Eugenie Bouchard vs Elina Svitolina, Malaysian Open Final Preview

Malaysian Open Final: (6) Eugenie Bouchard vs (2) (wc) Elina Svitolina

Despite a relatively weak field in Kuala Lumpur for the BMW Malaysian Open, we are left with a high quality final between Eugenie Bouchard and Elina Svitolina. This promises to be an extremely close match between two young ladies desperate to claim their first title of the season and a valuable confidence boost before heading to North America for a couple of big premier mandatory events. Interestingly, Svitolina has won all three previous encounters between the pair and has also never lost in a WTA final, therefore the Ukrainian should rightfully enter this match as the slight favourite.

 

Eugenie Bouchard has shown great commitment and determination to improve her ranking which dropped dramatically after a horror 2015 season. This is Bouchard’s third International event of the season thus far, reaching the final in two of those events. Bouchard clearly recognising that she needs to commit to playing these lower events for her ranking to get back to where she wants it to be.

The Canadian has stormed through the draw this week in Kuala Lumpur without dropping a set or even looking like dropping a set. Genie has dropped more than 3 games in just 1 of her 8 sets this week, recording comfortable straight set victories over Ling Zhang, Kurumi Nara, Cagla Buyukakcay and Naomi Broady. Bouchard will be aiming to claim just her second WTA title on Sunday in Kuala Lumpur, her first title was a year and a half ago on the clay in Nurnberg. This is an important match for Bouchard given her record in finals currently stand at 1-5, another loss and that record could start weighing on her mind.

Elina Svitolina’s passage into the final in Kuala Lumpur has been a little less impressive than Bouchard’s. Svitolina’s highest ranked opponent on route to the final was world number 133 Risa Ozaki. The Ukrainian started the week with a dominant straight win over Miyu Kato before being pushed to three sets by Risa Ozaki and Kristina Kucova. Svitolina will enter the final in good form after a comfortable 6-3 6-3 victory over Lin Zhu in the semi-finals on Saturday. Interestingly, Svitolina has a perfect 3-0 record in finals, however this will clearly be the toughest final of Svitolina’s career thus far. Can she maintain her perfect record? 

 

Elina Svitolina holds a perfect 3-0 head-to-head record over Eugenie Bouchard, all three matches were played on a hard court. The first two matches between the pair required a third set whilst Svitolina recorded a 7-6 7-5 victory in their most recent clash in Cincinnati last year. Bouchard’s form has certainly improved since their clash in Cincinnati whilst Svitolina’s form has generally not been as impressive. Despite the head-to-head record, this is certainly a really tough match to call.

I thought Svitolina would win the title at the start of the week and I’m going to stick with my original prediction despite Bouchard admittedly having the better form leading into the final. I’m not sure the form of each play actually matters heading into this match given the low quality of opponents both have faced. Svitolina has won all of the previous matches between the pair for a reason, the Ukrainian is extremely solid from the baseline and Bouchard clearly finds it hard to consistently hit through Svitolina. The Ukrainian is the more stable, consistent player and seemingly has the mental edge in this match-up, I think she will get the job done in a really close match but it could really go either way. 

Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Eugenie Bouchard in 3 sets


11 thoughts on “Eugenie Bouchard vs Elina Svitolina, Malaysian Open Final Preview”

  1. Svitolina is coming into this tournament with a back injury – the two sets she already dropped were against Osaki and Kukova. With that being said, I felt like Svitolina has been visibly struggling after those two tough three-set wins. Against Bouchard, she would need to come out a little bit stronger, because she did look flat-footed in those two matches where she dropped those two sets. On the opposite side though, Bouchard hasn’t dropped a set in the tournament and she has been playing much better tennis now than last year. Working with Thomas Hogstedt seems to be working for her. I feel like Bouchard is much more aware of Svitolina’s game now and won’t underestimate her anymore. Bouchard has been winning more matches, she’s decided to stick with a coach instead of going from coach to coach to try to find her best form, and she has more confidence in herself. The head-to-head status betwee these two is 3-0 in Svitolina’s favor. But with the way that these two have reached the final, I’m predicting Bouchard will win in either two close sets or three sets to claim her second WTA title.

  2. I have a feeling Bouchard will be the one coming out as the winner in this match. Svitolina hasn’t been looking as strong as she was last year – up until her semifinal match, she struggled in her two three-set victory matches.

    1. Yes, I agree that Bouchard’s form throughout the tournament has been better but that really counts for nothing heading into this match… If Svitolina’s injury was bad she certainly wouldn’t be playing, no point risking further injury especially in this tournament and with major tournaments around the corner.

  3. One of the two sets that Svitolina dropped already was a 6-1 scoreline against Kucova. She also struggled in Dubai and Doha too. That’s why I’m picking Bouchard here.

    1. Yeah as I said I agree that Bouchard’s form is probably better but Svitolina leads the head-to-head 3-0 so I guess those two factors cancel each other out…?

  4. I think people only see “Bouchard”, ok it is Bouchard. They forgot that she was beaten by Zheng in Doha.

    This match can go either way. If Svitolina able to return every ball back to Bouchard and keep Bouchard at the baseline. She will beat her again in Malaysia. Bouchard will hit the balls to the net if they play in long rallies.

    1. Yes people can tend to overrate Bouchard but her form has been better this year despite the poor losses such as the one to Zheng… You are right that Svitolina has the clear edge in long rallies in this match-up

  5. With three rain delays already though, who is in favor of winning the title now? Svitolina was up a break in the third deciding set. But, her percentage of first serves in dropped from 71% to 50%.

    1. Bouchard was certainly struggling at the end and was actually advised to retire from the match after the second set, really rough circumstances

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