World number 16 Victoria Azarenka has a tough initiation to this year’s French Open as she takes on familiar foe and Russian veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova in the first round of this competition on Sunday, May 30. Get the live streaming options of this Victoria Azarenka v Svetlana Kuznetsova match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Victoria Azarenka v Svetlana Kuznetsova Head to Head
This is a long-standing rivalry between two legends of the sport and a total of 10 matches have been played between these two. Azarenka leads 6-4 overall but on clay it’s Kuznetsova who is 2-1 ahead.
That being said, Azarenka has won each of their last five encounters including one at the WTA Doha played this year. The last time Kuznetsova even managed to take a set off her opponent was in Rome in 2009.
Azarenka Striving for More Clay Play
It’s not been the kind of season Azarenka would have liked following on from one of her best years in recent times. After having won the Cincinnati Open last season, Azarenka had gone on to feature in the final of the US Open, later even getting to the quarterfinals in Rome.
This year, Azarenka has played in only four tournaments on hard court, and one on clay – and in that Madrid Open, she won a round and had to withdraw before her second match.
Fitness concerns have plagued the Belarusian all season which means she enters the French Open half-baked for a clay court tournament like this.
That’s not to say Azarenka hasn’t done it before. The former French Open semifinalist had started off the post-pandemic phase of the 2020 season with just two exhibition matches under her belt, lost her opener at the Lexington Open and then stormed into the finals at Cincinnati Open and US Open.
Wouldn’t count out a champion player like Azarenka but it could get difficult.
Kuznetsova Hasn’t Played on Clay This Year Either
On the one hand, Azarenka has played very little tennis on clay this season but up against her is a player who hasn’t featured even in one match on dirt. Kuznetsova, in fact, has been out of action since Miami which where she was bundled out in the first round, more than two months ago.
The rest of Kuznetsova’s season has been anything but exemplary either.
She has played 11 matches and won just five of them, making it back to back wins only in Dubai. Last year, the Russian had had one appearance in the semifinal of a competition which came in Dubai but other than that struggled to get going after returning from the pandemic break.
And now that she is drawn a player who has got the better of her in recent times, it looks like Kuznetsova’s return following the two-month break could also end up in strife.
Azarenka v Kuznetsova Prediction and Tip
No surprises that Azarenka is a heavy favourite here at 2/7 and we think this could turn out to be a one-sided match with Kuznetsova coming into it as rusty as one could get.