A young rising star versus a veteran is the storyline in Toronto as well as Montreal as former world number one Caroline Wozniacki takes on Elina Svitolina. Svitolina is having the best season of her life and whilst Wozniacki is in the midst of a comeback of sorts. Both are having fantastic seasons and a fine match should await.
Svitolina and Wozniacki have met twice with the former coming out on top on both occasions. Their first meeting was last year in Miami, which Svitolina won in three tight sets, with the last set requiring a tiebreaker. Their next meeting was in February this year in Dubai. The Ukrainian player managed the victory in straight sets. This game will be the second final they have contested, with Wozniacki desperate to get her revenge.
Svitolina’s path to the final
The 22-year-old Ukrainian received a bye into the second round, where she faced Daria Kasatkina of Russia. The world number 31 recently broke into the scene by winning her first title on clay against Jelena Ostapenko. However, her previous results didn’t seem to phase Svitolina, who won in straight sets. Her next opponent was Venus Williams. The American veteran is a former runner-up in Canada but she had no answers to Svitolina’s blistering groundstrokes. The Russian dispatched her quickly as Williams lost in straight sets 2-6, 1-6.
Current Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza also returned empty-handed in a three set loss. The Spaniard won the first set 6-4 but went onto lose the next two sets 4-6 3-6. Svitolina had to battle hard to pull out the win against the world number four but she dug deep when it mattered. Her semi-final opponent was defending champion Simona Halep. Svitolina dismantled the Romanian in straights 6-1 6-1 to set up her clash against Wozniacki in the final.
Wozniacki’s path to the final
Wozniacki started her campaign in the second round as she received a bye due to her ranking. She faced Ekaterina Alexandrova from Russia and won comfortably 6-3 6-0. The same went for her win against world number 10, Agnieszka Radwanska. The Polish player was playing her first tournament since Wimbledon, where she lost in the fourth round. She continues to struggle for form and lost in straight sets 3-6, 1-6.
Wozniacki played Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals. The world number one looked ready for the contest, and it was a tight one throughout. Wozniacki won the first set 7-5, only for Pliskova to edge her out in the second in a tiebreaker. Wozniacki won the next 6-4 to book her semi-final berth against surprise package Sloane Stephens. Stephens, who was coming back from a foot injury, had her first match win in a year in the first round of the tournament. The American had a commendable run to the semi-final with victories over Angelique Kerber. But she had no answers against Wozniacki, whose defensive game undid her attacking all court play. Wozniacki won 6-2 6-3.
How do they match up?
Both have very similar playing styles, even with their strengths being their backhands. They will look to down the line backhands to manoeuvre each other as it the favourite shot of the pair. One key area of difference is that Wozniacki has a more dependable serve while Svitolina’s serve can be erratic. Wozniacki can get some free points off of her serve too, something that is lacking in Svitolina’s game and could hurt her chances in the final.
Add that to the fact that Wozniacki is much more tactically astute than her opponent when it comes to mixing her shots up and Wozniacki looks a heavy favourite. But a point to consider is that if Svitolina was to shake Wozniacki up, Wozniacki could get tight and play too passively. This will give the advantage to Svitolina due to her comfort in alternating between an aggressive and defensive style.
It really depends on the mental toughness the pair display. With the similar playing styles and weaknesses and strengths both possess, it is hard to ascertain what the outcome could be based on the game alone. But seeing that Wozniacki is more experienced than Svitolina and also is more used to stages as big as this, it seems likely that Wozniacki will clinch the title. Wozniacki in three.
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