World No. 73, Sloane Stephens of the USA will take on the 65th-ranked Ludmile Samsonova of Russia in the third round of the 2021 Wimbledon Championship on Friday, July 2. Get the live streaming options of this Sloane Stephens v Ludmile Samsonova match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Sloane Stephens v Ludmila Samsonova Head to Head
The pair have played each other once before, their previous meeting coming in Brisbane last year on hard courts, Samsonova winning a tight three set battle.
Stephens Rediscovering Some Old Form
Former US Open Champion reached the quarter-finals, back in 2013, and, after years where her form had been in decline, had shown some signs of a recovery this year.
However, she was not expected to go far in the championship after being drawn against two-time champion Petra Kvitova in the first round, but she produced some excellent tennis to beat the world number ten in straight sets, outplaying her opponent both on serve and on the return.
That earned her a second-round tie against compatriot Kristie Ahn, ranked 117 in the world, who had made it through qualifying, and that proved to be a routine win for Stephens.
Both women were a little erratic in the first set, and both dropped their serve twice, but Ahn was consistently under pressure, and failure to hold for a third time enabled Stephens to serve out.
Ahn was then broken early in the second set and, although she recovered it, she was only on level terms briefly, before Stephens broke her once more.
And this time Stephens made sure with another break to wrap the match up.
Samsonova Shines on Wimbledon Debut
The 22-year old Russian has never played at Wimbledon before, but she came into the tournament in great heart having captured her first ever senior WTA title, the German Open, on grass, last month.
And, in reaching the third round, she has now exceeded her previous best at a Grand Slam, a second round appearance in Melbourne earlier this year.
She began with a straight sets win over Kaia Kanepi, the Estonian ranked 78th in the world, in a match which saw an even first set before the Russian took control of proceedings and dominated the second.
Her next opponent was the American Jessica Pegula, the world number 26, and number 22 seed, who had been tipped by some to go far in the Championship this year.
The first set saw Samsonova put the Pegula serve under pressure, and, although the American saved the first break point against her, four games later she could not hold after a long game featuring seven deuce points.
Pegula then had two break back opportunities, but could not take either of them.
However, the American hit back in the second set, and was soon two breaks to the good. Samsonova got one of them back, but the match went to a third and deciding set.
That proved largely to be a service battle until in the eight game, Samsonova forced, and converted, the only break point of the set, She closed out the match next game.
Stephens v Samsonova Prediction and Tip
Although Samsonova is inexperienced in Grand Slams, she will start the favourite, because she is in form on grass as that win in Germany proved. Stephens though will not make it easy for her, and will be hoping that her career resurgence can continue.