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Adelaide International 2022: Aryna Sabalenka vs Kaja Juvan preview, head-to-head & prediction

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Aryna Sabalenka and Kaja Juvan.
Aryna Sabalenka and Kaja Juvan.

Match details

Fixture: (2) Aryna Sabalenka vs Kaja Juvan

Date: 5 January 2021

Tournament: Adelaide International 2022

Round: Round of 16 (Second round)

Venue: Melbourne, Australia

Category: WTA 500

Surface: Outdoor hardcourt

Prize money: $703,580

Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video

Aryna Sabalenka vs Kaja Juvan preview

Aryna Sabalenka at the 2021 Madrid Open.
Aryna Sabalenka at the 2021 Madrid Open.

After an opening round bye, World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka will square off against Slovenia's Kaja Juvan in the second round of the Adelaide International on Wednesday.

Sabalenka enjoyed immense success in 2021, to say the least. The Belarusian has improved with every passing year on tour, and last season was the best of her career so far.

After years of underperforming at the Slams, Sabalenka reached her maiden Major semifinal at Wimbledon. She followed that up with another last four showing at the US Open.

Sabalenka also won her fourth WTA 1000 title last year, at the Madrid Open. Her consistent performances throughout 2021 helped her clinch a spot at the WTA Finals and a career-high ranking of World No. 2.

The 23-year-old also found success in doubles, to put it mildly. She won her second Grand Slam title at the Australian Open and ascended to the top of the rankings for the first time.

Sabalenka will be eager to build upon her recent results and go one step further in 2022. A good showing in Adelaide will boost her chances of challenging Ashleigh Barty for the World No. 1 ranking at the Australian Open.

Kaja Juvan, meanwhile, defeated Chloe Paquet 6-4 6-2 to kick off her Adelaide International campaign on a winning note.

The 21-year old made progress of her own during the 2021 season. She reached the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time at the Australian Open, and then repeated the feat at Wimbledon.

Kaja Juvan at the 2021 Australian Open: Day 2
Kaja Juvan at the 2021 Australian Open: Day 2

Juvan's best result of 2021 was a semi-final showing at the Slovenia Open, where she lost to Alison Riske. The Slovenian also made her top 100 debut last year, peaking at number 90.

Aryna Sabalenka vs Kaja Juvan head-to-head

This will be the first meeting between Aryna Sabalenka and Kaja Juvan, so the head-to-head is currently tied at 0-0.

Aryna Sabalenka vs Kaja Juvan prediction

Aryna Sabalenka at the 2021 US Open.
Aryna Sabalenka at the 2021 US Open.

Given the vast difference in their experience and ranking, Aryna Sabalenka will enter this contest as the overwhelming favorite. With her big serve and even bigger groundstrokes, the Belarusian is a formidable opponent for anyone.

That said, Kaja Juvan could give her some trouble. The 21-year-old frequently utilizes drop shots to disrupt her opponent's rhythm, which is something that could bother Sabalenka. Juvan also knows she's the underdog and has nothing to lose, which could help her play fearless tennis and potentially cause an upset.

Aryna Sabalenka has been at the receiving end of such an experience before, with Leylah Fernandez famously upstaging her in the semifinals of the 2021 US Open. She has also developed an unwelcome tendency to rack up double faults when put under pressure, and that is something Juvan could exploit on Wednesday.

Still, Sabalenka is clearly the more powerful and seasoned player of the two. If she plays her best - as she would be determined to given that it is the start of the year - the Belarusian should be able to prevail.

Prediction: Aryna Sabalenka to win in straight sets.

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Edited by Musab Abid
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