The 15th seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia will take on Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in what should be a closely contested first-round match at the WTA Abu Dhabi Open on Wednesday, January 6, with the match likely to begin at around 6 pm local time (2 pm BST or 8 am Eastern Time). Get the live streaming options of this Ons Jabeur v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Ons Jabeur v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova Head to Head
The Tunisian Jabeur won their only contest four years ago in Dubai, winning the Round-of-64 match in a tough three-setter.
Interestingly, they also faced off in the Ultimate Tennis Showdown in 2020, in which the Russian prevailed in straight ‘sets’.
Jabeur, One of the Most Impressive Players of 2020
The hard-hitting, versatile Ons Jabeur is coming off her best season on the tour. The Tunisian reached her maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal at the Australian Open, becoming the first Arab woman in history to reach the last eight of a major.
The 26-year-old right-hander, who is yet to win a WTA title, also reached the quarterfinals of the Qatar Open, Top Seed Open, Cincinnati Open and Ostrava Open, but failed to go past the last eight in any of those tournaments.
What was interesting to note for Jabeur was she had struggled to get going on hard courts in 2019, losing 16 of the 30 matches she played that season but came back strongly in 2020 to attain an 18-8 scoreline on the same.
With an overall 23-11 win-loss record, Jabeur reached her highest-ever ranking of 31 last year, and will be looking to carry that consistency in 2021 as well. However, she will be desperate to break the last eight jinx and make deeper runs this year.
Pavlyuchenkova Coming Off a Mixed Bag Year
One of the most consistent performers on the Tour for over a decade, Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is coming off a mixed 2020.
A 12-time WTA singles champion and eight-time finalist, Pavlyuchenkova started 2020 brightly, reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, but lacked the consistency rest of the season as she made early exits from all the other tournaments.
The 29-year-old right-hander is a six-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist who won her last title in Strasbourg in 2018.
Pavlyuchenkova finished 2020 with an overall singles record of 9-8. She will be looking to put the inconsistency of the latter half of last year behind her quickly and start well in Abu Dhabi.
Jabeur v Pavlyuchenkova Prediction and Tip
This should be a close contest. Going by how things turned out last year, Jabeur holds the edge. Expect the Tunisian to win a fiercely contested three-setter.
Tip: Jabeur to win in three sets: 3/1 (bet365)