WTA Madrid, 2nd Round Preview: Ana Ivanovic v Elina Svitolina

Ana IvanovicElina 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

Poll results: 35% of readers correctly predicted that Kuznetsova would beat Muguruza

Photo in this post by Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

21 thoughts on “WTA Madrid, 2nd Round Preview: Ana Ivanovic v Elina Svitolina

  1. I think its a lack of confidence that is ailing Ana right now more than anything… I do think she’ll come through this one though. Svitolina’s serve isn’t great and Ivanovic is one of the best returners on the WTA.


  2. Actually I liked the way Elina was returning when she won her recent WTA title,Ana is a confidence player to me,she does seem to get down on herself when things aren’t working her way,also maybe one day she will get her ball toss correct,maybe she should go to the Serena Williams Ball Toss Academy:)


  3. I am surprised anyone would make recommendations about the Ivanovic ball toss at this late stage of her career. infact rather than being some sort of a hindrance to her game, it is more or less her trade mark weapon where she could unsettle her opponents with the yips or hit intermittent weird angled aces. even if Svitolina did not beat anyone of repute along the way to her last victory, I think victory over Babos and Schmieldova especially, give hope to the possibility of her first victory against Ivanovic.


  4. The ball toss is one of the most important or even important parts of a service action,Ana’s ball toss is something she should have worked on in her game quite frankly,no I disagree it dosen’t unsettle opponents,in fact most players are apt to double fault.Ana tosses the ball too far in front,sometimes I feel it is a nervous thing at times.


    • Back in 2007/2008 Ana had a *great* serve, one of the best on tour. The bad ball toss came when she struggled to maintain being a world #1 and Slam winner and the more coaches worked on it the worse it got. Over time she’s become able to chase it and it even works to her advantage sometimes, as another poster pointed out.


  5. Hmm quite frankly I have never really liked Ana’s ball toss,agree her whole game fell apart somewhat when she struggled to maintain being No 1,to me she is a confidence player,her bhand continues to be a hindrance in ways,though last year I thought her defense on her bhand improved somewhat.Ana needs to improve on her first rd match,though I think she will defeat Elina.


    • As many faults as Ana has, her game is so enjoyable to watch when it’s working. Her forehand is just beautiful and I personally think she hits more impressive shots than Radwanska often does. She does hers on instinct though rather than a calculated point construction.


      • Spot on. This is why her circa 2007/2008 game play was difficult to beat, she allowed the game to come to her. Mind you, if her serve was anywhere near as efficient as it could be, IMO we would be talking Serene-esque game play territory here, minus the mental fortitude of course. But she is what she is, you just take it as it is.

        The Williams sisters magnified the importance of an effective serve and this put a lot of pressure on the other girls. Someone I feel is going the way of Ana is Bouchard. It seems coaches/lack of confidence is eroding her natural instinctive play.


      • I feel like Bouchard is her own undoing. She’s the Princess Diana of the tennis world. She asked for all this media attention and lapped up the hype and now she can’t take the pressure that comes with it.


  6. Lets face it the Williams sisters changed the way of tennis,apart from their serve,it was also there overall athletic ability,they put the other players on notice,in regards to their fitness ability.I have watched the womens game for nearly 40 years,I am a youngster at heart lol! Serena Williams to me has the best serve in the history of women’s tennis.In regards to Ivanovic regardless of the lack of mental ability,her bhand has always been her weaker shot,both in offensive and defense,though I thought last year she made improvements on her defense bhand wing.


  7. Sveta of late can’t put two games together,I picked her to win in her first rd match,still Sveta to me is one of the best athletics in the womens game,I know she is in the latter part of her career,it is a pity her mind and her body didnt always come together,she should have won more GS titles.Personally Stosur’s game is made for clay,her kick serve is second to best behind Serena Williams,it is a pity she can’t be more consistent.Stosur should have had a GS title on clay beside her name,again she is in the latter part of her career.


    • Stosur’s kick serve doesn’t hold up against taller big ball strikes like Ivanovic, Sharapova and the Williams sisters. She’s only won one match on clay againsr any of those four players (Venus). The ball sits right up in their strike zone when Sam serves.


    • You love them really 😛 I’m surprised she lost, particularly as I looked at the scoreboard and I think she had a MP? Next time I looked, Pavs had won!


    • Italian grunts are far and away the worst in general, though obviously Sharapova, Larcher de Brito and Azarenka take bronze, silver and gold there.


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