World No. 87, Jasmine Paolini of Italy, will take on Alison Riske of the USA, the world number 38, and number three seed, in the final of the 2021 Slovenian Open on Sunday, September 19. Get the live streaming options of this Jasmine Paolini v Alison Riske match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Jasmine Paolini v Alison Riske Head to Head
The pair have never played each other before. This will be the first match between the 25-year old Italian, and the American, who is six years older.
Paolini’s Maiden WTA Senior Singles Final
This is Paolini’s first senior singles career final, although she had given hints before this week in Slovenia that she was on the verge of some sort of career breakthrough.
She had won the doubles at the Hamburg European Open with partner Jil Teichmann in July, and, earlier this year, made two WTA 125k finals, losing in Saint-Malo, but triumphing in Bol, Croatia.
She had a slice of luck in her opening round match when her opponent Dayan Yastremska of the Ukraine was forced to retire injured midway through their match, although the Italian was leading at the time.
But there was nothing fortunate about the way she then overcame the challenge of Anna Kalinskaya of Russian and the experienced Romania, Sorania-Mihaela Cirstea, to set up a semi-final clash with the second seed and world number 44 Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan.
In the first set it looked like Putintseva would romp away with the match. Paolini dropped her service four times, and, although she managed one service break of her own, it looked like she was being outclassed.
But she hung in there, and broke Putintseva at the start of the second set. She then surrendered that advantage but two more breaks enabled her to level the match.
And, when she broke the Kazakh woman again early in the third set, the tide seemed to have turned completely.
Paolini served for the match but faltered and Putintseva levelled, only for Paolini to earn a match point next game which she put away.
A Welcome Return to Form for Riske
Reaching the final in Slovenia is a welcome return to form for Riske who was a top twenty player two years ago, but has been struggling to rediscover the performance level that has earned her two senior career titles and finish runner-up on a further seven occasions.
She began her week with a straightforward victory over a local Slovenian, but was made to work much harder for Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia, dropping the first set to the world number 149, before rallying to win the next two.
Riske then eased her way past the French double’s specialist Kristina Mladenovic of France in their quarter-final t earn a semi-final meeting with home favourite Kaja Juvan, the world number 103, on Saturday evening.
The American dominated the first set, winning it to love as Juvan struggled to deal with the pressure of the occasion.
Riske made it seven games in a row she won the opening game of the second set, before Juvan briefly made a fight of it, by achieving a break of her own.
And, although the Juvan serve was then broken again, she dug seep and was able to level once more.
However, when Juvan was broken for a third time in the set, Riske did not squander the opportunity this time and closed out the match.
Paolini v Riske Prediction and Tip
It has been two years since Riske was last in a final and more than that since she last won a tournament, but she will never have a better opportunity to end that barren spell than with this match against a woman playing her first senior final. Paolini has done exceptionally well to get this far, but Riske’s greater experience should make the difference.