Angelique Kerber aims to snap a five-match losing streak to Elina Svitolina on Thursday at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. While clay courts are the German’s least favorite, she’s had tremendous success at her home tournament, winning the title in 2015 and 2016 while amassing six Top 10 wins at this tournament alone.
The conditions in Stuttgart are on the quick side for red clay; the ball travels much quicker through the still, indoor air. Kerber will hope to penetrate Svitolina’s impressive quickness and anticipation with some piercingly flat strokes.
Though Kerber has had a rough start to the 2021 season, she appears to be slowly finding her form. According to the oddsmakers, the Ukrainian is listed as a slight favorite, giving Kerber very tempting +207 odds at one of her favorite venues.
For Kerber to be successful, she will need to figure out a way to keep Svitolina off-balance. It’s easier said than done, but a great play on clay is to go behind your opponent even when the open court is available.
Look for Svitolina to utilize the same type of play against Kerber. Going behind your opponent on clay is arguably more effective than hitting to the open court.
Judging by her five consecutive wins, clearly Svitolina doesn’t mind the match-up. Taking pace off a few shots might be a good idea for Kerber, because few can handle pace better than the world No. 5.
In the end, this match is a toss-up, and the recent head-to-head record is concerning, but Kerber typically plays well in Stuttgart, and 2 to 1 odds on the former world No. 1 at her home tournament are a little too good to pass up.
The Pick: Angelique Kerber