Elina Svitolina will be seeking her first win over Ana Ivanovic in what will be a sixth career meeting between the pair on Tuesday in Madrid. This may be Svitolina’s best opportunity though as she comes into the tournament in great spirits, having won her third WTA title in Marrakech at the weekend. Svitolina didn’t beat a top 40 player along the way but unlike the other top seeds in the draw, she didn’t get upset along the way! Svitolina has had a reasonable year and her consistent baseline game (with the occasional nice touch at the net) has seen her inch closer to breaking the top 20. I’m still on the fence as to whether she is capable of going higher in the rankings. Like the other champion from last week, Karolina Pliskova, Svitolina dropped just three games in her Madrid opener. Svitolina beat Daniela Hantuchova, 6-0 6-3 in under an hour as she broke the Slovak’s serve on seven occasions.
Ivanovic’s year has gone rather sour after a promising start in Brisbane where she pushed Maria Sharapova all the way in a terrific final. Ivanovic has been plagued by a foot injury and it seems that she was playing not at 100%. There were reports that Ivanovic was back to full fitness in Stuttgart although she appeared to struggle with her movement in a straight sets loss to Caroline Garcia. In her first round match in Madrid, Ivanovic teetered on the edge before advancing via a retirement from Alexandra Dulgheru. The Romanian player served for the match at 6-2 *6-5. Ivanovic didn’t drop another game after that with Dulgheru retiring hurt down 4-0 in the final set.
In their five previous matches, Svitolina has won just one set. That came in their Indian Wells clash last year where Ivanovic scrambled across the finish line in a third set tiebreak. The pair played on clay last year at Roland Garros where Ivanovic won, 6-3 7-5. Nothing is a given with Ivanovic this year, but i’d go for Ana to maintain her unbeaten record in this match-up, particularly on clay.
Prediction: Ivanovic d. Svitolina in 3 sets
WTA Madrid 2nd Round Predictions
Petra Kvitova d. Coco Vandeweghe in 2 tight sets
Maria Sharapova d. Marina Duque-Marino in 2 sets
Carla Suarez Navarro d. Julia Goerges in 2 sets
Victoria Azarenka d. Ajla Tomljanovic in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)
Varvara Lepchenko d. Barbora Strycova in 3 sets
Sara Errani d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in 2 sets