It’s the battle of the younger stars as 23-year-old Elina Svitolina takes on 22-year-old Elise Mertens with both players aiming for their maiden Grand Slam semifinal appearance. Read on for the Australian Open quarterfinal preview…
Australian Open Quarterfinals
Elise Mertens (No.36) vs  Elina Svitolina (No.4)
Elise Mertens is backing up her breakthrough year in 2017 so, so well in January that she is set to enter the world’s top 25 once the tournament ends. Mertens is actually competing in the Australian Open main draw for the first time ever but she will definitely be no easy opponent for Svitolina. Mertens has won her last 11 of 12 matches, with her only loss of the year coming to Angelique Kerber. You could say Mertens has had a relatively easy draw to reach the last 8 here but she still has worked hard in Melbourne with wins over qualifier Kuzmova, Daria Gavrilova, Alize Cornet and Petra Martic.
Elina Svitolina is another player who’s on a winning streak and for her the win total has reached up to nine victories. Svitolina has been constantly criticised for her lack of good results in Grand Slams but with the seeds in her quarter – Venus Williams, Julia Goerges and Sloane Stephens all exiting the tournament in the first couple of days, Svitolina did not need to play a single top 50 player throughout the whole tournament. She claimed wins over Ivana Jorovic, Katerina Siniakova, 15-year-old Marta Kostyuk and Denise Allertova. Mertens will be the first top 30-ish player she’s playing, so she will definitely need to increase her level…
Stats: Throughout Mertens’ run to the quarterfinals, the average ranking of her opponents is at 68, while Svitolina’s opponent’s average ranking is at 248.
The last time Svitolina lost to a player outside of the top 30 was in August in Cincinnati, to Julia Goerges.
Mertens is 1-3 against top 10 players, with her only win against Dominika Cibulkova in Beijing.
Head to head: Svitolina won their only encounter in Istanbul on clay last year; a 6-2 6-4 victory.
Thoughts: I suspect Svitolina might win this pretty comfortably. Both have similar games but Mertens has played a ton of tennis in the past few days, having played both singles and doubles in Hobart and in Melbourne as well. The match against Martic showed that she is feeling a little fatigue, having lost a 4-0 lead in the first set at first. Svitolina is the more experienced player and I believe her defenses and motivation to break new ground in a Slam will come through.
Prediction: Elina Svitolina d. Elise Mertens in two sets
Australian Open predictions are here, you can find them at the menu at the top of the blog as well. Thanks for reading! 🙂