An in-form Elina Svitolina will look to finally make her slam breakthrough in Paris this fortnight. The Ukrainian is one of the stronger clay players on the tour and will hope to improve on her career best of the quarter finals in Paris. She opens against Varvara Gracheva in what should be a fairly routine opener for the No.3 seed.
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Gracheva is one of a number of young and upcoming Russians on the tour. The 20 year-old was ranked outside the top 400 at the start of 2019 but is now at a career high inside the top 90. Much of this was down to her impressive form at ITF level, especially in 25Ks. However, she has had some good performances at the top level including a third round at the US Open. Her ITF success came in large part on clay but the step up has proven tough for her on this surface.
Svitolina will be in confident mood having sealed the Strasbourg title this weekend. She picked up some good wins including against Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina, both of which came in three sets. “It was important to regroup and to get back into the match. It was really positive stuff for me,” she said after a poor second set. “Normally the tournaments are playing in really hot conditions. We were happy to finish today. In the end we got lucky to play. It’s different conditions to what we were expecting. I handled these conditions and the conditions well here in Strasbourg.”
Svitolina should be expecting to at least make the quarter finals with the draw she has been handed and an extra week of preparation in the colder and wetter conditions should bode her well. Class should tell in this one and allow Svitolina to ease into the tournament.
Prediction – Elina Svitolina in straight sets