The World No.13 Elina Svitolina has shot up the rankings inside the last twelve months and has started to fulfil the promise she showed as a fantastic junior tennis player where she won the Roland Garros juniors title in 2010. She is no one trick pony either as she has displayed some terrific tennis on the hard court too, including last year where she made the quarter-finals of the Olympics, beating Serena Williams when she was World No.1 and more recently in Brisbane where she beat Angelique Kerber. The Ukrainian has always had a very solid, compact tennis game that does not give much away to her opponents, but I feel she is starting to become more of a serious threat to her opponents at the higher level of the game of tennis. Combine that with her fabulous movement across the baseline and you have a serious player in the years to come.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is her third round opponent on Day Five of the 2017 Australian Open. The Russian is placed just inside the World’s Top 30 at No.27 in the world and will be pushing to break back into the Top 20 in the world in the 2017 season. Pavlyuchenkova was also a very decorated young talent, winning three majors inside two years in 2006 and 2007, but her main issue on the WTA tour has been consistently producing her best tennis. Pavlyuchenkova can play some inspired tennis on a outdoor hard court, but Svitolina edges this match slightly because of how well she has improved both technically and mentally inside the last twelve months.
Prediction: Svitolina in three sets.
Anastasija Sevastova  vs Garbine Muguruza  H2H: Tied at 1-1
This match-up is neatly poised at 1-1 in their head-to-head, but the match they played at the US Open last year is what stands out in their previous battles. Garbiñe Muguruza has built a formidable reputation since she etched her name in tennis history with her 2016 Roland Garros win, so losing to the Latvian Anastasija Sevastova was a considerable shock in the second round at Flushing Meadows. The match truly demonstrated the torment a player can inflict on a power player like Muguruza when a player throws in a mixture and variety of different paces. The Spaniard found it difficult to break through Sevastova, who scurried around the court with dynamic precision.
Muguruza found it hard to come to terms with the new life of being a Grand Slam winner, which showed in her results in 2016, but she looks in a much better frame of mind in 2017. Her semi-final run in Brisbane would have given her a lot of confidence as it was important to start the year on the right note. A major question mark is whether the Spaniard has fully recovered from her right thigh injury, which bothered her in her first round win over Marina Erakovic. If Sevastova can expose the movement of the 2016 Roland Garros champion then this match could get very interesting to say the least.
I predict that Muguruza’s power from the back of the court will give her the edge in this match and she would have learned a lot from her loss to Sevastova last season.
Prediction: Muguruza in two sets.
Jelena Jankovic vs Svetlana Kuznetsova  H2H: Jankovic leads 8-6
Jankovic leads the head-to-head 8-6, but the two players are tied 5-5 in hard court matches against each other. It really is a match that will have a lot of momentum switches and one that could go either way.
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