In life we all set targets for ourselves. 2016 quickly took off for Monica Puig in Brazil last year. The Puerto-Rican set herself a target of winning Olympic Gold and also named her dog Rio before the Olympics and suddenly her name hit the headlines winning Puerto Rico’s first Olympic Gold medal.
Source – GettyImages South America
Now 2017 the eyes of the world will be on her. She will forever be remembered for what happened in Rio and she has the talent to push herself up the rankings and become a contender. A run of form like that and performances at the Olympics were no fluke and now there is a pressure on her to recreate this week in week out on the tour which will be tough but it begins in Brisbane.
Round one meetings at the first tournament of the year don’t get tougher than the unpredictable and solid Elina Svitolina who finished 2016 ranked at 14 in the world and the 22 year old will be itching to edge that step closer to the top 8 with Singapore surely in mind but that’s a long away right now.
If anything I think both have a lot to prove this season. There are no doubts how good both are and how good they can become in the future it’s about making that step up now!
Svitolina has kind of gone under the radar, her game is solid which is good to see variety and confidence with her game already at 22 but I wouldn’t say there is a big shot which stands out for me right now in her game. She is a good defender and attacker but I think she does need that extra push in her game to get to that next level.
The meeting between these two in Brisbane should be really interesting. They have met twice before on the tour for the first time back in 2014 with Elina winning their first encounter 6-4 7-5 at Indian Wells and in their last meeting in Rome last year it was Monica Puig who won 6-1 4-6 6-1 against the Ukrainian.
Tough one to predict but I think it will be Elina who progresses to the next round in Brisbane. If Puig can dictate from the baseline early on in the match and keep Elina camped behind the baseline and her forehand keeping her moving then she stands a good chance but it would require her to get the better of a solid opponent in Elina.