American teenage sensation Cori Gauff will begin the new year with a first round match against Norway’s Ulrikke Eikeri in the WTA Abu Dhabi on Thursday, January 7, with the match likely to begin at around 2:30 pm local time (10.30 am BST or 4.30 am Eastern Time). Get the live streaming options of this Cori Gauff v Ulrikke Eikeri match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Cori Gauff v Ulrikke Eikeri Head to Head
There have been no previous meetings on the WTA circuit between Gauff and Eikeri.
Gauff Hopes to Keep Building on the Results
She was just 15 when Gauff won her maiden WTA title in 2019 and while the pressure to perform even at that young age has gotten the better of a few of the other tennis stars from yesteryear, the American has, for now, held her ground rather well.
The previous season was bit of an issue for most players given its start-stop nature and the various strict protocols associated with the pandemic, but Gauff did enough to show the kind of sparkle that has always been associated with her.
At the Australian Open, for instance, Gauff stunned Venus Williams, Sorana Cirstea and Naomi Osaka to make it to the fourth round. Her next tournament was straight after the pandemic break and Gauff managed scalps of Aryna Sabalenka and Ons Jabeur in the Lexington Open to enter the semifinal.
And then as a qualifier she made the second round at the Ostrava Open only to go down fighting to Sabalenka – the eventual winner.
While she isn’t quite a favourite at a Grand Slam yet, a solid showing here in Abu Dhabi could make for an interesting viewing heading into the year’s first Grand Slam next month.
Eikeri’s Best Ranking is 206th
The Norwegian Eikeri has never seen the inside of the top 200 ranking on the WTA charts and she starts off the season ranked 260th in the world. Known more for her doubles play, with a top ranking just outside the top 100, all Eikeri’s titles have come at the ITF level.
This includes 11 in the singles competition to go with 25 in doubles having also made it to the final of the Orange Bowl as a junior growing into the tennis scene.
Unfortunately for Eikeri, she hasn’t quite been able to convert that youthful talent into something greater on the senior circuit, with her best Grand Slam results showing first round exits from the qualifying stages.
Playing against someone 12 years her junior would have otherwise given her some hope but given the precocious talent Gauff is, it could get really difficult for the 260th-ranked Eikeri. Can Eikeri, who is playing in her first main draw match since the 2020 Hua Hin Open, push the American into a third?
Gauff v Eikeri Prediction and Tip
This could turn out to be a very one-sided encounter with Gauff starting out a whopping 1/33 to win this. Instead the games market looks a lot more tempting.
Tip: Over 16.5 games in the match: 8/11 (bet365)