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Monterrey Open 2020: Sloane Stephens vs Emma Navarro, match preview and prediction

  • Can Stephens finally get her season on track against the up-and-coming Navarro?
ANALYST
Preview
Modified 02 Mar 2020, 22:23 IST

Fifth seed Sloane Stephens has struggled for form this season.
Fifth seed Sloane Stephens has struggled for form this season.

Fifth-seeded American Sloane Stephens will step out in the first round of the 2020 Monterrey Open in desperate need of a victory following a horrid start to the season.

The 26-year-old former US Open champion has participated in four tournaments this year, but has yet to win a match. Her first-round opponent in Monterrey is another American, 18-year-old wildcard Emma Navarro.

This will be the first career meeting between the two and considering Stephens's struggles this season, it is bound to be a close encounter.

18-year-old Emma Navarro has done exceptionally at the junior level.
18-year-old Emma Navarro has done exceptionally at the junior level.

Navarro performed exceptionally well at the junior level coming into 2020. Not only did she reach the semifinals and finals at Wimbledon and French Open respectively, but she also triumphed in doubles in Paris.

The young American's game is very similar to Stephens'. Both women love to get involved in prolonged rallies without going for broke early on. They rely on the opponents' pace which helps them play a classic counter-punching style of tennis.

Navarro has herself spoken about how she likes to test the waters at the beginning of an encounter before going for her shots. She has, even at this early part of her career, developed a reputation for taking matches the distance.

Stephens will have to step out of her comfort zone and take control of the match early on.
Stephens will have to step out of her comfort zone and take control of the match early on.

While that style of play has proven successful at the junior level, it might not prove too fruitful against a Grand Slam champion and former top 10 player.

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For Stephens, it will be key to establish her authority early on. She should go into the match expecting Navarro to get better with each passing game.

If Stephens manages to step out of her comfort zone and be aggressive from the get-go, she should be able to apply the squeeze on Navarro.

Prediction: Stephens to win in three sets.

Published 02 Mar 2020, 22:23 IST
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