Former World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka will go head to head with the American Sloane Stephens in the second round of the 2019 Madrid Open. The match will take place on Monday, May 6 and the timings will be announced soon. Get Victoria Azarenka v Sloane Stephens live streaming options here.
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Victoria Azarenka v Sloane Stephens Head to Head
The two ladies have met six times on the WTA Tour and the head to head tally is currently tied at 3-3.
Azarenka won all of their meetings before the pregnancy hiatus. After returning back to the circuit, they met thrice again and this time, it was Stephens who evened the score. They last met in the US Open 2018, where the American won in straight sets.
Azarenka Slowly Finding her Groove
The last couple of weeks have been quite peculiar for Azarenka, but she will be happy with the results she delivered. Following a shaky start to the season, she reached her first singles final on the tour in Monterrey – her first one since the 2016 Miami Open.
She achieved this feat after moving past Angelique Kerber but in the final, she retired against Garbine Mugurza despite being up a set and a break. She was clinical throughout the match but illness forced her hand.
The same thing happened in Stuttgart when she reached the quarterfinal after knocking out Karolina Pliskova and former World No. 2 Vera Zvonareva. She faced Anett Kontaveit for a seat in the semis, but at 5-7, 7-5, 3-0, she retired from the match. This was also her first good run on clay since the 2015 Rome Open.
In Madrid, however, she appeared to have recovered perfectly from those ailments as she stormed past Daria Kasatkina. She won the match 7-5, 6-4, in an hour and 45 minutes to reach the second round.
Stephens Coming In with Some Energy
Sloane Stephens, who was a runner-up in the French Open last year, recently appointed Sven Groeneveld as her new coach. This announcement came as recently as last week, which also saw the American get engaged. With so many developments on-court and off-court, it will be intriguing to see how she fares in Madrid.
Perhaps, her decision to hire Maria Sharapova’s former coach was warranted. Stephens had a rather disappointing start to the season and as a result, slipped out of the top 5. Her best run came in Charleston, where she reached the quarterfinal. In the rest of the tournaments, her performance was rather mediocre.
In Madrid, she started strong with a straight-set win over Polona Hercog.
Azarenka v Stephens Predictions & Tips
Stephens is a player who loves clay. Now, coming in with a coach who mentored Sharapova to the French Open glory in 2014, things will be really intriguing. On the other hand, Azarenka has the experience and is slowly building her momentum. With excellent wins over Kerber and Pliskova in the recent weeks, she can certainly put up a fight here.
Tip: Over 2.5 sets in the match: 8/5 (888Sport)