18-year-old Marta Kostyuk will face the challenge of Lucie Hradecká, a two-time Grand Slam doubles winner, in the first round of the 2021 WTA Abu Dhabi Open. The match is scheduled for Thursday, January 7, and is likely to begin sometime after 11:00 am local time (7 am BST or 1 am Eastern Time). Get the live streaming options of this Marta Kostyuk v Lucie Hradecká match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Marta Kostyuk v Lucie Hradecká Head to Head
The two have never faced each other in a competitive match before. This will be the first-ever encounter between them.
Kostyuk’s Steady Rise in 2020
The 2020 season may have been shortened due to the pandemic, but Kostyuk still made some great strides in her career.
She won her third ITF title, doing so after beating Aliona Bolsova 6-1, 6-0 in the final in Cairo. She also reached two other ITF finals, both of which she unfortunately lost.
Additionally, she made her main draw debut in two other Grand Slams, having already featured once before in the 2018 Australian Open.
She was eliminated in the first round of the French Open, but her third round-berth in the US Open matched her 2018 finish in the Australian Open. Even more impressive were the players that she defeated in that run to the third round.
She outplayed former top-10 player Daria Kasatkina, defeating her in straight sets, then set her sights on Anastasija Sevastova, who she bested in straight sets as well. She met eventual champion Naomi Osaka in the third round, and despite mounting a comeback, she fell short in the third set.
With age still on her side and her experience slowly mounting, it won’t take long for Kostyuk to truly shine on the grander stages.
Hradecká Makes it Past The Qualifiers
Unlike her opponent on the day, Hradecká didn’t play a lot of singles matches in 2020. In fact, she only played five, winning two and losing the other three.
Her last singles WTA-level action actually came in Doha all the way in February.
The main focus in her career has always been doubles, which she added to by winning the Prague Open in 2020, in addition to reaching the doubles final in Linz where Arantxa Rus and Tamara Zidanšek ended up defeating her and her partner Kateřina Siniaková.
Because of her low WTA ranking, she was forced to enter this competition through the qualifiers, which she has been good value so far.
She came from behind in her first qualifier to beat Andrea Lazaro Garcia and then defeated Carol Zhao in straight sets; both of those wins ultimately earning her a position in this competition’s main draw.
Kostyuk v Hradecká Prediction and Tip
Hradecka’s lack of singles action and her drop in the rankings give Kostyuk a slight edge in this one. Additionally, Kostyuk’s steady rise, all-round balance in her game, and great performances on different courts all make her a hard choice to overlook.
Hradecká’s experience may make this tie tougher for Kostyuk, but, ultimately, I expect the young Ukrainian to find a way through.
Tip: Kostyuk to win in straight sets: 4/5 (bet365)