Sloane Stephens vs (6) Lucie Safarova
Another intriguing third round match at SW19 on Friday sees 2014 semifinalist: Lucie Safarova take on an in form Sloane Stephens. This is a tough third round draw for both ladies, a big early test for both.
Sloane Stephens continues to build momentum on the grass in the United Kingdom. After reaching the semifinals in Eastbourne where she played some encouraging tennis, Sloane Stephens has cruised through her opening two matches at Wimbledon.
Sloane produced a solid performance to defeat 2014 quarter-finalist Barbora Strycova 6-4 6-2 in an extremely tough opening round matchup. Sloane backed up her first round victory with a comprehensive 6-4 6-4 win over compatriot Lauren Davis. The American will need to raise her level if she is to defeat a red-hot Lucie Safarova in the third round.
Lucie Safarova also comes into this crucial third round encounter with a heap of momentum on her side. Lucie is currently at a career high ranking of 6th in the world after reaching the final at Roland Garros. However, Safarova’s preparation for Wimbledon wasn’t ideal, withdrawing from Birmingham due to fatigue and then suffering an early round loss at Eastbourne.
Lucie Safarova has done well to come through her opening matches, surviving her dangerous first round encounter with Alison Riske, coming from a set and a break down to win 3-6 7-5 6-3. Safarova’s second round victory was far more straightforward, cruising past Su-Wei Hsieh 6-2 6-3 to set up a third round clash with Sloane Stephens.
This will be the second career meeting between Lucie and Sloane, the first on grass. Lucie won their only previous encounter, a hard fought 6-3 7-5 victory in Dubai last year. Safarova won the last 10 points in that match.
Both ladies have reason to be optimistic heading into this match, a close, high quality match is to be expected between two in form players. Safarova should have the slight edge in the one, Lucie’s serve is more effective and consistent than Sloane’s whilst the two are pretty even from the baseline. Safarova is playing with so much belief at the moment whilst Sloane hasn’t beaten many top players recently.
Prediction: Lucie Safarova to defeat Sloane Stephens in 3 sets