Fixture: (11) Jennifer Brady vs Tamara Zidansek
Tournament: Abu Dhabi Women's Tennis Open 2021
Round: Round of 64 (First round)
Venue: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Category: WTA 500
Surface: Outdoor Hardcourt
Prize money: $565,530
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel
Jennifer Brady vs Tamara Zidansek preview
11th-seeded Jennifer Brady will open her 2021 Abu Dhabi Open campaign with a first-round encounter against Slovenian No. 2 Tamara Zidansek.
The American would be hoping to use the first few matches of the new season as an opportunity to assert her presence on the tour following a breakout 2020. Not only did Brady reach her first Major semifinal last year (at the US Open), but she also won her first title and attained a career-high ranking of No. 24.
That said, things will not be easy for the fast-rising American as Zidansek can be a very tricky opponent.
Zidansek troubled Garbine Muguruza in the first round of the French Open last year, stretching the former World No. 1 to 8-6 in the third set. And while the conditions will be very different in Abu Dhabi, the Slovenian definitely has the game to trouble Brady.
Zidansek isn't best equipped to outhit the powerful players on the tour. However, she has a very solid baseline-oriented game that helps her stay in rallies longer than most others.
That's the sort of game that often troubles Brady, who likes to go for winners early in the rallies. And while she has definitely matured in the last 12 months or so, the American is still susceptible to the occasional collapse.
Jennifer Brady vs Tamara Zidansek head-to-head
Tamara Zidansek leads the head-to-head against Jennifer Brady 1-0. She won the duo's only previous meeting, which came on the hardcourts of Hua Hin in January last year.
Jennifer Brady vs Tamara Zidansek prediction
Despite trailing in the head-to-head, Jennifer Brady will enter this match as the firm favorite. And that's largely because of the American's year-end surge that saw her break into the top 25.
She would still need to be wary of Zindansek's tenacious game. The Slovenian has repeatedly shown a knack for turning matches around from seemingly impossible situations.
Even in the duo's last encounter, Zidansek came back from losing the second set 6-0 to win the decider in a tiebreaker.
Brady will definitely look to be the aggressor in the match, but she will need to be careful and not over-press too early. If she manages to keep her unforced errors in check, she should have enough in the tank to come through this one.
Prediction: Jennifer Brady to win in two tight sets.