Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open, Preview + Prediction
R2: (1/wc) 🇺🇦 Elina Svitolina vs 🇺🇸 Nicole Gibbs
The top seeded Elina Svitolina will continue her quest for a 6th WTA title in 2017 when she comes up against America’s Nicole Gibbs at the second round stage in Hong Kong on Thursday. Svitolina was somewhat unconvincing in her Hong Kong debut on Tuesday night as she defeated Zarina Diyas in a few tight sets. Svitolina received treatment for her right thigh during the match. The Ukrainian has won both of the previous matches the pair, both on a hard court and both in straight sets, more of the same seems likely here.
Nicole Gibbs limped into the second round in Hong Kong, just scrapping past Valentini Grammatikopoulou 4-6 6-2 7-5. Gibbs has been unable to make a mark against quality opposition in 2017, this second round clash with Svitolina looms as a huge challenge for the American. Svitolina also had troubles in her opening round match, mostly notably that she failed to serve out the match in second set before eventually clinching a 6-4 7-6 win over Diyas. Svitolina's inability to close out matches is starting to become an issue, expect a big response for Elina on Thursday.
The only real concern for Svitolina heading into this match is her fitness. Otherwise, this is a great match-up for Svitolina as she does everything better than Gibbs. The American tries to play a similar game to Svitolina but she is inferior in every way. It would take something drastic for Gibbs to push Svitolina here. The top seed to cruise into the quarter-finals.