Swiss world number 12 Belinda Bencic faces the 37th-ranked Svetlana Kuznetsova in the second round of the 2021 Australian Open on Thursday, February 11, with the match likely to begin at around 11 am local time (12 noon BST or 7 pm Eastern Time previous day). Get the live streaming options of this Belinda Bencic v Svetlana Kuznetsova match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Belinda Bencic v Svetlana Kuznetsova Head to Head
In the five meetings between these two players, Bencic leads 3-2.
Their first match came at the Japan Open in 2014 and Bencic had crushed Kuznetsova in straight sets in the first round, before the Russian levelled things out in Wuhan two years later. Bencic won at the Madrid Open and St. Petersburg Open in the 2019-20 period while Kuznetsova then pulled back last year at Doha.
Bencic Shrugs off Grampians Defeat
Highly rusty, Bencic had crashed out of the Grampians Trophy in the second round – her first match – as she went down to Sorana Cirstea in straight sets. That had been the Swiss number one’s first match since September last year where at Rome, Bencic was playing in her first WTA tournament of the post-pandemic season.
Which is why Bencic wouldn’t have gone into her first round match at the Australian Open with a whole lot of confidence and which is also why her priority would have been to get a win out of the way. It turned out to be a scratchy affair in the end with Bencic needing three sets and two and a half hours to get past Lauren Davis, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1.
Where Bencic did struggle was her serve. While she broke her opponent eight times, she was herself at the receiving end of the same on five occasions. Her winners-unforced errors differential was an obvious issue too with Bencic hitting 36 winners to 47 unforced errors, making it doubly difficult for her.
Against a solid opponent like Kuznetsova, that might not work too well.
Kuznetsova Also Overcomes Rustiness
There are a few similarities between Kuznetsova and Bencic from recent times. Like her opponent, Kuznetsova also struggled towards the second half of the previous season, featuring in only three tournaments – all of which came on clay – and winning just a couple of matches.
And much like Bencic, Kuznetsova also played and lost in her opening match at the Grampians Trophy last week, going down 6-3, 6-0 to Jennifer Brady. Which is why while starting out as a favourite against Barbora Strycova in the first round here at the Australian Open, Kuznetsova might have had a few nerves despite her humongous experience.
Well, if she did, it certainly didn’t come through on to the court.
Because the Russian hammered 20 winners in an hour and 26 minutes to register a 6-2, 6-2 win over Strycova to set up this second round encounter.
Bencic v Kuznetsova Prediction and Tip
There isn’t anything to choose between the two with both starting out at very similar odds – 1/1 for Bencic and 4/5 for a Kuznetsova win. We think Kuznetsova has the better of confidence between the two and to go with the experience she possesses, the match could be headed her way.
Tip: Kuznetsova to win: 4/5 (bet365)