Two of the top youngsters on the tour face off on Sunday with Clara Tauson looking to pull of the shock win against one of the in-form players on tour right now – Iga Swiatek. Their only meeting was won by Swiatek in Fed Cup action, when the 17 year-old Pole beat her 16 year-old opponent.
Swiatek picked up her first title of the year last month, reeling off a set of impressive wins on the way to the Doha title. Her opener here against a far less established opponent in Anhelina Kalinina was bizarre one, losing the first set before crushing the Ukrainian 5-7 6-1 6-0. “I think at the beginning, I was too focused on the conditions. I was a little bit distracted by what was going on with the wind … I had to find my rhythm, and in the second set, I did that,” Swiatek said on-court after. “I’m pretty happy that I could turn my hat on to ‘fight mode’ and really stay focused, because that was the key.”
Like many young players, Tauson is struggling with consistency in the early stages of her career on tour. However, the Dane is one to look out for and has shown glimpses, including an impressive win against an in-form Anett Kontaveit in Melbourne. She eased past Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-4 6-3 in the last round to make it this far.
This would be the kind of match that Tauson needs to win to show she is fully ready to take the next step towards becoming a consistent top 20 player on tour. Swiatek is looking in impressive shape at the moment though and should win this one but will need to be careful as the Dane can match her for power. She is a much stronger player in many aspects and if this one drags out, she is far more suited to a lengthier match.
Prediction – Iga Swiatek win straight sets