World number seven Aryna Sabalenka faces Russian and 41st-ranked Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the semifinal of the 2021 Madrid Open on Thursday, May 6. Get the live streaming options of this Aryna Sabalenka v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Aryna Sabalenka v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova Head to Head
Their only previous meeting came at the 2019 Rogers Cup and Pavlyuchenkova had won that opening round match in three sets.
Sabalenka Makes Short Work of Doubles Partner
It was expected to be a fighting encounter what with Elise Mertens in some of the best recent form and been Sabalenka’s doubles partner with Grand Slam titles to their name. Unfortunately for Mertens, Sabalenka came out all guns firing and gave the Belgian very little chance in their Madrid quarterfinal.
Sabalenka was an overwhelming favourite coming into her match, having earlier dispatched each of her previous three opponents.
With just 12 games lost over the course of those three wins, it wasn’t too much of a surprise Sabalenka was 2/5 to win against Mertens but not too many expected the carnage that followed. May be it was Mertens’ injury, or other reasons but Sabalenka drilled past Mertens with two breaks of serves in both sets before the Belgian retired from the match.
The Belarusian herself saved all three of the break-points she faced including two in the very first game and advanced with 6-1, 4-0 win, at which time Mertens retired from the match.
Sabalenka’s rasping form make her a tournament favourite and her opponent here will have her task cut out.
Pavlyuchenkova Continues to be Too Good for Karolina
Having already beaten one of the two Karolinas in the draw earlier in the competition, Pavlyuchenkova stormed into the semifinal with a two-set win over the other one too, defeating Karolina Muchova 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2).
Pavlyuchenkova, who hadn’t made past the first round in this competition over the last three editions, needed two hours and two minutes to carve out a rare place for herself in the last four.
There were no breaks of serve for most of the first set but when Pavlyuchenkova got through Muchova’s serve to love, all she needed to do was to serve for the set. Instead, she took a more circuitous route as she first got broken back and then had to save three set-points to push the set into a tie-breaker.
There, Pavlyuchenkova was always ahead and clinched the opening set 7-4.
Pavlyuchenkova had last made it as far as the semifinal of a WTA competition in 2019, interestingly beating Muchova in the semifinal there before losing to Belinda Bencic in the final. Here, she completed a win over Muchova in the second set in another strange way – she went two breaks up but while serving for the match at 5-4, she was broken again.
The Russian then had another chance to serve out the match at 6-5 only to be pushed into a tie-breaker which she finally pocked to enter the last four.
Things will get rather tough from here on.
Sabalenka v Pavlyuchenkova Prediction and Tip
This looks very likely to be another straight-set win for the irresistible Sabalenka with a scoreline no worse than 6-3, 6-3 for her.