Match Preview Ostapenko vs Stephens 31.03 Miami Open 2018

Miami, USA, Hard Courts, WTA

Well, I said this in yesterday’s match preview “If Zverev plays near to his best though and Carreno Busta gets tight and doesn’t maintain his aggressive style then the German will most certainly be victorious.” and so it proved, I don’t think Busta necessarily got tight, he just wasn’t able to be quite as aggressive as he has been in the earlier Rounds of the tournament. I was extremely impressed with Zverev, and it’s going to be a very interesting Final between the German and the big serving John Isner.

Today we focus on the Women’s Final between Sloane Stephens and Jelena Ostapenko.

Previous Meetings

This is this pair’s first meeting, and on paper this should be a very close match. Both players like to attack and will leave nothing out there on the court come the end. Stephens is the more consistent of the two, but Ostapenko has the more firepower.

Stephens has claimed some impressive scalps this week, beating Muguruza, Kerber and Azarenka in her last 3 matches.

Ostapenko is yet to drop a set this fortnight, with her most notable scalps being against Kvitova and Svitolina.

Stephen’s Miami Open Tournament Mean Serving Stats

Won 57% of her service points

Held serve 72% of the time

Stephen’s has been serving well this week, without being spectacular. She won’t hit many aces (if any) and will need to keep a high first serve % in order to prevent Ostapenko from attacking her. Expect her to be broken a fair bit today.

Ostapenko’s Miami Open Tournament Mean Serving Stats

Won 61% of her service points

Held serve 73% of the time

Ostapenko’s serve seems to be improving, she’s been working hard on it, as it’s been her achilles heel for a long time now. She can still hit her second serve short and into her opponents hitting zone far too frequently though, especially when she gets tight. I also expect her to be broken a few times today.

Stephen’s Miami Open Tournament Mean Return Stats

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Won 53% of her return points

Won 50% of her break points

Opponents have held 37% of the time against her

Stephen’s has been returning serve magnificently this week, with her opponents holding their serve only just over 1 in 3 time against her. She will hit the ball aggressively off both sides and off both first and second serves. Look to see her dominate the Ostapenko service games and take break point chances with aplomb.

Ostapenko’s Miami Open Tournament Mean Return Stats

Won 48% of her return points

Won 55% of her break points

Opponents have held 59% of the time against her

Ostapenko’s return of serve is good, if a little inconsistent. She is often too aggressive and her strikes can be very wayward, she can also go for too much at times. I do expect her to break a few times today, but she needs to be a bit more calculated with her returns in order to stop Stephens getting cheap free points.

Stephen’s Groundstrokes

Stephen’s is a semi-aggressive, consistent ball striker who will look to trade from the baseline and turn defence into attack at any given moment. She is a fantastic athlete and will chase down plenty of balls also. She is equally adept off both the forehand and backhand side and keeps the ball very deep. With Ostapenko’s penchant to try and hit a winner off practically every ball, I think she can certainly extract plenty of errors from the Latvian today.

Ostapenko’s Groundstrokes

Ostapenko will go for everything and of either wing. She will be hyper-aggressive and attack all balls with 100% conviction. She will however be very erratic, she will hit nearly as many unforced errors as she will winners, and at times this costs her. She is however very exciting to watch, and if on she is an incredible player. I just wonder if her lack of patience and consistency may cost her today.

Summary

Another tough one to call, i’d be surprised if we didn’t see 3 sets. If i had to choose a winner, i’d side with Stephens consistency and strong return game vs Ostapenko’s improving but still exploitable serve. However, if Ostapenko can find some consistency and still hit her huge groundies then she will beat anyone on Tour, Stephen’s being no different. Should be a great spectacle, enjoy it!

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