Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: 2020 WTA Tour: Internationaux se Strasbourg

2020 WTA Tour: Internationaux se Strasbourg

Tennis player holds racquet

The Internationaux se Strasbourg takes center stage at Tennis-Club de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France (Outdoor Clay). Damien Kayat previews the respective matchups between Jil Teichmann vs Elina Svitolina as well as 
Zhang Shuai vs Elena Rybakina.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Tennis-Club de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France (Outdoor Clay)

Internationaux se Strasbourg 
Selected Quarterfinals- 24th September

Jil Teichmann (12/10)
vs Elina Svitolina (2) (6/10)

This is the definition of an upset in waiting.  Jil Teichman is the Swiss no 2 behind Belinda Bencic. But the clay-court dynamo has shown dramatic signs of improvement in recent times. She was twice a champion on clay in 2019, winning in Palermo and Prague.  But it was her 3rd WTA final that really caught the eye. Upon the resumption of the tour this year she reached her maiden hardcourt final in Lexington. It really underlined her all-round evolution as a player. She beat 6th seed Amanda Anisimova in the opening round before edging out 2018 Champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the last round. She won 16 of the final 20 points in the Pavlyuchenkova contest. She employed a barrage of ingenious drop-shots, essentially neutralizing Pavlyuchenkova’s power. Which sets her up perfectly for this match.  

Elina Svitolina must be one of the most frustrating players to predict. The talented Ukrainian is perhaps the most inconsistent player on tour. While one would nominally consider her a hardcourt specialist, Svitolina is a two-time Rome champion. She clearly has the clay-court chops. But she was thoroughly routed by Vondrousova in last week’s event. Two Grand Slam semi-final appearances in 2019 followed a WTA Finals victory in 2018.  But 2020 has been a grind for the Ukrainian- despite a fairly sub-par Monterrey title. She battled past Magda Linette in her opening match. Linette was just two points away from winning the opener and missed a set point that would have sent the match into a decider. These are the type of matches that Svitolina has to routinely win if she wishes to compete with the likes of Osaka and Halep.  

This will be their first-ever meeting, which always helps with upset potential. I just think that Teichmann seems more adept with the bounce on this surface. She has the ability to mix her game up if Svitolina gets on top of their baseline exchanges. I’m opting for the Swiss to pull off another upset and continue her recent progression.    
  
Jockeys Ride Horses

Zhang Shuai (28/10)
vs Elena Rybakina (5) (2/9)

Number five seed Elena Rybakina has reached her first clay-court quarterfinal of the season after overcoming Strasbourg specialist Alize Cornet. The rising Kazakh star used her impressive forehand to overpower her French opponent: Cornet has since expressed some concern about the number of fans present and their proximity to one another.  Rybakina is one of the up-and-coming players who was most negatively impacted by the lockdown.  She started the year in electrifying fashion, winning the title in Hobart. She also lost finals in Shenzhen, St Petersburg and Dubai. But her erratic post-lockdown form has been a concern. Though more suited to the pace of hardcourts, she actually won her maiden title on the clay of Bucharest. In order to become a more consistent clay-court player she has to find a point of difference. A big serve and forehand will only get her so far on this surface.  

To call a former World Number 23 a journeywoman does seem a bit harsh. But it just seems the best way to describe the Chinese Zhang Shuai.  She has three WTA Finals to her name.  Her first two finals saw her two titles in Guangzhou. Her 3rd final came after a barnstorming run at this year’s Hobart Open (more on that later).  But her post-Hobart form has been- quite simply- dreadful. She entered this event on the back of five consecutive losses. That made her victory over the hard-hitting Ajla Tomljanovic even more impressive. It seemingly came out of nowhere. The 2019 Aussie Open Doubles Champion is a two-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist with enough pedigree to compete with anyone. But her clay-court credentials are seriously lacking and this could be a tough outing for her. A 33%-win rate at the French Open is by far her least productive Grand Slam quota.  

I did say that I would be coming back to Hobart. Shuai’s heroic run to the Hobart final was stopped by none other than Elena Rybakina in straight sets. While Rybakina is still a fledging talent on clay, she will have the upper hand against the more workmanlike Shuai.  Rybakina should win in straight sets at 13/20.  

Written by Damien Kayat for Hollywoodbets

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