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Svitolina vs Kenin tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Former champion Svitolina aims for third straight Rogers Cup semifinal

Hannah Wilks in WTA Tour 8 Aug 2019
  • Elina Svitolina faces Sofia Kenin in the quarterfinals of the Rogers Cup
  • Svitolina vs Kenin is live from Toronto on Friday
Elina Svitolina (PA Sports)

Sofia Kenin keeps collecting big scalps – can she add 2017 Rogers Cup champion Elina Svitolina’s to her collection as they face off in the quarterfinals in Toronto?

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Elina Svitolina aims to reach the semifinals of the Rogers Cup for the third time as she takes on rising American Sofia Kenin in the Toronto quarterfinals on Friday.

Svitolina was the last woman to lift the Rogers Cup trophy when the event was held in Toronto, beating four top-10 players – Venus Williams, Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki – on her way to the title in 2017, and made a good fist of attempting to defend it last year in Montreal as well, reaching the semifinals before losing to Sloane Stephens. 

Svitolina celebrates victory over Belinda Bencic (PA Sports)
But I don’t think that many would have favoured Svitolina to be in the mix for the Rogers Cup title this year, despite the Ukrainian player scoring two of her biggest career triumphs – winning the WTA Finals Singapore at the end of 2018, and reaching her first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon in July – in the 12 months between last year’s tournament and this one. Svitolina had a strong enough start to the year, making the Australian Open quarterfinals and the semifinals of Doha, Dubai and Indian Wells, but a knee injury caught up with her and really decimated her clay-court season, traditionally such a strong part of the year for her. 

Svitolina did indeed make her first major semifinal at Wimbledon, but she did benefit from a soft draw and had little to offer when she faced Halep in that semifinal, and losing to Maria Sakkari from a winning position in San Jose last week didn’t bode well. 

But here she is in the quarterfinals, although it hasn’t exactly been a smooth ride. First Svitolina survived a lengthy battle with Katerina Siniakova, coming through in three sets, and then she had to take on Belinda Bencic, a fellow former Rogers Cup in Toronto champion – and though the scoreline of Svitolina’s 6-2, 6-4 victory looked simple, it was anything but. The Ukrainian took a tumble and rolled her ankle when break point up in the second game of the match, and needed a lengthy medical assessment and time-out as the joint was firmly strapped up. Then there was a lengthy rain delay with Svitolina leading 4-2 in the first set. 

Still, it was the sixth seed who was by far the more solid and consistent player throughout the match despite the ups and downs, and she closed out the first set and took a 4-1 lead in the second before Bencic made a late surge, saving three match points and breaking back as Svitolina served for the match, narrowing the gap to a nerve-inducing solitary break. Svitolina was, once again, equal to the challenge, however, as she converted her fifth match point to close out the win.

Now into her seventh quarterfinal of 2019, and having won four of the previous six, Svitolina looks like a good bet for the semifinals as she prepares to face an unseeded player on Friday.

But while Sofia – or as she prefers, Sonya – is unseeded, opponents underestimate her to their peril, as Serena Williams learned at the French Open and world no. 1 Ashleigh Barty learned this week.

Sofia Kenin (PA Sports)
This time last year, Kenin lost in the second round of qualifying for the Rogers Cup in Montreal, but in the subsequent 12 months, she’s climbed to a career-high world no. 27 and comes into this year’s tournament ranked just two places below that at world no. 29. The 20-year-old has reached a trio of WTA Tour finals this year already, winning titles in Hobart and Mallorca, where she bested Bencic in a dramatic three-set final, and finishing runner-up to Wang Yafan in Acapulco. All three of those are International-level events, and with the exception of the French Open where she beat Williams to make the last 16, Kenin hasn’t been able to make such an impact in the bigger events – but if Toronto is any indication, she’s well on her way to changing that. 

After beating Su-Wei Hsieh in straight sets, she beat an admittedly rusty Barty in three sets in the second round – but I don’t think a lot of people would have beaten Barty, who maybe missed a few shots she would normally have made, but was missing them under intense pressure from Kenin.

The young American does love the big stage and the chance to bring down a top player and show them that, as she said at Roland Garros, ‘Sonya Kenin is in the house’. But she backed up her win over Barty by beating, on a smaller court, a very good player in Dayana Yastremska, playing a tremendously solid and confident version of her all-round game to squeeze error after error out of the Ukrainian as she wrapped up a 6-2, 6-2 victory.

This will be the second match Svitolina and Kenin have played against each other, and the first was a battle royale, a 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 victory for the Ukrainian at Indian Wells in March. Svitolina clearly enjoys the conditions in Toronto, where a lot of players have been struggling with double faults, but then Kenin appears to be flourishing too; and while there are differences between the two, they are both, fundamentally, aggressive counter-punchers and very good ones. It’s tough to call, but I still don’t think Svitolina is playing her best tennis, and Kenin is oozing confidence right now. Look for the young American to make her first Premier-5 semifinal on Friday.

Svitolina vs Kenin tennis is live from Toronto on Friday

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Svitolina vs Kenin tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Former champion Svitolina aims for third straight Rogers Cup semifinal

Elina Svitolina vs Sofia Kenin live streaming, preview and predictions for the Rogers Cup quarterfinal match on Friday 9 August: In-form Kenin is collecting scalps but Svitolina is a former Toronto champion

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