World number 13 Aryna Sabalenka will play 34-year-old veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova in their Doha Open 2020 semifinal on Friday, February 28. The match begins at 5 pm local time (3 pm BST) and you can find the Aryna Sabalenka v Svetlana Kuznetsova live streaming options along with its preview, head to head and tips here.
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Aryna Sabalenka v Svetlana Kuznetsova Head to Head
Two matches before this have resulted in a win apiece for both players. They last played at the Madrid Open last year where Kuznetsova romped to a straight-set win following Sabalenka’s 6-4, 6-3 victory in Indian Wells.
Kuznetsova Keeps Fighting Her Way Through
She is 34 but Kuznetsova doesn’t look like she is done with tennis. Not yet anyway for sure.
Having fallen to 198th in the world in 2019, the Russian has made her way back to her current ranking of 46th in the world, and her strong showing in this competition in Doha is sure to push her further up. In fact, there is a strong chance of making it to the top 30 if she manages to win this match but even if that doesn’t materialise, she could make it to the top 35.
And the way she has played in this tournament, she would deserve every bit of it. After a 6-2, 6-2 drubbing of Cagla Buyukakcay in the first round, she handed out another similar result to Iga Swiatek before Amanda Anisimova withdrew from the competition.
Faced with the prospect of playing Belinda Bencic in the quarterfinal, there was no looking back for the Russian, who won 6-4, 6-4 to advance to the last-four. Now she faces an equally in-form Sabalenka but given her own rhythm, this could be a match to watch out.
Sabalenka Comes Back from Behind to Edge out Zheng
Doha served up some gusty winds that would make a swing bowler in cricket happy but tennis players rarely enjoy situations like those. And Sabalenka took her time getting used to the conditions as Zheng managed to carve out the first set.
In the second set, Sabalenka got the early break but the gusty winds made it difficult to hold on to that advantage as Zheng levelled it soon after. Surprisingly, there were no more breaks of serve in the set, a stat remarkable given the conditions. Sabalenka didn’t miss out after going in front in this tie-breaker though and levelled the match easily.
Zheng drew first blood in the third set to break her opponent but once Sabalenka had the measure of her, she retaliated with one of her own to level things at 3-3. And after that, there was no looking back for the Belarusian, who won a string of points in the final three games to complete a fighting, three-set win.
This win came on the heels of a 6-3, 6-0 rout of Maria Sakkari and an equally fighting three-setter against Anett Kontaveit.
Aryna Sabalenka v Svetlana Kuznetsova Predictions & Tips
This could actually be a toughie to call despite the wide difference in their rankings. Sabalenka starts favourite but we could see a three-setter in here which could go either way.
Tip: Three sets in the match: 8/5 (Click here to get these odds with Unibet)