World number 12 Aryna Sabalenka has a tough first round match at the 2020 French Open as she takes on USA’s Jessica Pegula with the match to be played on Monday, September 28. It begins at around 12.30 pm local time (11.30 am BST). Get the live streaming options of this Aryna Sabalenka v Jessica Pegula match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Aryna Sabalenka v Jessica Pegula Head to Head
There has been just one match played between Sabalenka and Pegula, ranked 60th in the world and the reason why it was earlier mentioned as this being a toughie for the Belarusian is because of what happened in their previous encounter. It came in the Cincinnati Open earlier in August, a round of 16 encounter which Pegula went on to win in three sets.
Sabalenka Improving with Every Tournament
Sabalenka had made a slow start to the post-pandemic season, having struggled in each of the first three competitions she had played in. As a result, Sabalenka lost in the second match she played at the Lexington Open, Cincinnati Open and US Open, unable to get any kind of rhythm.
What made those defeats more surprising than usual was the fact she was playing on surfaces she loves. Hard courts are where Sabalenka has found most success, having won all seven of her titles on them.
As recently as just prior to the sport going on a break, Sabalenka had clinched the Qatar Open, beating the likes of Anett Kontaveit, Maria Sakkari and Petra Kvitova during the course of her win.
Which is why her performance at the Strasbourg Open, her first tournament of the season on clay, would be so heartening. Not her most favourite surface by any stretch, Sabalenka came through to the semifinal, fighting in two of those three wins, before falling to Elina Svitolina in another gritty encounter.
Can she push on at Roland-Garros too, where she has never gone beyond round two.
Pegula Waiting for Maiden French Open Win
Pegula has been around for a while now, having appeared in her first French Open competition in 2013. She failed to make it out of the qualifying rounds and continued to struggle to do that till the 2019 edition where she got to the main draw but fell in her opener.
In fact that has been the case with all her other Grand Slam campaigns except the US Open where she had earlier this year made the third round.
Pegula, who had won the Washington Open title last year, also made the quarterfinals of the Cincinnati Open this season starting out as a qualifier. She then marched into the third round at Flushing Meadows, adding to the title-decider at the Auckland Open where she lost to Serena Williams.
Unfortunately for her, other than a handful of exhibition matches she’s played on clay this year, Pegula hasn’t participated in any clay court tournament. And that could be a big issue going up against a top player finding her feet and coming into the French Open with a few matches on clay under her belt.
Sabalenka v Pegula Prediction and Tip
Sabalenka is 2/5 to win this opening round match, but given Pegula’s record against her it could be a fighting one.
Tip: Over 20.5 games in the match: 5/6 (bet365)