed Cup action. She will have to work her way back from outside the top 300 now, having played a few ITFs and a qualifying match in Adelaide prior to this match.
Svitolina remains one of the best defensive players on the tour but could be vulnerable to aggressive players in the zone. That appears to have been the case in her lone match this year, where she was blasted off the court 6-1 6-1 by Danielle Collins. The Ukranian should be pleased with having made her first and second slam semi finals at the end of last year, having lost at the quarter final stage four times prior including the last two years in Melbourne. She will hope she can take the next step this year, having proved elsewhere she can hang with the best of the tour.
Svitolina added a newly retired Marcos Baghdatis to her coaching team over the winner and will hope the 2006 losing men’s finalist can provide some vital insight into how to go far in Australia. It’s a draw that looks reasonable favourable for the Ukrainian, residing in the same quarter as Karolina Pliskova – who she has four straight wins against.
Prediction – Elina Svitolina in straight sets