US Open 2017 First Round Preview: Elina Svitolina vs Katerina Siniakova

Elina Svitolina is considered as one of the dark horses of the 2017 US Open – but first she has to get past a really dangerous unseeded player in two time WTA champion Katerina Siniakova.

For Svitolina and other players’ draw breakdown, check out my draw preview here

[4] Elina Svitolina (No.4)

Recent performances

Cincinnati: 3R [i. Goerges]

Toronto: W [d. Wozniacki]

Wimbledon: 4R [i. Ostapenko]

Elina Svitolina is arguably the best player on the WTA outside of the Grand Slams this year. Starting the year at No.14, she has climbed up to a career-high ranking of No.4 courtesy of five titles, including three Premier 5 wins in Dubai, Rome and Toronto. After all these endeavors, Svitolina even has a chance of claiming the No.1 ranking during these two weeks and she must at least make the semifinals here with other players’ results going her way. However, she has had a habit of losing her way at the Slams. She has only reached two Slam quarterfinals at the 2015 and 2017 French Open. The Ukranian actually held a couple of match points in the latter event to make the semifinals but failed. Will the 2017 US Open be the place that Svitolina turns her Slam fortunes around?

Katerina Siniakova (No.42)

Recent performances

New Haven: 1R [i. Peng]

Toronto: 1R [i. Giorgi]

Cincinnati: 2R [i. Williams]

Katerina Siniakova has got a 21-18 record to the season thus far but that covers up her big points of the year. Her season got off to a bang in Shenzhen by capturing her first WTA title in Shenzhen, beating two Top 10 players enroute to the title. Siniakova added a second title to her name by beating Caroline Wozniacki in Bastad, but hasn’t done much other than those as she suffered eight first round losses this year. Her summer hard court swing was mediocre too as she only managed to amass one win in Cincinnati, Toronto and New Haven.

Stat: Siniakova has a very impressive 3-3 record against Top 10 players this year, beating the likes of Johanna Konta, Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki (the first two wins came in January in Shenzhen though). Against players ranked in the No.40~50 range, Svitolina is 4-1 against them (only lost came to Goerges).

Thoughts: This is a tough opener for Svitolina and she needs to be firing out of the blocks in this early opener. However, Siniakova is a decent match-up for Svitolina as she does not have the raw power to blow Svitolina off court. Her best weapons are the backhand down the line and her net arrays but Svitolina’s fast movement and counter-punching can deal with them. Unless Siniakova produces a stunner of a performance and outlast Svitolina in long rallies, I think the Ukranian should be able to win this.

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