World number 33 Sloane Stephens will take on 83rd-ranked Japanese player Nao Hibino in the first round of the 2020 WTA Strasbourg Open on Monday, September 21. The match is expected to begin at around 4 pm local time (3 pm BST). Get the live streaming options of this Sloane Stephens v Nao Hibino match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Sloane Stephens v Nao Hibino Head to Head
There have been no previous encounters between Stephens and Hibino before this.
Stephens Sent out Early in Rome
Amidst all the noise around Stephens’ US Open win in 2017 and the subsequent loss of form which has resulted in some inconsistent performances and a drastic drop in the rankings, there is a chance quite a few would have forgotten her 2018 French Open showing.
Stephens, who has played a lot of hard court tennis right from her formative days, doesn’t have too terrible a record on clay. In fact, in that long ‘forgotten’ French Open in 2018, the American made it to the final before losing to Simona Halep. Wins over Camila Giorgi, Anett Kontaveit, Daria Kasatkina and Madison Keys had punctuated her runnerup trophy in that tournament.
Even in 2019, despite all her form issues, Stephens managed a quarterfinal at the same tournament which included a win over Garbine Muguruza; thereby underlining her credentials on clay. Interestingly, in the only match she has played on clay on the tour this year came earlier this week in Rome where she lost in straight sets to Muguruza.
As she looks to sharpen her claws before the last Grand Slam of the season begins at Roland-Garros next week, Stephens has a decent draw as she takes on a low-ranked player in her opener and doesn’t face a see till possibly the quarterfinals. Can she remove that cloak of inconsistency off though?
Hua Hin Semifinalist Hibino in a Strife
Nao Hibino had qualified for the Australian Open and then marched into the second round before losing in a fighting couple of sets to Maria Sakkari. Then a semifinal at the Hua Hin Open turned out to be the high point for Hibino who had won her second WTA title last year.
Unfortunately for her, since then a combination of loss of form and rustiness due to the pandemic break have combined to make things rather difficult. After exiting in the second round in Acapulco, Hibino has lost her opener at the Indian Wells Challenger, failed to qualify fr the Cincinnati Open after the break, lost her first round match at the US Open to Muguruza too and then sent out in the Rome Open qualifier.
As Hibino begins her preparations for the French Open where she has never gotten beyond the first round, she would hope to give her opponent bit of a fight here.
Sloane Stephens v Nao Hibino Prediction & Tip
Stephens is a whopping 1/4 to win this and 8/13 to do that in straight sets. We think we could see the Japanese put up some resistance but the American to still win.
Tip: Over 19.5 games in the match: 5/6 (bet365)