Fixture: Karolina Pliskova vs Anasatasia Gasanova
Date: 9 January 2021
Tournament: Abu Dhabi WTA Women's Tennis Open 2021
Round: Round of 32 (Second round)
Venue: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Category: WTA 500
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $565,530
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel
Karolina Pliskova vs Anastasia Gasanova preview
Third seed Karolina Pliskova takes on qualifier Anastasia Gasanova in the second round of the Abu Dhabi Women's Tennis Open 2021 on Saturday.
Former World No. 1 Pliskova got her season off to a flier on Thursday by defeating Despina Papamichail in straight sets. The Czech player usually starts her season well, and she will look to build on her first round win and mount a title challenge at the new WTA 500 event in Abu Dhabi.
Pliskova does, however, come into the 2021 season on the back of an underwhelming year. The 28-year-old defended her crown in Brisbane last year but only made one final for the rest of the season - in Rome. She finished the season as World No. 3 only due to the frozen rankings system.
Armed with a new coach in Sascha Bajin, Pliskova will look to gain momentum going into the Australian Open next month. The next hurdle she has to cross in Abu Dhabi is that of Russian player Anastasia Gasanova.
World No. 292 Gasanova has been a sporadic presence on the WTA tour but is a mainstay at ITF events. With three wins in three consecutive days in Abu Dhabi, she will look to notch up a big win at the expense of the World No. 3 on Saturday.
Karolina Pliskova vs Anastasia Gasanova head-to-head
The second-round encounter in Abu Dhabi is the first between Karolina Pliskova and Anastasia Gasanova, so their head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Karolina Pliskova vs Anastasia Gasanova prediction
Given her solid performance in the first round and considerable superiority in rankings, Karolina Pliskova comes into the match as the overwhelming favorite over Anastasia Gasanova.
Despite her rustiness, Pliskova made a statement through her performance in the first round. And as she does every year, she looks like a good bet to pick up an early title at the start of the 2021 season.
To stand any chance of causing an upset, Gasanova will have to counter her opponent's big serve and hard-hitting groundstrokes by testing her movement and defence. However, all signs point towards an easy win for Pliskova.
Prediction: Karolina Pliskova to win in straight sets.