World number two Aryna Sabalenka will be up against Russian and 37th-ranked Ekaterina Alexandrova in the quarterfinal of the 2021 Kremlin Cup on Friday, October 22. Get the live streaming options of this Aryna Sabalenka v Ekaterina Alexandrova match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Aryna Sabalenka v Ekaterina Alexandrova Head to Head
While Alexandrova registered a win over Sabalenka on the ITF circuit in 2017, the Belarusian player made it two victories in a row after that on the WTA circuit.
Sabalenka Pushed by Tomljanovic
A semifinalist at the US Open earlier this year, Sabalenka had been out of action for a bit because of coronavirus and understandably looked rusty in her opener here.
Ajla Tomljanovic, however, lost steam in the final set as Sabalenka downed her Aussie opponent 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-1 to wrap up the victory in two hours and 10 minutes.
The first set saw Sabalenka take a 5-3 lead and should have wrapped it up comfortably but was broken back and pushed into a tie-breaker – the first signs of her difficulties.
The world number two then went 2-0 up in the second set, only to lose the initiative, her serve and the set to fall back on terms. Fortunately for her, Sabalenka came roaring back as Tomljanovic won just 10 points on her serve despite getting 81% first serves in.
Can Sabalenka shrug off her rustiness here?
Alexandrova Overcoming Form Troubles?
It has been a fairly forgettable year for Alexandrova, who hasn’t made too much of an impression in any of the tournaments she participated in since her semifinal appearance at the Gippsland Trophy. That was the last time Alexandrova won three matches in a row this year.
Which is also why, coming into this competition, the Russian had a win-loss record of 22-20 for 2021, and started off a woeful second favourite in her opener against Ons Jabeur.
An injury to Jabeur obviously helped but Alexandrova had raced through the first set by then and was leading 6-1, 1-0 when her Tunisian opponent retired from the encounter.
And in the second round, Alexandrova needed just an hour and 14 minutes to usurp Anhelina Kalinina 6-4, 6-1 to make it to the last eight.
The question now is whether she has enough momentum to combine with some of her opponent’s rust to make it her first set of three wins in a row since February.
Sabalenka v Alexandrova Prediction and Tip
Sabalenka should have enough firepower to get past Alexandrova but the Russian should be able to hold her own in this contest.