Svetlana Kuznetsova has withdrawn from the tournament and Serena Williams will now face Camila Giorgi in her Auckland Open opener. Here’s the Williams v Giorgi preview and live streaming options.
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Top seed Serena Williams will renew her rivalry against Svetlana Kuznetsova in a third successive decade when they clash in a blockbuster first round at the 2020 WTA ASB Classic in Auckland. The date and timings of this match will be available on release of the order of play on Sunday, January 5. You can find the Serena Williams v Svetlana Kuznetsova live streaming options along with its preview, head to head and tips here.
Serena Williams v Svetlana Kuznetsova Head to Head
Williams and Kuznetsova will meet for the 14th time in a rivalry spanning three decades. The American has had a superior record against the Russian winning in 10 matches. Kuznetsova has pulled off three wins including that memorable quarterfinal victory at the 2009 French Open where she went all the way to lift the title in Paris.
This will be their first meeting since Wimbledon 2016.
Williams Handed Tough Draw on Return to Tennis
Serena Williams is 38, and it is only logical that she only plays a limited schedule throughout the year. She played in eight tournaments in 2019, but retired hurt in four of them. And still, the American came mighty close to achieve a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon and US Open where she reached the finals, but was denied ultimate glory by Simona Halep at SW19 and Bianca Andreescu at Flushing Meadows.
Williams’ decision to play in Auckland raised a few eyebrows, but it is perfect preparation for Melbourne where she will attempt to tie Margaret Court’s aforementioned record. The ASB Classic will enable the former World No.1 to fine-tune her game and aim to win her first title since the 2017 Australian Open.
Serena lost in the second round to Madison Brengle in her previous visit to New Zealand which incidentally was in 2017, the year she went on to win the title down under. Williams will team up with good friend Caroline Wozniacki for doubles action as well, a measure of how committed she is to perform at the first Grand Slam of the year.
She has been handed a tough draw though, starting with a meeting against two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Kuznetsova Hoping For Comfort in 2020
Svetlana Kuznetsova spent six-and-half months following the tournament in Guangzhou in September 2018 recuperating from serious knee injury. After a period of inactivity, Kuznetsova’s ranking fell off a cliff and was ranked outside the top-150 when she was convalescing from the aforementioned injury.
The Russian returned in April last year at the Samsung Open in Lugano where she won a marathon three-setter against compatriot Ekaterina Alexandrova in the first round. She went on to reach the quarterfinals in that event losing narrowly to Karolina Pliskova.
However, the former World No.2 got her shot at redemption as she beat Pliskova at the Southern and Western Open in Cincinnati in what was undoubtedly the highlight tournament of a tumultuous year. Kuznetsova beat three top 10 players that week (Sloane Stephens, Pliskova and Barty) after gaining entry as wildcard. She reached the final, and lost to Madison Keys in a tight affair.
The 34-year-old won only two matches after Cincinnati, and just like Williams, she will be looking to be gamely ahead of the Australian Open.
Serena Williams v Svetlana Kuznetsova Predictions & Tips
We can expect a very cagey affair in this one and both players are likely to be rusty from the back of the court. But expect Serena Williams to make a statement win here and prove she is not in Auckland to make up the numbers.
Tip: Under 20.5 games in the match: 17/20 (Click here to get these odds with bet365)