World No. 88, Varvara Gracheva of Russia will take on the 81st-ranked Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine in the third round of the 2021 French Open on Friday, June 4. Get the live streaming options of this Varvara Gracheva v Marta Kostyuk match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Varvara Gracheva v Marta Kostyuk Head to Head
The pair have met twice before, and Kostyuk was victorious on both occasions. Their first meeting was in the final of an ITF event in 2019 on clay, and their second encounter came on hard courts in Cairo last year.
Gracheva Beats Experienced Italian
Gracheva made the second round at Roland Garros last year in her only previous Grand Slam appearance.
But now she has gone one better. Having beaten the Spanish qualifier, Lara Arruabarraena-Vecino relatively easily in the first round, she faced a sterner test in the form of the experienced Italian clay court specialist Camila Giorgi, the world number 80, on Thursday.
She passed with flying colours.
Giorgi had to save a break point in her opening service game, but it was the Italian who was the first one to break serve in the set.
However, then Gracheva reeled off five games in a row to turn things on their head, claiming the set into the bargain.
The Italian rallied though and hit back at the start of the second set, soon found herself two breaks up. Giorgi served out for the set and, at that stage of the proceedings, looked the favourite to win.
However, she was broken in her opening serve game of the second set, and, although she had two break back opportunities in her next game, could not take either.
That effectively sealed her fate, but Gracheva applied the coup de grace with another break, sealing victory with her second match point.
Muguruza Conqueror Kostyuk Looking to Advance Further
The Ukrainian teenager Kostyuk has previous made the third round at both the Australian and US Opens, but this is the first time she has ever been this far in Paris. On her only previous appearance in the main draw last year, she was beaten in the first round.
She began her campaign this time with a big win over the Spanish world number 13, Garbine Muguruza, who was well-backed to mount a title challenge this year, convincingly beating her in straight sets.
And she followed that up on Thursday with another good win over the world 57, Saisai Zhang of China.
After Kostyuk held her opening serve game, the next three games went against serve.
There were no further breaks in the set, although Zhang had her chances in a marathon tenth game that saw six deuces before Kostyuk finally claimed the set.
The Ukrainian ten consolidated her lead with an early break in the second set. Zhang briefly got it back to all-square, but Kostyuk promptly broke her again next game.
Again, Zhang had break back opportunities, could not convert them and the teenager was able to close out the match in an hour and 37 minutes.
Gracheva v Kostyuk Prediction and Tip
Both women have the chance to make personal history by making the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time. However, Kostyuk, buoyed by her big win over Muguruza has beaten the Russian in their two previous meetings, and will be the favourite to do so again.