2016 Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro R1 🇧🇷
🇨🇦 Eugenie Bouchard vs 🇺🇸 Sloane Stephens
Saturday’s most intriguing first round clash in Rio de Janeiro sees Eugenie Bouchard come up against Sloane Stephens. A couple of seasons ago many experts predicted these two would be at the top of the game by now, in reality they have both been disappointments. This looms as a critical match between two fairly fierce rivals, a match both will be desperate to win, mainly to avoid another disappointing loss.
Bouchard seems to have a slight edge heading into this match. Bouchard’s recent form has generally been far more impressive than Sloane’s. Bouchard played a couple of quality matches in Montreal last week, most notably a stunning straight set win over Dominika Cibulkova. Stephens has lost three matches in a row heading into Rio, Sloane suffered a straight set loss to Risa Ozaki in Washington and a straight set loss to Camila Giorgi in Washington. The truth is that both ladies are quite inconsistent and therefore unpredictable.
Bouchard and Stephens both arrived at the Olympic village fairly early and have had days to prepare for their opening round clash.
The head-to-head record between Bouchard and Stephens is split at 2 wins apiece. The pair have traded victories since the American won their first match in 2012. Their most recent match was earlier this year in Indian Wells where Bouchard claimed a 7-5 7-5 victory. All four of their previous matches were on a hard court, the same surface as Saturday’s match.
This is a tough match to call because these two are quite evenly matched. Bouchard has generally showed better signs in recent months, Bouchard has been more committed at recent events whilst Stephens has been disinterested. The American will give a greater effort in this match and is more than capable of claiming victory. However, I’m slightly leaning towards Bouchard to win this because of her superior commitment to being aggressive and her greater determination to succeed, two important factors in what should be a close match.