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Stephens vs Alexandrova WTA Sydney live streaming, preview and tips - Stephens aims for first win of 2019 against qualifier Alexandrova

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 7 Jan 2019
  • Sloane Stephens vs Ekaterina Alexandrova is live from Sydney on Tuesday around 1.30pm local time (2.30am GMT)
  • First meeting between the pair
Sloane Stephens (Photo by PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)

World No. 5 Sloane Stephens targets her first win of the 2019 season when she opens her Sydney International campaign on Tuesday against Russian qualifier Ekaterina Alexandrova.

(geo restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)

Former U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens goes in search of some winning momentum before next week’s Australian Open as she begins her Sydney International title quest on Tuesday against Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Stephens has only played the Sydney International once in her career - and that was last season, when she was torn apart by Camila Giorgi, winning just three games in a 3-6 0-6 demolition. Add in her opening round loss to Johanna Konta in Brisbane to start 2019 and the fact she hasn’t won a match in Australia since 2015, and the American is facing an uphill battle to snap a long run of defeats down under before trying to win her first match at the Australian Open since 2014 next week.

However, that’s not to say Stephens hasn’t played well in Australia before - the continent was actually the scene of her first real breakthrough on tour after she beat Serena Williams and Simona Halep on the way to her first Grand Slam semi-final in Melbourne in 2013, losing to eventual champion Victoria Azarenka. Stephens also made the quarter-finals of Wimbledon that year but sensationally didn’t reach that stage of a major until her stunning run to the U.S. Open title in 2017.

In what was one of the most extraordinary returns from injury in recent memory, Stephens was ranked just outside the top 900 a month before surging to U.S. Open glory, re-entering the top 20 with a bullet and swiftly climbing even higher, breaking into the top 10 by claiming her first Premier Mandatory title in Miami last year and rising to a career-high mark of No. 3 after making her second Grand Slam final at Roland Garros, where she squandered a set-and-a-break lead to Halep. Stephens also went down to Halep in the Rogers Cup final, but those two stand-out results were major contributors to the American qualifying for the WTA Finals Singapore for the first time - and Stephens impressed amongst the tour’s elite, advancing all the way to the final before going down to an inspired Elina Svitolina.

At her best, not many players have the game to stop Stephens - but the issue for the American is that her best and worst tennis are at totally opposite ends of the spectrum, and it’s hard to predict what level we’re going to see from her from tournament to tournament.

Ekaterina Alexandrova (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Ekaterina Alexandrova will be hoping for a rusty Stephens as the Russian looks to build on qualifying wins at the Sydney International over Stefanie Voegele and Johanna Konta and secure what would be just her second top 10 win following a straight sets triumph over Jelena Ostapenko towards the end of last season in Seoul.


With a career-high ranking of No. 69 achieved in September of 2017 after winning multiple ITF titles and making the second rounds of the French and U.S. Opens, the 23-year-old struggled for the bulk of 2018, with that quarter-final appearance in Seoul her best result until her final tournament of the season in Linz, where she successfully qualified for the main draw before beating the likes of Katerina Siniakova, Johanna Larsson, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Andrea Petkovic to reach her maiden WTA final before going down to Camila Giorgi.

That run propelled Alexandrova back into the top 100, and she arrives in Sydney at No. 72 in the world, coming off a second round showing at the Shenzhen Open to begin her 2019 season, beating Dalila Jakupovic before going down to eventual champion Aryna Sabelenka.

This will be the first meeting between Stephens and Alexandrova, and like most early round matches involving the American, it’s a tough one to call. Of course, Stephens is by far the better and more accomplished player, but she has a tendency to be flat at the start of tournaments, which makes her prone to early exits. Alexandrova seems to be back on track after a challenging first eight months of 2018, but is she ready to take the scalp of a former U.S. Open champion? The match is on Stephens’ racquet - if she’s moving well and dialled in, she’ll win. But, in these circumstances, that’s a big if…


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Stephens vs Alexandrova WTA Sydney live streaming, preview and tips - Stephens aims for first win of 2019 against qualifier Alexandrova

World No. 5 Sloane Stephens targets her first win of the 2019 season when she opens her Sydney International campaign on Tuesday against Russian qualifier Ekaterina Alexandrova.

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