Elina Svitolina (UKR) - WTA No. 6, UTR No. 4 (13.25)
Belinda Bencic (SUI) - WTA No. 45, UTR No. 32 (12.97)
Few people are playing better tennis than Elina Svitolina; she mercilessly defeated two-time major champion Garbine Muguruza 6-1, 6-2 on Wednesday. Svitolina’s best attribute in her game is her ability to win the big points. She is playing with tremendous self-belief, getting her teeth into every tournament she plays.
But her opponent, the talented Belinda Bencic, is coming on very strong heading into the heart of the 2019 season, with back-to-back wins over Aryna Sabalenka and Simona Halep. Bencic possesses all sorts of skills, she takes the ball on the rise, she handles pace well and she is also a great shotmaker. She definitely has the tools to take out the red-hot Svitolina, but she may not have enough left in the gas tank. Bencic can surely win if she comes out firing on all cylinders, but the longer she stays on the court the more Svitolina has the advantage. Svitolina is one of the fittest players out there. Look for the Ukrainian to continue her fine form and put a stop to a phenomenal week of tennis from the talented young Swiss.
David Goffin vs. Gilles Simon
Gilles Simon (FRA) - ATP No. 32, UTR No. 25 (15.36)
David Goffin (BEL) - ATP No. 24, UTR No. 21 (15.43)
Before there was David Goffin, there was Gilles Simon. While their strokes may look very different, the core principle of their game is almost the exact same. Both players are masters at absorbing and redirecting pace. The harder you hit the ball at either Goffin or Simon, the quicker they beat you. They are both the best pure counterpunchers of their respective generations. Unfortunately for Simon, his generation includes the Big 3. His 4-26 record against Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic has cost him a few ATP titles. Both Goffin and Simon have spent their fair share of time in the ATP’s Top 10.
At some point, the long rallies will have to end, these players are not prone to mistakes. Goffin has youth on his side, but Simon will have the French crowd. Their career head to head is fittingly tied at two wins apiece. This match will be a masterclass in point construction and overall tennis strategy. Look for Simon to ride the home crowd to a close victory over the diminutive Belgian.
ATP Rio De Janeiro
• Starting Monday 2/18, at 2:30 pm ET, catch live coverage of the Rio Open featuring Dominic Thiem, Fabio Fognini, and Diego Schwartzman.
• Watch Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova live from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships starting Saturday, 2/16 at 3:00 am ET
• Tennis Channel Plus features live coverage of the Hungarian Ladies Open beginning Monday, 2/18 8:00 am ET
ATP Delray Beach
• Watch Juan Martin del Potro, John Isner and Frances Tiafoe live on Tennis Channel Plus beginning Tuesday, 2/19 at 12:30 am ET.
• See Karen Khachanov, Borna Coric and Stefanos Tsitsipas live on Tennis Channel Plus beginning Monday 2/18, 8:30 am ET