Fixture: Elina Svitolina vs Svetlana Kuznetsova
Date: 18 September 2020
Tournament: Italian Open 2020
Round: Third round (Round of 16)
Venue: Rome, Italy
Category: WTA Premier 5
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €1,771,082
Match timing: Not before 7 pm CEST, 10.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN
Elina Svitolina vs Svetlana Kuznetsova preview
26-year-old Elina Svitolina from Ukraine, ranked No. 6 in the world, will go up against 35-year-old Svetlana Kuznetsova from Russia, ranked No. 38 in the world, in the Rome third round on Friday.
Svitolina is a former World No. 3 and a two-time champion at the Italian Open while Kuznetsova is a former World No. 2 and a two-time Grand Slam winner.
Both players skipped the recent hardcourt events in New York, including the US Open, as they did not want to travel to the United States during the current pandemic. This is Svitolina's first tournament since the WTA event in Monterrey in February, which she won.
In her first match this week, Svitolina scored a straight sets win over a tough competitor - Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Kuznetsova lost her first match last week in Istanbul to Eugenie Bouchard, who went all the way to the finals. However, the Russian veteran has won both her matches this week in three sets, over World No. 60 Bernarda Pera and No. 14 seed Anett Kontaveit.
Elina Svitolina vs Svetlana Kuznetsova head-to-head
Elina Svitolina leads the head to head in this series 3-1, but all of their four matches have come on hardcourts.
Kuznetsova defeated Svitolina in three sets at her home event in Moscow in 2016. Svitolina on the other hand has registered wins at the Australian Open in 2014, the Cincinnati Masters in 2018 and the Wuhan Open in 2019 - dropping just one set in total.
Elina Svitolina vs Svetlana Kuznetsova prediction
Both players are very consistent from the baseline, so this could be a real slugfest. Svitolina has the fresher wheels - being almost a decade younger - but the Russian has that much more experience.
It's going to come down to who can go on the offense more efficiently in the match, while also keeping their error count at a minimum. This is a tough one to call and I'm tilted in favor of the Ukrainian player, by just about a tiny sliver.
Prediction: Elina Svitolina to win in three sets.Published 17 Sep 2020, 21:15 IST