For Svitolina, a Salvaged year, for Stephens Momentum Into 2019
It’s been a solid year for Elina Svitolina and Sloane Stephens. That being said, I would imagine that both these players expected more this year. Especially Stephens, who broke out last year winning the 2017 US Open and was very close to capturing the French Open this year. Unfortunately, she fizzled in the third set against Simona Halep. She then proceeded to lose in the first round of Wimbledon before bowing out in the quarters at the US Open. Her best win came at the Miami Open, where she defeated Jelena Ostapenko. All in all, not a bad year for Stephens, considering the expectations.
Evita Svitolina has had a similar trajectory this year. In 2017 she captured three Premier 5 Tournaments; the Qatar Open, Italian Open and the Canadian Open. Elina has not had a breakthrough at Grand Slams, however she had some momentum coming into 2018. Unfortunately for her, her results have been steady in the smaller tournaments, but lackluster at the Grand Slams. Fortunately for her, she’s accumulated points by defending her Italian Open title, reaching the quarters and semis of top tier tournaments. She stands ranked at number six in the world. Not too shabby for another player with high expectations.
In sum, when these two players met in the WTA Finals, whoever would win would salvage their season from a mediocre one to a solid one. In the end it would be Svitolina winning in three tough sets. This was Svitolina’s biggest win of her career and should provide her with some confidence as she heads to Australia. As for Stephens, she can build momentum off her solid results and head into Australia knowing that her game is good enough to be contending for the biggest tournaments month in and month out.
Look for both Svitolina and Stephens to continue playing top five tennis in 2019, challenging Halep, Osaka and Williams for those coveted Grand Slam titles. It should be an exciting season for the women.