Top seed Simona Halep of Romania will have a tough task on her hands when she takes on Elena Rybakina in the title-decider of the 2020 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Saturday, February 22. The match will start at 7 pm local time (4 pm BST). You can find the Simona Halep v Elena Rybakina live streaming options along with its preview, head to head and tips here.
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Simona Halep v Elena Rybakina Head to Head
This will be the second time Halep and Rybakina will be facing off against each other with the first match having come at the 2019 Wuhan Open. It ended with Halep retiring from the match in the first set at 5-4.
First Final for Halep
After having won just one title last year – albeit possibly the biggest one at Wimbledon – Halep will get a chance to win her first of this year, entering her maiden final of the season with a whole-hearted drubbing of Jennifer Brady in the semifinal. She won 6-2, 6-0 to signal her intentions, after having suffered semifinal exit at the Australian Open earlier this year.
Halep, much like in this competition, was a favourite to get herself a berth in the final in that match too but came up against a rather determined Garbine Muguruza. Now she has an equally tough opponent awaiting her in the final in the form of Elena Rybakina (more on her below), which should test the Romanian resolve.
The world number two has had her problems in this tournament, which looked to have gotten sorted against Brady. Starting out against Ons Jabeur after having gotten a first round bye, she needed three sets and more vitally a tie-breaker in the third. Then, facing Aryna Sabalenka in the last eight, she lost the first set yet again before rallying to defeat the Belarusian and set up that semifinal against Brady.
Which is why making it through to the final dropping just two games would have pleased her immensely, entering an important final against the in-form Rybakina.
Rybakina Carving Out New Highs Every Week
22 matches played, 19 won, one title pouched and a chance for a second one in her fourth final of the season. Rybakina is bagging new highs every day and is assured of the 17th rank on the WTA list when the new rankings come out next week. If she wins this, it will get only better.
Such has been the force of Rybakina, not too many players have survived her onslaught and barring the shock third round loss at the Australian Open, where Ash Barty got past her, she has reached the final at every tournament this year. In the process, scalps of Elise Mertens, Karolina Pliskova (twice), Maria Sakkari and Sofia Kenin have all been taken.
In this tournament itself, barring the Kenin match in the first round where the Australian Open champion took her to a third set, Rybakina has won all in straight sets. She comes into this final on the back of a 7-6, 7-6 win over Petra Martic, coming back from a break down in both sets to go through.
Ranked 192nd in the world last year, she has made it to six finals and won two titles since and will start off a potent threat for Halep.
Simona Halep v Elena Rybakina Predictions & Tips
This is a tough one to call. On form, Rybakina might hold the edge but Halep’s superior experience might help get out of sticky situations. This could be a three-setter but even if it doesn’t go all that far, we could see very little to separate the two players.
Tip: Over 21.5 games in the match: 1/1 (Click here to get these odds with Unibet)