The inaugural edition of the WTA Astana Open will feature plenty of intriguing matches from day one. Six matches are on the slate on Monday. This is the first-ever WTA tour-level tournament to be held in Kazakhstan and there will be no shortage of representation by the home nation with Yulia Putintseva the headline act this week. The WTA 250 tournament is expected to run between September 27 – October 2, 2021.
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Lesia Tsurenko v Vitalia Diatchenko
First up on center court at the stroke of 11 am local time will be Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko bidding to win just her second main draw match of 2021. Tsurenko will start as the overwhelming favorite against her Russian opponent Vitalia Diatchenko. It is pertinent to note Diatchenko was forced to retire due to injury from her last outing in Luxembourg.
Alison Van Uytvanck v Zhibek Kulambayeva
Van Uytvanck will open up against Kazakhstan’s wild card entrant Zhibek Kulambayeva. The World No. 525 Kulambayeva has had a very impressive year on the ITF tour, winning her second title in Shymkent. But experience is expected to overcome youth in this one.
Anna-Lena Friedsam v Arina Rodionova
Friedsam has forged a career as an experienced doubles operator in recent years and she has been relatively quiet in singles action. She will play Australia’s Arina Rodionova on Monday. This will be a meeting between two players hovering outside the Top 100, and we envisage an encounter very low in quality.
Varvara Gracheva vv Kristyna Pliskova
Varvara Gracheva will seek to avenge her most recent loss to Kristyna Pliskova on the clay courts of Belgrade. And she should certainly fancy her chances in this encounter. The Russian World No. 82 was in decent form on the American hard courts – reaching the last four of the Chicago Women’s Open and the US Open third round.
Anastasia Gasanova v Yulia Hatouka
Anastasia Gasanova has had a taste of tour-level tennis this season and scored her career-best win over Karolina Pliskova on her main draw debut in Abu Dhabi. She followed it up with another sizzling run to the last eight of St. Petersburg – mastering her experienced compatriot Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the process. It is fair to say she will be a major threat this week in Nur Sultan by virtue of getting an automatic main draw spot.
Aleksandra Krunic v Katie Boulter
Both Alexandra Krunic and Katie Boulter navigated their way into the main draw through qualifying, and incidentally, dropping just seven games each in two matches. And going by pre-match estimates, this should be a pretty even contest.