Ostapenko vs. Stephens: Are they the future No. 1s?

We have all watched Stephens over the past eight years, at the Slams, playing bad at times, and playing great. Last year, we watched Sloane during the summer, after she came back due to her foot surgery. She didn’t play for nine months. It took her a couple months or so to be more comfortable, and then, she knew she was ready to leap. 

She won the 2017 US Open, showing strength, super speed and lethal shots. During the rest of the year, she failed quickly, because her body was tired and she needed to take a long rest. 

She did not, and in the beginning of 2018, she was shaky. But once again, her legs are strong, she began to be a little more aggressive, and she rarely missed. So now, she is right there again, cool, calm and collected.

Even though Ostapenko is ranked No. 5, the elder Stephens is the favorite over the 20-year-old Ostapenko. Without question, the American has matured. Now, she can be funny and real. 

Ostapenko is very young, and she will grow, but even so, she is an excellent player already. She is just a huge hitter, with her forehand and backhand. She hits so many winners, which is terrific, but when she is off, she also has numerous errors. Over the past 10 days, though, she was on it, not only running fast, but being more consistent and a little more patient. She is learning. Last year, she won Roland Garros on pure power. The fans were pretty surprised that the Latvian was so confident and she loved to slide on the clay. Just like Stephens, Ostapenko skidded in the first couple months. But here in Florida, she was patient and thoughtful.

Both of them can crack their backhands and forehands, crosscourt and down the line. There serves are so-so, but they can jump on the second serves and whack-em. 

They are certainly showing that they are here now, and both of then want to reach No. 1 this year. When? Hard to say, but Ostapenko is already in the top 5 and Stephens is in inching to the top 10. So, in a few more months, if they maintain their composure, they could be right there.

Who will win? They have to go into the third sets. Ostapenko will swing away, but Stephens will bring it back, and back, and back. Sloane will pick up a Premier Mandatory trophy. 

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