World number 18 Elena Rybakina will be up against China’s Shuai Zhang in the quarterfinal of the Strasbourg Open 2020 on Thursday, September 24. The match timings will be announced soon. Get the live streaming options of this Elena Rybakina v Shuai Zhang match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Elena Rybakina v Shuai Zhang Head to Head
Their only previous meeting came in Hobart earlier this year when Rybakina registered a straight-set win over Shuai in the final to lift the title.
Rybakina Continues to Flourish
The Kazakh world number 18 had a brilliant start to the season on hard court surfaces with four finals and one title under her belt (her only title coming at the expense of Zhang in the final of Hobart). The question post the pandemic break was if she could replicate some of that form on clay as well.
Rybakina did win her maiden WTA title at the Bucharest Open which was on clay which gives that added boost but the two tournaments she has played on the surface this year, at Rome and here at Strasbourg, have been a step-up in terms of the opposition.
At Rome, she was an easy winner over Ekaterina Alexandrova and Marie Bouzkova and should have beaten Yulia Putintseva easily in the third round. Unfortunately, she capitulated at 5-2 in the second set after having won the first to go out of the tournament.
It looks like that defeat hasn’t bothered her too much yet. A straight-set win over Greet Minnen was followed by another 6-3, 7-6 victory over Alize Cornet in the second round and Rybakina now plays an opponent whose record on clay isn’t the greatest by any stretch.
Zhang Fights Past Wildcard Entrant
Despite being 40th in the world, Zhang did not have it easy against the wild-card entrant Clara Burel just as we thought would be the case. And the reason for that is simply Zhang’s underwhelming record on clay, which makes her quarterfinal appearance here even more special.
After falling in round one of the Italian Open last week, Zhang needed to make it to the main draw here through a qualifier. A fighting first round win over Ajla Tomljanovic set her up with Burel, a young wild-card ranked 415th in the world.
There was struggle for Zhang in both the sets. She was broken early by Burel who took a 3-2 lead before Zhang raced off to a 6-3 win. And then in the second, there were six breaks of serves in total, as neither player found the going easy on their own service.
Zhang finally clinched the match in the tie-breaker but will hope to improve on her the points she wins on her first serve, which was only 55% of the times she got her serve in.
Rybakina v Zhang Prediction & Tip
Rybakina is a super favourite here, with odds of 2/9 for her win and a straight-set win looks very likely here for the Kazakh.
Tip: Rybakina to win in straight sets: 8/13 (bet365)