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Svitolina vs Alexandrova French Open tennis preview, head-to-head and predictions

hannahwilks in French Open 01 Oct 2020
Elina Svitolina (©Sebastien Muylaert/MAXPPP)

Fifth seed Elina Svitolina brings a six-match winning streak into an intriguing third-round French Open clash with the hard-hitting Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Svitolina vs Alexandrova is live from Roland Garros on Friday 2 October, 

The draw has opened out for fifth seed Elina Svitolina at the 2020 French Open with the exits of Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka and she is guaranteed to face an unseeded opponent in the quarterfinals – if she can get there.

French Open 2020: Find out tournament information for Roland Garros 2020 and how to stream French Open matches live

Svitolina takes on Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova, one of the WTA Tour’s most quietly and relentlessly improved players over the past 18 months, for a place in the fourth round on Friday.

Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.

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Svitolina vs Alexandrova: Head-to-head

This will be the first match between Elina Svitolina and Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Svitolina vs Alexandrova: Preview

Elina Svitolina has largely flown under the radar so far at the French Open, partly because of the big guns in her quarter of the draw, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka, and partly because her form coming into the tournament wasn’t overwhelmingly impressive: She skipped the US swing, returned to competition in Rome where she was beaten 3-6, 0-3 by Marketa Vondrousova in the quarterfinals and though she went on to win her second title of 2020 in Strasbourg last week, beating top-20 players Aryna Sabalenka and Jil Teichmann to do so, the eyes of the tennis world were largely elsewhere.

There’s also Svitolina’s reputation as a Grand Slam underperformer – when she fell to Garbine Muguruza in the third round of last year’s French Open, she had never been past the quarterfinals at a major despite having won the WTA Finals and been ranked as high as world no. 3. But Svitolina seemed to turn a bit of a corner on that front in 2019 when she made consecutive Grand Slam semifinals at Wimbledon and the US Open, and though the beginning of her 2019 season was not too inspiring – she lost early to Muguruza at the Australian Open again, and must be happy the Spaniard is on the other side of the draw this time – she had just picked up a title in Monterrey when shutdown came.

One would not say that Svitolina is in entirely convincing form at Roland Garros, which is part of what makes this match potentially interesting. She beat Varvara Gracheva 7-6(2), 6-4 in the first round, but found herself bagelled by Mexican qualifier Renata Zarazua as her level dipped dramatically in the second round before pulling herself together to win 6-3, 0-6, 6-2.

Ekaterina Alexandrova (ChrysleneCaillaud/Panoramic.)

Meanwhile, Alexandrova has been making her way quietly into the last 32, beating Australians Maddison Inglis and Astra Sharma 6-3, 6-3.

The Russian is not someone I think of as a clay-court player – in her 42-27 season in 2019, she went 3-7 on clay – but she has made a habit of winning a lot of matches over the past 18 months or so, beating some good players, including Muguruza and Rybakina to win the Shenzhen title in January. She got her second top-10 win over Halep in Beijing last year, but Halep was going through a poor stretch and troubled with injury at the time. On hard courts, I’d like Alexandrova’s chances a lot more, but clay gives Svitolina the advantage; on the other hand, Svitolina didn’t play well in the second round against Zarazua. However, she has to impose her authority on the tournament at some point if she hopes to go far, and this match is an opportunity to do just that.

Svitolina vs Alexandrova: Prediction