Both Samantha Stosur and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will be searching for their first win of 2017 when they do battle during the first round of the Sydney International. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 1:30pm (AEDT).
Stosur’s build-up to the first grand slam of the year might be reportedly going well off the court, but she hasn’t had enough match practice to prove it yet.
She turned out at an event she has often struggled at – the Brisbane International – to kick start her season, but it fell flat with a first-round exit at the hands of world No.4 Garbine Muguruza.
The problem for Stosur though was not that she lost – it’s that she couldn’t continue her work to prepare for the Australian Open because she played a fantastic style of tennis for the most part over three sets and nearly as many hours.
It was a marked improvement from Stosur on the thrashing she received from Muguruza in the 2016 French Open semi-final and she will be keen to carry that over here for her first win of the season.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, on the other hand always approaches the hard court season with an air of confidence, the surface being by far her best to play on.
She will be hoping to get the better of Stosur here by playing long points and waiting for the noted inconsistency of her opponent to get the better of her.
Unfortunately, for that to happen she has to be in some sort of form herself and she simply isn’t. While conditions were tough at the ASB Classic in Auckland, where she played her first event of the season it was no excuse to be smashed in straight sets.
Ranked in the top 30 now, Pavlyuchenkova had a strong 2016 but looked anything but in her first round Auckland match against Julia Georges going down in a demoralising straight sets defeat.
It was far from a good enough performance for a player who will be likely seeded at the Australian Open and her unforced error count from the game will be truly worrying for the young Russian.
The pair have previously faced off five times with Stosur holding the ledger 3-2, including both times they have met on the hard court. The winner of this match will go on to face fifth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova.
This is going to be a good first round fight – maybe the best match on the card. Stosur will need to defend well, especially against serve, but if her fitness is anything like it was in Brisbane, then she will get the job done in what could turn into quite a long match.
Stosur in three sets.
Be sure to join The Roar for live scores and coverage of the 2017 Sydney International from around 1:30pm (AEDT) or following the completion of Mitch Barton vs Kyle Edmund and don’t forget to add your own comments in the section below.
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