Fixture: Karolina Muchova vs Daria Kasatkina
Date: 9 January 2021
Tournament: Abu Dhabi Women's Tennis Open 2021
Round: Round of 32 (Second round)
Venue: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Category: WTA 500
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $565,530
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel
Karolina Muchova vs Daria Kasatkina preview
Karolina Muchova scored a solid straight-sets win over Montenegro's Danka Kovinic on Thursday to move into the second round of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Women's Tennis Open.
The 12th seed at the season-opening tournament, Muchova has been on a steady upward graph over the last two years but is yet to find her big breakthrough win. A deep run in a star-studded field could set her up well ahead of the Australian Open that is slated to be played in February.
However, she faces a tough task ahead as former top 10 player Daria Kasatkina awaits her in the next round.
Kasatkina has been going through a bit of a poor patch, one that saw her drop out of the top 50 in the world rankings. She will be looking for a good start to the new season.
Kasatkina is best known for her exploits on clay. While she does have a couple of big hardcourt titles, they have only come at her home tournament and that too at the back end of the year.
Unfortunately for the Russian, she hasn't yet been unable to solve the early-season puzzle.
The warm conditions in Abu Dhabi won't do her any favors either. Kasatkina plays a very physical brand of tennis, putting in her full effort into every shot, and that sort of game could be hard to maintain in such extreme heat.
She has already played two three-set matches this week (one each in the singles and doubles events), and it will be interesting to see if that becomes a factor in the match against Muchova.
Karolina Muchova vs Daria Kasatkina head-to-head
This will be the first time that Karolina Muchova and Daria Kasatkina cross paths on the senior tour, so their current head-to-head stands at a 0-0 deadlock.
Karolina Muchova vs Daria Kasatkina prediction
While Daria Kasatkina might have a slight edge when it comes to experience, Karolina Muchova is definitely the better player in the given conditions.
The Czech player's game, which is based on flat groundstrokes and efficiency at the net, is tailor-made for the hardcourts of Abu Dhabi. She showed her ability to win quick points in her first-round encounter, and that would have helped her save energy for a potentially lengthy match.
Kasatkina will definitely look to turn the match into a physical affair, trying to expose the weaknesses in her opponent's baseline defence. And that's where Muchova will need to be a little careful; she can't afford to let Kasatkina dictate too much.
If the Czech can find a way to continue her effective approaches and aggressive play, she should be able to weather the Kasatkina onslaught.
Prediction: Karolina Muchova to win in two tight setsPublished 08 Jan 2021, 02:38 IST