Elina Svitolina kicks off her French Open campaign against a dangerous floater, Yaroslava Shvedova.
(5) Elina Svitolina [No.6] vs Yaroslava Shvedova [No.45]
Overview: Yaroslava Shvedova can be a dangerous opponent when she’s on – she has a big game, can overpower opponents. However it has not happened this way for the Kazakh in 2017. After a solid 2016 which saw her reach the quarterfinals of Wimbledon and the Premier Mandatory tournament in Beijing, and a fourth round appearance in the US Open, things have toned down in the new year. Her 2017 started with a five-match losing streak, before failing to win back-to-back matches in any tournament until Nuremburg which was last week, and that was against two players outside the Top 100. She can play on clay, but it hasn’t been seen this year.
On the contrary, Elina Svitolina has been having a fantastic 2017. She had a solid Australian swing, which saw her reach the semifinals in Brisbane and the third round in the Aussie Open. Things started to heat up when she won the International title in Taipei City, however she did not even need to beat a single Top 50 player en route to the title. But then the Top 50 wins came – in Dubai, she beat four in a row – Christina McHale, Lauren Davis, Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki to capture her first Premier 5 title. Another came, this time on the clay in Rome, beating clay court stalwarts Garbine Muguruza and Simona Halep en route to the victory. Don’t forget she won another clay court tournament in Istanbul. Svitolina’s game has been improving and improving since she had a breakout season at 2013, but we haven’t seen it translate to the majors, where her best performance was in the 2015 French Open, reaching the quarterfinals. Will it all change this year?
Head to head: Shvedova won their only encounter in Wimbledon last year – a 6-2 3-6 6-4 tussle.
Random stat: Svitolina is 11-2 on the clay this year (incl. Fed Cup) while Shvedova is on the total contrary with three wins to four losses, none of the wins coming against Top 100 players!
Thoughts: Shvedova is a dangerous match up for Svitolina – she can overpower the Ukranian on a good day. However like I mentioned above Shvedova couldn’t have endured a more worse start to the season than hers. Still Shvedova is an excellent player with credentials on clay, while Svitolina is having a totally new experience coming into the French as one of the favourites and as a Top 5 seed. Could see this being a tight tussle but Svitolina for the win.