Sloane Stephens vs. Victoria Azarenka
|Date & Time||Monday May 6, 2019, 7:30 AM (EDT)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Sloane Stephens and Victoria Azarenka meet in the second round of the 2019 tennis Madrid Open.
Sloane Stephens is coming off a straight sets win over Polona Hercog that took 21 games to decide. In the victory, Stephens won 63 percent of her first serve points and 60 percent of her second serve points. Stephens won 62 percent of her total service points and converted on four of her six break points. Stephens saved seven of her nine break points and was much cleaner with her return and unforced errors. Stephens has really had an up and down season, but she’s won five of her last six matches when you include the Fed Cup, so there are signs of her getting back on track. As long as Stephens is controlling the pace of points, she should be fine. Stephens has won three of her last four matches on clay court.
Victoria Azarenka is coming off a straight sets win over Daria Kasatkina that took 22 games to decide. In the victory, Azarenka won 63 percent of her first serve points and 50 percent of her second serve points. Azarenka won 58 percent of her total service points and converted on five of her 10 break points. Azarenka has now won eight of her last 11 matches, easily the best stretch since returning from her pregnancy. It’s still a work in progress, especially with her second serve, but Azarenka is clearly heading in the right direction to being the player she once was. Azarenka has 66 career wins over top-10 players, and two of those wins have come this year. Azarenka has won three of her last four matches on clay court.
These two have played six times and split those six meetings, but Stephens won the last three meetings, including the most recent match in the 2018 US Open. Azarenka’s last win over Stephens came in the 2015 Australian Open. Five of the six matches have been decided in straight sets. This will be the first meeting on clay.
This is a really intriguing match between two top players who are still trying to find their form in 2019. You could make a case for either side with both player experiencing ups and downs. I give the slight edge to Stephens because of her power and what she’ll be able to do with weak second serves. Azarenka is clearly making progress, but there’s stretches where she’s an unforced error machine and isn’t hitting the ball with any confidence.
Stephens should pounce on that.