French Open third round preview: Ana Ivanovic - Elina Svitolina

14th seed Ana Ivanovic takes on 18th-seeded Ukranian Elina Svitolina in the third round of the French Open with a good opportunity for one of these two players to make the fourth round.

The pair will be squaring off at the French Open for the third consecutive year and it is the former champion, Ivanovic, who has won their two previous meetings in the French capital.

Svitolina currently has former French Open champion Justine Henin in her coaching team as the Ukranian is looking for consistency and looking to go deep in big tournaments.

How they got here

Ivanovic started her 12th French Open campaign on Court Suzanne Lenglen as she dispatched French wildcard Oceane Dodin 6-0, 5-7, 6-2 and on Thursday she defeated Kurumi Nara 7-5, 6-1 to advance to the third round once again. 

The Serb loves playing in Paris as she has reached the 3rd round or better for the tenth time out of 12 appearances at Roland Garros, which is a good achievement for the former world number one.

The 21-year-old Ukranian, Svitolina has made smooth progress into the third round of the French Open. She defeated a resurgent Sorana Cirstea 6-1, 6-3 in the first round and she followed up that win by defeating American Taylor Townsend 6-3, 6-0 to set up this intriguing third round encounter with Ivanovic.

Svitolina, at 21-years-old, has tons of talent and has plenty years ahead of her to fulfill her potential. The 18th-seeded Ukranian is in her fourth main draw appearance at Roland Garros and she has never lost in the first round.

Ana Ivanovic in second round action against Kurumi Nara on Day 5 of the French Open (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Ana Ivanovic in second round action against Kurumi Nara on Day 5 of the French Open (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Their history

Ivanovic and Svitolina have played each other seven times on the WTA tour and it is the former world number one Ivanovic who has a flawless 7-0 head-to-head record over her younger opponent.

The 14th seed has only dropped one set in her victories over Svitolina. They have met three times at Grand Slams, four times on hard courts and three times on clay.

Ivanovic won their first meeting at the 2012 US Open when Svitolina was 17-years-old and the Serb won that match 6-3, 6-2. The following year in Tokyo in the third round stage Ivanovic was victorious again winning 6-3, 6-0.

Svitolina won her solitary set over Ivanovic in their third meeting at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells in 2014, in the second round which was a tight contest which the Serb came out on top winning 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(1).

Their first of two meetings at the French Open occurred in 2014 during the second round which Ivanovic won 7-5, 6-2 and Ivanovic defeated Svitolina once more on North American hardcourts at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati at the quarterfinal stage.

Their two meetings on clay in 2015 happened at the Mutua Madrid Open which Ivanovic won 6-3, 6-4 in the third round and the French Open once again but this time, it was in the quarterfinals and Ivanovic won that match easily 6-3, 6-2.

Svitolina in her second round match against Taylor Townsend on Day 5 of the French Open (Getty Images/Clive Brunskill)
Svitolina in her second round match against Taylor Townsend on Day 5 of the French Open (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Who wins

History suggests that Ivanovic should breeze past Svitolina again and should advance to the fourth round of the French Open but her performances have been up and down.

Ivanovic's win over Svitolina last year in the French Open was a significant one as it was the Serb's first Grand Slam semifinal appearance since she won the French Open in 2008.

Svitolina was understandably nervous that day as she was playing in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.

Ivanovic had a lead over Kurumi Nara in the opening set but she got tight, which allowed her opponent to have some more belief and have a respectable scoreline in the first set.

Svitolina has picked up two wins in impressive fashion and the win over Cirstea so easily is notable as the Romanian is on her way back up the rankings and had three wins in qualifying into the main draw which shows that the Ukranian is happy with her tennis.

This match will take place first on Court 1 and the winner of this match will play either the defending champion and top seed Serena Williams or the 26th seeded Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic in the fourth round.

Prediction: Ivanovic in three sets