Fixture: Vera Zvonareva vs Marta Kostyuk
Date: 10 November 2020
Tournament: Upper Austria Ladies Linz Open 2020
Round: First round (Round of 32)
Venue: Linz, Austria
Category: WTA International
Surface: Indoor hardcourt
Prize money: $225,500
Match timing: Approx. 5 pm local time, 9.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel
Vera Zvonareva vs Marta Kostyuk preview
It's been a decade since 36-year-old Vera Zvonareva enjoyed the best season of her career.
In 2010, Zvonareva reached the finals at Wimbledon and the US Open and peaked at No. 2 in the world. Since then, the Russian has gone through injuries, surgery, marriage, childbirth and now a comeback to the tennis circuit.
Zvonareva is now ranked No. 183 in the world in singles. She is, however, much better placed - at No. 41 - in doubles, after winning the 2020 US Open women's doubles title with Laura Siegemund.
The Russian has also posted some decent results in singles this year. She reached the semifinals of the Oracle Challenger Series event in March, the round of 16 at the Western & Southern Open in August, and the final of an ITF event in Turkey just last week.
Her opponent, 18-year-old Marta Kostyuk, was born two years after Zvonareva turned pro in 2000. Kostyuk enjoyed a stellar junior career, which included the under-14 title at the Orange Bowl in 2015, the 2017 Australian Open girls singles title and the 2017 US Open girls doubles title. She peaked at No. 2 in the junior world rankings.
On the pro circuit, Kostyuk made headlines at the 2018 Australian Open. After gaining a wildcard into qualifying she won three matches to enter the main draw, thus becoming the first player born in 2002 to do so.
She did not stop there, and went on to reach the third round. That made her the youngest player to reach the third round of a Slam since Mirjana Lucic-Baroni at the 1997 US Open.
After finishing the 2018 season as World No. 118, Kostyuk struggled to follow up on her success in 2019, dropping out of the top 300. But she is now rising once again, with a career-high ranking of No. 97 in the world.
Kostyuk reached the third round of the US Open earlier this year, where she took eventual champion Naomi Osaka to three sets.
Vera Zvonareva vs Marta Kostyuk head-to-head
This will be the first meeting between the two players, so the head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Vera Zvonareva vs Marta Kostyuk prediction
At 36, Vera Zvonareva has a ton of experience on her side. Her recent US Open doubles win and final appearance in the Turkey ITF event will also have given her some confidence. The question is whether she has the patience and fitness to withstand the power of an opponent half her age.
Marta Kostyuk has a powerful serve and likes to hit big winners off both flanks. She is also in good form; after reaching the US Open third round, she qualified for the main draw at the French Open and reached the finals of two consecutive ITF events.
The Ukrainian will need to keep her error count low and put pressure on the Zvonareva serve, but it's likely to be a close match either way.
Prediction: Marta Kostyuk to win in three sets.Published 09 Nov 2020, 00:19 IST