World number five Sofia Kenin will be up against the 14th-ranked Victoria Azarenka in the second round of the 2020 WTA Italian Open on Thursday, September 17. The match is expected to begin at around 5 pm local time (4 pm BST). Get the live streaming options of this Sofia Kenin v Victoria Azarenka match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Sofia Kenin v Victoria Azarenka Head to Head
This is the second match Kenin and Azarenka will play against each other. In their first, which was held on the hard courts of Acapulco last season, Kenin needed three sets to get past Azarenka and move to the semifinal.
Kenin’s Big Test on Clay
Seeded third in the tournament, Kenin had a first round bye which means she plays her first match on the surface for the season. She did participate in the Credit Bank One International during the pandemic break, where she won and lost one match.
Kenin has won five WTA titles since the start of 2019, one of which came at that Australian Open earlier this year but clay becomes a different kettle of fish. Because none of those titles came on red dirt, while her performances at the Madrid Open and Italian Open, the two WTA Premier competitions on clay, haven’t been much to write home about either.
It’s still early days in her career obviously her two outings at Madrid have resulted in a career-best of round one while she has done slightly better in Rome, reaching the third round last year.
What makes this second round encounter a touch more difficult is her lack of match practice on clay and the fact Kenin’s form has lost bit of the sparkle which was on display in the first part of the season. The lack of tennis would obviously have played its part and she should be back soon enough but whether it would be against Victoria Azarenka on clay remains to be seen.
Azarenka Flies Down from NY & Beats Venus
Now ranked 14th in the world, it looks like Azarenka is back to where she belongs; another solid showing in a tournament or two and the top 10 isn’t too far away.
Her participating in the Italian Open is her testimony to wanting to do whatever she can to extend her good form because she is coming off finishing off the US Open on Saturday night, passing time-zones and featuring in her opener here on Wednesday. Azarenka’s was the only first round match that was played as late as Wednesday which means from here on till the time she lives on in the tournament, she would be playing back to back matches.
The Belarusian did not show any signs of raggedness in her first round win, despite having now played 16 matches in a span of 26 days. She was a 7-6, 6-2 winner over Venus Williams, a player who had beaten her just prior to Azarenka’s Cincinnati Open run – they had met at the Lexington Open in August.
Azarenka will face a sterner test but what’s in her favour is her clay court experience and the ability to find a way to win these days.
Kenin v Azarenka Prediction & Tip
Azarenka’s form and adrenaline should see her through this one. If anything her first round match was expected to be her real test what with all the jet-lag and lack of clay court practice. This one, she might just be better prepared.
Tip: Azarenka to win: 8/11 (bet365)