American Sloane Stephens, the world number six, will play Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia in the first round of the 2019 Sydney International on January 8.
Watch & bet on Sloane Stephens v Ekaterina Alexandrova live in the WTA Sydney International with bet365 here* on Tuesday, January 8. The Kerber v Giorgi match will begin around 2 pm local time (3 am BST).
*Geo-restrictions apply & pre-funded account needed
Sloane Stephens v Ekaterina Alexandrova Head to Head
The pair have never met before on the WTA Tour and, for many people, Alexandrova may be something of an unknown quantity.
The 24-year old who lives in the Czech Republic, is currently ranked 72 in the world. She is a right-hander with a two-handed backhand. She has never won a senior WTA event, but does hold two titles on the Challenger Tour to her name, both victories coming in 2016.
To date she has only claimed one win against a player who was in the world’s top ten at the time, beating Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko in the second round of the Korea Open in Seoul last September.
Stephens is a year older and vastly more experienced, with six WTA titles to her name, including the 2017 US Open. She was also a beaten finalist in last year’s French Open.
The American is coming off some good form as well, having made it to the final of the WTA Finals, but that had come after opening round exits at Moscow, Wuhan and Tokyo.
Alexandrova needed to qualify for this event with two wins in that qualifier, after having lost in round two in Shenzhen to Aryna Sabalenka. She ended the previous season with a final appearance at Linz after having qualified for it as well.
Stephens versus Alexandrova – Who will Win?
As might be expected, Stephens, who was seeded four going into the tournament before the withdrawal of Naomi Osaka, is odds-on favourite to win the match, with bookmakers offering odds of 8/15 for her to emerge victorious. Alexandrova is priced at 7/4 but it will be a major surprise if she were to upset Stephens and progress to the next round.