Fixture: Elina Svitolina vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Date: 16 September 2020
Tournament: Italian Open 2020
Round: Second Round (Round of 32)
Venue: Rome, Italy
Category: WTA Premier 5
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €1,771,082
Match timing: 8:30 pm CEST, 12 midnight IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN
Elina Svitolina vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova preview
This is a tricky fixture for both players, who often find the going tough against one another. It could perhaps be even trickier this time around for Elina Svitolina, as she has not played any competitive tennis since March this year.
On the other hand, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has had a feel of clay already, having played two competitive matches (combined) at Palermo and Rome. The Russian lost in the opening round of Palermo but has registered a win against Shuai Zhang at the same stage in Rome.
What Svitolina has going for her is the fact that she loves playing on clay. The slowness of the surface suits the patient nature of her game, which sees her indulging in several long rallies. As such, it likely won't take too long for the Ukrainian to find her footing against the Russian tomorrow.
Pavlyuchenkova, meanwhile, hasn’t had too much success on this surface over the course of her career. The 29-year-old has won a mere three titles on clay, the last of which came in 2018.
That said, Pavlyuchenkova has had a bit of a renaissance over the last couple of years. The Russian has two Grand Slam quarterfinal appearances in this period, including one at this year’s Australian Open.
Elina Svitolina vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova head-to-head
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova leads Elina Svitolina by a margin of 3-1 in the head-to-head. Their last match was at the 2017 Australian Open, which was won by the Russian.
This match at Rome will be their first ever encounter on clay.
Elina Svitolina vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova prediction
Elina Svitolina and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova have rather contrasting styles of play. While Svitolina is more of a defensive-minded player who prefers to tactically handcuff her opponents, Pavlyuchenkova is an extremely aggressive player who excels at hitting the ball hard and flat.
The Ukrainian can trouble Pavlyuchenkova with her first serve, which has seen considerable improvement lately. But she would have to be careful to not let her see too many second serves, as the Russian can hit really big returns when she's in the groove.
The key for Svitolina would be to get a feel of the match by engaging in longer rallies at the start. But this would be a difficult task against Pavlyuchenkova, who likes to go for winners with every other stroke.
As such, the fourth-seeded Svitolina will have to ensure that her defense is at its best. Deep topspin-heavy groundstrokes from the Ukrainian could help draw out errors from the inconsistent Pavlyuchenkova.
Prediction: Elina Svitolina to win in three sets.Published 15 Sep 2020, 23:50 IST