Aegon International, 🇬🇧 Eastbourne R2 Preview
(10) 🇱🇻 Jelena Ostapenko vs 🇪🇸 Carla Suarez Navarro
Reigning Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko will return to competitive action for the first time since her unbelievable achievement in Paris when she takes on Carla Suarez Navarro In the second round at the Aegon International in Eastbourne. The eyes of the tennis world will be on Ostapenko to see how she deals with the pressure of being a Grand Slam champion, an unexpected one. Grass is probably Ostapenko’s most dangerous surface, so if she can replicate her Roland Garros form over the coming weeks she will again cause a lot of damage. Nevertheless, Suarez Navarro looms as a tough opponent for Ostapenko in Eastbourne.
Jelena Ostapenko has always been seen as a dangerous player and perhaps a future top 10 player but no one expected her to become a Grand Slam champion in Paris. Ostapenko played sublime tennis at Roland Garros to stun the tennis world and capture her first Grand Slam title (and her first title in general!!) at the age of 20. Grass is the Latvian’s best surface, so if she refocus and brings her best to the court she will again be a title contender starting this week at Eastbourne and next month at Wimbledon.
Carla Suarez Navarro has generally found it hard to play her game on grass but in recent years she has greatly improved on the surface. Suarez Navarro showed evidence of this improvement in her first round victory in Eastbourne, the Spaniard accounted for Ekaterina Makarova in a surprisingly easy fashion, winning 6-3 6-1 to confirm a showdown with Ostapenko on Monday.
The head-to-head record between Ostapenko and Suarez Navarro is split at 1 win apiece. Ostapenko stunned Suarez Navarro in the first round at Wimbledon in in 2015, winning 6-2 6-0. More recently Suarez Navarro beat the Latvian 1-6 6-4 6-4 in the Doha final last year. It has been clear that if Ostapenko is playing well she is too good for Suarez Navarro, especially on a fast court.
Logically, Ostapenko should be winning this match given her recent form, the match-up and the surface. However, history has shown that unexpected Grand Slam success can lead to tough months ahead, Ostapenko is usually very inconsistent and a big let-down after Roland Garros would not be surprising at all. The windy conditions in Eastbourne have generally not been suited to Ostapenko and it is hard to know what she can produce here. Suarez Navarro looked great in her first round match in Eastbourne and will play a solid match here, I think the Spaniard will play well enough to beat a distracted Ostapenko.
Prediction: Carla Suarez Navarro to defeat Jelena Ostapenko in 3 sets