WTA Miami Third Round Preview: Elina Svitolina - Caroline Wozniacki

WTA Miami Third Round Preview: Elina Svitolina - Caroline Wozniacki

Elina Svitolina will play Caroline Wozniacki in the third round of the 2016 Miami Open.

jake-fletcher
Jake Fletcher

The 12th seed Elina Svitolina will play the 23rd seed Caroline Wozniacki in the third round of the Premier Mandatory-level Miami Open, held on hard courts in Miami, Florida, USA.

Recent Results

Svitolina has played well since beginning a coaching relationship with former world number one and seven-time Grand Slam champion Justine Henin in February. The Ukrainian won her fourth career title in Kuala Lumpur, made the semifinals at Dubai and reached a new career high of number 14 in the process. After receiving a first round bye here, the 12th seed gathered a most impressive 6-3, 6-0 victory over the Australian Open quarterfinalist Zhang Shuai.

In contrast, Wozniacki has had a poor start to the season, winning only eight of the fourteen matches she's contested. The Dane has performed best at smaller International-level events, reaching the semifinals in Auckland and the quarterfinals in Monterrey. Also benefitting from a first round bye, the 23rd seed won a close first set before cruising 7-5, 6-2 against Vania King.

Past Experience

Now ranked at number 16, Svitolina is looking to reach her second fourth round in Miami, after losing to Agnieszka Radwanska at that stage in 2014. Last year, the 21-year-old was beaten 6-0, 6-4 in the third round by Ekaterina Makarova.

Though currently a far cry from the days of being world number one, Wozniacki has only failed to reach the fourth round here once in eight attempts, losing in the third round of 2013 to Garbine Muguruza. Losing to Venus Williams in the fourth round last year, the 25-year-old reached the semifinals in 2012, losing in three sets to Maria Sharapova after having beaten Serena Williams; the last woman to do so in Miami.

Svitolina celebrates after winning in Kuala Lumpur. Source: Getty Images/Stanley Chou

Head-to-Head

Svitolina and Wozniacki have never played before, but it's to be expected that there will be a lot of long, exhausting rallies between these two consistent baseliners.

Svitolina has been working on becoming a more aggressive player as of late, a decision which has paid off given her recent run of results. In order to beat Wozniacki, the former French Open junior champion must look to use her forehand to exploit her opponent's comparative weakness on that particular side.

Though ranked at a lowly 25th at present, Wozniacki must make her experience count in this given match. A winner of 18 WTA titles, she has based her entire career on grounding her opponents into the ground with her relentless consistency and defence. Unfortunately, the former two-time US Open finalist has struggled in long matches recently, losing marathons to Yulia Putintseva at the Australian Open and Zhang Shuai in Indian Wells.

Given that both have a tendency to become defensive at crucial times in matches, this encounter has three sets written all over it. Perhaps this is the time for Wozniacki to turn her flagging season around and collect her biggest win since beating Angelique Kerber in Tokyo last September.

Prediction: Caroline Wozniacki in three sets

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