World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka will play the Australian Storm Sanders in the first round of the 2022 Australian Open on Tuesday, January 18. Get the live streaming options of this Aryna Sabalenka v Storm Sanders match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Aryna Sabalenka v Storm Sanders Head to Head
Sabalenka leads Sanders 1-0, last beating her in ITF Perth 2 in 2016.
Sabalenka, Winless in 2022
Number two seed Aryna Sabalenka is yet to win a match this season. In the two games she has played so far – both in Adelaide spread over a week – the Belarusian has been beaten embarrassingly.
She has succumbed to players like Kaja Juvan and Rebecca Peterson – both of whom are ranked way below her. Moreover, Sabalenka struggled a lot with her service, dishing out a total of 39 doubles faults in the two matches.
Sabalenka ended last season as the No. 2 on the WTA Tour with a win-loss tally of 45-18. She won the titles in Abu Dhabi and Madrid Open, in addition to reaching the semifinal at the Wimbledon and US Open. But her current form clearly tells a different story.
Whether it is getting used to the new season, trying to meet the expectations as a top-three player, or just feeling the pressure – only time will tell. One thing that we cannot deny is her raw talent and sheer skill set. The 23-year-old has all the makings of becoming a tennis legend – all she needs is a bit of patience and control.
Sanders in for a Battle
27-year-old Storm Sanders is currently ranked World No. 128, which tells us all there is to know about her singles form. However, when Sabalenka lost to Juvan, the latter was ranked #100 so there is no reason why Sanders can’t add on to that misery.
As a singles player, the Aussie has had a comparatively better run in 2022. While she lost both of her matches in the first round in Adelaide 1 and 2, Sanders did pick up two wins as a qualifier. On the doubles circuit, however, she did win the title there with Ashleigh Barty.
But whether can she translate that success in the match against the formidable Belarusian is a whole different story. Sanders has never made it past the first round in the Australian Open; in her last three attempts, she was beaten in the qualifiers itself.
Sabalenka v Sanders Prediction and Tip
Ordinarily, Sabalenka would start as the overwhelming favourite but given her shaky form, Sanders has the ability to carve an upset. If there was a time to bet on the underdog, this would be it.