Sloane Stephens- Heather Watson
Heather Watson leads the h2h 4-1, but there have only been two recent meetings and Sloane Stephens took the last of those just a few weeks ago, winning 2&4 at Roland Garros and even that scoreline doesn't do justice to the superiority of the American player in that match, she dominated all stats and the defeat could have been even more emphatic. I spoke about Stephens and how she looked a lot happier ahead of her meeting at RG with Serena Williams ......Sloane Stephens is a complex individual and often seems unhappy on court and has been accused of "giving up" in minor events, she has the all round game and athleticism to be a top ten player at least and most tennis watchers cited her as the next big thing when she burst onto the scene as a teenager, the new "Serena" tag was a bit of a curse she had to live with and her game has not quite kicked on as all would have hoped, she is top 30 instead of top 10 right now, which is where she should be. There have been signs that she is starting to get things back on track, she took Serena close in Indian Wells and has not been troubled at Roland Garros, where she had a lot of success as a junior, through three rounds. She seems a little happier off court, both with her love life and with coach Nick Saviano who looks a better fit for her, she was with him as a teenager and it has been a bit of a return to basics over the last six months and I feel we are starting to see the fruition of this and also perhaps a return to 100% fitness, SS has had a few issues in recent years and was troubled especially by a left wrist injury for some time, this is the first year since her breakthrough that she has really be able to work flat out ahead of the big summer slams . This is the fourth straight year she has made R4 in Paris and after sticking close to Stosur, Sharapova and Halep in each, she can perhaps take it up a notch and run Serena even closer, Williams has not been as formidable on serve through the first week, making a lot of df's and at the very least, I see Stephens taking seven games.
That was all over in terms of the handicap early , with Stephens winning the first set 6-1 , before Serena took it in the third, but she was mighty close to going out in straight sets, but as we know, Serena likes to live on the edge ! Stephens has won two matches here already and looked very solid against Carla Suarez Navarro yesterday, who is always a tough opponent. SS was again fast out of the blocks ( taking the first set 6-1) and her second serve was in very fine shape.
Watson admitted to being nervous in her three opening matches on grass, saying that she felt real pressure in front of her home crowd and more anxious than at any time in her career, she has managed to win two, but lost the opening set in two and the other went to a tie break and with Stephens making a very nice habit of starting quickly, this could get away from Watson almost before it has begun. The British player has already given up 23 break points here and I am strongly in the Stephens side of the court.
I will suggest Sloane Stephens to win 2-0 in sets @ circa 2.30 general quote........2.40 with Pinnacle Sports/Sportmarket Pro, -3 games is an alternative .