The 17th-ranken Elena Rybakina will face Russia’s world number 29 Ekaterina Alexandrova in the first round of the 2020 WTA Italian Open on Monday, September 14. The match begins at 11 am local time (10 am BST). Get the live streaming options of this Elena Rybakina v Ekaterina Alexandrova match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Elena Rybakina v Ekaterina Alexandrova Head to Head
Rybakina has played Alexandrova three times before this and on each of those three occasions, Alexandrova has won. Two of these matches have come at the WTA circuit and one other match in an exhibition competition in 2019 – the Czech League.
Both the WTA meetings came in 2020. At the first, Alexandrova was a 6-2, 6-4 winner over Rybakina in the final of the Shenzhen Open before they faced off at the Cincinnati Open in the first round. This time around it was a lot closer but the Russian still came away a winner in two tie-breakers.
Rybakina’s Not Had the Greatest Resumptions
Before the season had to be hurriedly suspended because of the pandemic, Rybakina was 21-4 on win-loss. That included appearances in four WTA finals of which she won one and was a runner-up at the other three.
Creditable performances across the first part of the season took her to world number 17 which is her career-best too.
The decision to not play a single exhibition match, however, during the pandemic break, looked to have backfired on Rybakina – at least in the short run. She was knocked out by Alexandrova in the very first match back after tennis resumed – that came at the Western & Southern Open – and that was followed by a second round loss at the US Open to Shelby Rogers.
And just as she was looking to readjust to the hard court circuit, Rybakina will be playing her first match on clay for the season. It could get a lot crazier as a result before things settle down for the Kazakh with her only solace coming in the form of her opponent’s poor clay record.
Alexandrova Struggles on Clay Well-Documented
The Russian world number 29 has won a total of 11 tournaments across different levels and only two of them – both on the ITF circuit – have come on clay, none of which happened after 2014.
In fact since 2016 when Alexandrova became a regular on the WTA circuit, she hasn’t had a winning record on red dirt. Across kinds of competition over the last four years, the Russian is 20-30 on win-loss on clay, a rather poor record.
And while her best Grand Slam performance, a third round appearance, did come at the French Open, this is the first time she is playing a main draw match at a clay court WTA Premier 5 or Premier Mandatory competition.
Alexandrova has one advantage though – she has been playing a few matches since the return of tennis. She had participated at the Palermo Open, Prague Open, Cincinnati Open and then the US Open and while she failed to win more than one match at any, there wouldn’t be any rustiness about playing on this surface.
Rybakina v Alexandrova Prediction & Tip
Rybakina’s better record on clay makes her a favourite but her rustiness will be a question-mark. We could be looking at a tighter than usual contest and one that Rybakina wins in three.
Tip: Rybakina to win in three sets: 8/11 (bet365)