The 17th seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova will be up against world number 80 Zarina Diyas in the opening round of the 2021 WTA Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, January 6, with the match likely to begin at around 8 pm local time (4 pm BST or 10 am Eastern Time). Get the live streaming options of this Ekaterina Alexandrova v Zarina Diyas match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Ekaterina Alexandrova v Zarina Diyas Head to Head
There have been no previous matches between the 33rd-ranked Alexandrova and her opponent Diyas.
Alexandrova Makes it Three Titles in as Many Years
Very few players were able to maintain the kind of form they had shown in the season before the pandemic hit and Alexandrova was one whose results were affected by the five-month break in 2020.
Having won two titles in the two years leading into 2020, Alexandrova kick-started the 2020 season with a rousing performance at the Shenzhen Open in January. She defeated the likes of Wang Qiang, Garbine Muguruza and Elena Rybakina to lift her third title in as many years at that competition and followed it up with a third round appearance at the Australian Open.
Things looked up when Alexandrova made it to the semifinal at the WTA St. Petersburg after that but once the pandemic struck, the Russian suffered form issues.
In none of the first six tournaments after resumption, Alexandrova managed to win more than a match, finally achieving that at the French Open where she made the third round. Another first round exit followed soon after at Ostrava before she ended the season on bit of a high when she made it to the semifinal in Linz, going down to Elise Mertens in the end.
It’s a new season now and while it doesn’t begin at her favourite Shenzhen Open, she can look to slowly build into some rhythm heading into the season’s first Grand Slam next month.
Diyas Struggling to Break Back into the Big League
It’s been more than five years ago that Diyas was ranked 31st in the world and hunting for a spot in the top 30. Unfortunately for her, she has never come close to her personal best again, having slipped outside the top 150 in 2016, and then hitting a rather abysmal 242nd in 2017.
Diyas has, since, climbed back into the top 100 but the struggles have been real as the results haven’t quite gone her way.
Barring a couple of ITF-level tournaments which she won over the last two years, Diyas hasn’t quite delivered at the highest level and much like most others, 2020 wasn’t her best tennis season either.
At the same tournament that Alexandrova won a title in 2020, Shenzhen Open, Diyas made it to the quarterfinal early last season and then followed it up with a third round appearance at the Australian Open. From then on, however, things went rather pear-shaped for the Kazakh.
In fact after the resumption, it took Diyas five tournaments to win her first match, and she ended the season with just that win and seven defeats following the pandemic break.
Can she show more gumption here to start things off.
Alexandrova v Diyas Prediction and Tip
Alexandrova should be an overwhelming favourite and she has shown earlier rustiness doesn’t really affect her – having won the Shenzhen Open at the start of the year in 2020. Expecting her to romp this one.
Tip: Alexandrova to win in straight sets: 8/11 (bet365)