World number 34 Wang Qiang of China will be up against Daria Kasatkina in the first round of the 2021 WTA Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, January 6, with the match likely to begin at around 10 local time (6 am BST or 12 midnight Eastern Time). Get the live streaming options of this Daria Kasatkina v Wang Qiang match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Daria Kasatkina v Wang Qiang Head to Head
There have been five previous meetings between these two players and Kasatkina leads Qiang 4-1 on head to head. Four of these five matches came in the first round of tournaments with Kasatkina having won three of them while the only other match was held in the round-robin stages of the WTA Elite Trophy in 2018.
On hard court surfaces, Kasatkina has a 2-1 advantage over Qiang but all the three matches have gone to three sets. In fact, all their five matches have been evenly contested, with four of them going into a third set and the only other match ending 7-5, 7-6 in favour of Kasatkina.
Kasatkina Arrests Slide in 2020
Once ranked 10th in the world, Kasatkina’s recent struggles have been well chronicled. Having ended the 2018 season at her career-best ranking, she endured a woeful 2019 with only 13 wins from her 34 matches and that ensured her ranking plumetted to 70th in the world.
Things could have gotten a lot worse in 2020 but for her showing in two of the last three tournaments she played where she made it to the third round at the Italian Open and then the second round in Ostrava – both times as a qualifier.
In fact, at Rome, she showed form from her best years, enough to trouble Victoria Azarenka in the first set which went into the tie-breaker. However, a right ankle injury put paid to her chances and a desolate Kasatkina had to retire from the contest.
What Kasatkina will hope for is a steadier showing in 2021, which helps her break into the top 30 and for that she would need a solid start to the season.
Qiang Aims to Claw Back to Her Best
China’s Qiang was once ranked 12th in the world but over the last two seasons that ranking has slid to just outside the top 30.
Qiang had earlier made it big in 2018 with two title wins to her name on the hard courts of Nanchang and Guangzhou but since then her form has fallen away. In 2019, for instance, she finished the season on a 24-20 win-loss record with two semifinal appearances and then had an even worse first quarter of the 2020 season with a 7-6 record.
It looked like she had things under control when the Chinese stunned Serena Williams in the third round at the Australian Open but a shock loss to Ons Jabeur in the fourth round was followed by some overwhelming results.
Strangely, Wang Qiang opted not to participate in any of the tennis after the sport returned from the pandemic-related break but aided by the change of ranking rules, she managed to fall only five places to 34th in the world.
Kasatkina v Qiang Prediction and Tip
Kasatkina is a favourite here according to the bookmakers, starting out at 8/11 but Qiang’s record on hard court is something to look at and we think she would win at least a set.
Tip: Wang Qiang to win a set: 4/9 (bet365)