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Sabalenka vs Puig WTA Strasbourg live streaming, preview and tips - Can Sabalenka avenge Charleston loss to Puig in Strasbourg quarter-finals?

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 23 May 2019
  • Aryna Sabalenka vs Monica Puig is live from Strasbourg around 5.30pm local time on Thursday (4.30pm BST)
  • Puig won their only previous clash in straight sets on the green clay of Charleston in April
Aryna Sabalenka (PA Images)

Aryna Sabalenka looks to reach her first semi-final since the start of February when she takes on Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig in the Internationaux de Strasbourg quarter-finals on Thursday.



Fresh from her first back-to-back wins since Indian Wells over two months ago, can Aryna Sabalenka avenge a Charleston loss to Monica Puig and advance into the Strasbourg semi-finals on Thursday?

Winless on red clay coming into the Internationaux de Strasbourg, Sabalenka was in desperate need of some victories and confidence before next week’s French Open, and she’s building towards a successful week in the French city, progressing to the quarter-finals without dropping a set in wins over Lin Zhu and Laura Siegemund. Sabalenka’s second round triumph over Siegemund was especially impressive as the German has played some superb tennis on clay over the years, but the top seed managed to keep her at bay, three times recovering from a break down in the opening set before completing a 6-4 6-3 victory, winning eight of the the last 11 games.

"I'm so excited with this result, especially on a clay court," Sabalenka said after the win.
"I'm happy that I found my game on the clay, and hopefully I can keep it for a long time. It was a great match today, and we both showed a great level. I'm so happy that I could handle this level."

Sabalenka put together a stellar back-half of 2018 to surge into the top 15, namely beating eight top 10 players from June to October as she won her first two WTA titles in New Haven and Wuhan, finished runner-up in Eastbourne, made the semi-finals in Cincinnati, quarter-finals in Beijing and Tianjin and the fourth round of the U.S. Open, where she was the only player to take a set off eventual champion Naomi Osaka. The 21-year-old then broke into the top 10 for the first time after winning her third career title in Shenzhen and making the third round of the Australian Open to kick off 2019, peaking at No. 9 in February, but she’s down to No. 11 after a sub-par run of results.

Indeed, Sabalenka had just four tour-level wins to her name after St. Petersburg in early February and still doesn’t own a victory over a player ranked higher than No. 28 this season. That last stat might not change before she arrives in Roland Garros, but Sabalenka can still boost her own confidence before the second major of the season by picking up a fourth career title and a first on clay in Strasbourg.

Monica Puig (PA Images)
Meanwhile, Monica Puig will forever be associated with her stunning gold medal triumph at the Rio Olympics in 2016, where she became the first person from Puerto Rico to claim Olympic gold, producing a series of extraordinary performances to beat the likes of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Garbine Muguruza, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber to reign supreme. That’s the kind of run that would be worthy of a Grand Slam victory, but unfortunately for Puig, she hasn’t been able to kick on from that milestone moment and find the sort of consistency required to take her explosive game to the next level on the WTA Tour.


Puig’s career-high ranking remains No. 27 after her run in Rio in 2016, while she came into Strasbourg at No. 61 after a disappointing 2019 season in which she’s only won back-to-back matches at one event. However, that event did come on clay (the green clay of Charleston) and Puig did beat Sabalenka, along with Danielle Collins, Sara Errani and Sofia Kenin to make the semi-finals. Puig has now won consecutive matches for the second time this season in Strasbourg, beating Tatjana Maria 6-1 6-1 in the opening round and Australian qualifier Astra Sharma 6-3 6-2 to make the quarter-finals.

As mentioned, Puig beat Sabalenka in their only previous clash, and with her fearless game, she will back herself to do it again. Puig has been very convincing so far this week, and while Sabalenka’s victory over Siegemund was solid, I’m not sure that signals she’s on her way back. Clay hasn’t been Sabalenka’s best surface so far in her career and I suspect she’s still feeling some pressure to build up some form ahead of Roland Garros - and Puig is not a player you want to face when you’re searching for rhythm…


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Sabalenka vs Puig WTA Strasbourg live streaming, preview and tips - Can Sabalenka avenge Charleston loss to Puig in Strasbourg quarter-finals?

Aryna Sabalenka looks to reach her first semi-final since the start of February when she takes on Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig in the Internationaux de Strasbourg quarter-finals on Thursday.

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