Struggling fifth seed Elina Svitolina begins her Qatar Total Open campaign in Doha on Monday night in the second round against Amanda Anisimova.
🇺🇦 Elina Svitolina vs 🇺🇸 Amanda Anisimova Match Info
Date: Monday February 24
Tournament: WTA Doha R2
Court: Centre Court
Time: 7.00pm local time (4.00pm GMT)
Elina Svitolina vs Amanda Anisimova Head-to-Head
Svitolina leads 1-0
2018 | Cincinnati R16 | Svitolina 6-4 6-4
Elina Svitolina vs Amanda Anisimova Match Preview
It’s been a rough start to the season for Svitolina – can the World No. 5 find her best tennis in Doha as she comes up against rising star Anisimova in her opening match on Monday night?
Without a title since Rome in 2018, Svitolina has yet to find her best tennis in 2020, coming into Doha on the back of a 4-5 record and some concerning defeats.
Indeed, Svitolina launched her season in Brisbane where she was demolished 6-1 6-1 by Danielle Collins in the opening round, while she was upstaged by Garbine Muguruza 6-1 6-2 in the third round of the Australian Open. Things have only got worse for Svitolina over the last month, with the Ukrainian falling 6-4 6-2 to Nao Hibino in the quarter-finals of Hua Hin before suffering another crushing loss to Jennifer Brady in the opening round of Dubai last week, falling 6-2 6-1.
The manner of those one-sided defeats is worrying if you’re Svitolina – one of her primary attributes is her ability to fight in matches, but she’s been surrendering meekly in literally every single one of her defeats in 2020.
Injuries have contributed to Svitolina’s loss of form over the last year, but it appeared as if the 25-year-old was on her way back after ending 2019 on a positive note, returning to the final of the season-ending WTA Finals in Shenzhen, beating the likes of Karolina Pliskova, Sofia Kenin, Simona Halep and Belinda Bencic before going down to Ashleigh Barty. That run salvaged Svitolina’s top 10 ranking, but she’s certainly not playing like a top 10 player at the moment.
Can she turn it around in Doha, or is she set for another heavy defeat?
Anisimova has also been struggling for much of 2020, but she did register a confidence-boosting 6-3 7-6(4) victory in her Doha opening round on Sunday over the in-form Ekaterina Alexandrova. Before that victory, Anisimova was on a three-match losing streak after losing to Serena Williams 6-1 6-1 in the semi-finals of Auckland, also falling in three sets to Zarina Diyas in the first round of the Australian Open and Barbora Strycova in another topsy-turvy encounter in the opening round of Dubai last week.
After breaking into the top 100 towards the end of 2018 following a first WTA final run in Hiroshima, Anisimova took her game to the next level in 2019 as she scored her first win over a top five player (Simona Halep) en route to her first Grand Slam semi-final at the French Open as a 17-year-old, becoming the first player born in the 2000s to make that stage of a major. Anisimova also captured her first WTA title on the clay of Bogota, but her year took a tragic turn just before the U.S. Open as her father and coach suddenly passed away. Understandably, Anisimova has been finding it tough to find her best tennis since, but she’s determined to keep plugging away on tour rather than take an extended break – and hopefully her win over Alexandrova is the start of her returning to the sort of level she showcased last year.
Elina Svitolina vs Amanda Anisimova Prediction
This is a tough match to pick. Svitolina is in extremely poor form and hasn’t put up a fight in all of her defeats this season. On the other hand, she surely has to improve sooner rather than later. Anisimova hasn’t been convincing this season, but she is coming off her best display of the year in her opening round. Anisimova has the better value in what looks like a 50-50 contest to me, so I’ll lean with the young American to edge it.