American No. 1 Sloane Stephens will face her compatriot Taylor Townsend in the first round of the Australian Open 2019. This will be their first meeting on the tour.
Watch & bet on Sloane Stephens v Taylor Townsend live with bet365 here* on Monday, January 14. The Stephens v Townsend first round match will start at around 1:00 pm local time (2:00 am BST).
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Stephens’ Career-Defining Season in 2018
Sloane Stephens reached her career-best singles ranking as the World No. 3 in 2018 summer, following a remarkable performance on the WTA Tour. Despite starting her season on an uneventful note, she moved on to win the Miami Masters and was also the runner-up at the French Open.
The 2017 US Open champion achieved a similar feat at the Rogers Cup, where she lost to Simona Halep in the final. The World No. 5 eventually qualified for the year-end WTA Finals in Singapore where she lost in the final to Elina Svitolina.
Over the course of her season, she delivered some incredible results against top 10 players like Angelique Kerber, Kiki Bertens, Karolina Pliskova, and Garbine Muguruza. She is highly talented and can very go the distance in Melbourne.
However, for her to do so, she will have to better her last year’s result. In the 2018 Australian Open, she was defeated by Shuai Zhang in the first round. As for Stephens’ performance in the ongoing season, she played in Sydney and Brisbane but didn’t get past the early rounds.
Townsend’s Best Season so Far
Just like Stephens, Taylor Townsend too enjoyed a good run in 2018 although, hers didn’t include any major titles or runner-up trophies. She switched between the ITF and WTA tournaments to gather crucial ranking points. She won a couple of ITF events in Sumter and Charleston – a feat that helped her reach her best ranking at the No. 61 position.
Townsend has got herself a ticket to the main draw in Melbourne this time, but it is hard to imagine her going past Stephens. The 22-year-old started her present season at the Auckland Open, where she lost in the first round to Barbora Strycova.
Stephens v Townsend – Who Will Win?
Stephens is definitely going to start this match as the favourite to win. We can expect her to wrap this up in straight sets.
You can watch & bet on Sloane Stephens v Taylor Townsend live with bet365 here on Monday, January 14.