Fixture: Aryna Sabalenka vs Jasmine Paolini
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: $202,250
Match timing: Not before 5.30 pm local time, 10 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel
Aryna Sabalenka vs Jasmine Paolini preview
The 2020 WTA season comes to an end with the Upper Austria Ladies Linz Open. World No. 11 Aryna Sabalenka leads the field as the top seed, and will begin her campaign against Jasmine Paolini in the first round.
The Belarusian comes into the event on the back of some good performances at the Ostrava Open, where she was crowned champion. Sabalenka defeated the likes of Coco Gauff, Jennifer Brady and Victoria Azarenka to clinch her second title of the year - to go with her Qatar Open triumph back in February.
While Sabalenka has struggled at the Slams throughout 2020, she has done fairly well in the lesser tournaments. Much will be expected of her at Linz, where the indoor conditions are expected to complement her power-hitting ability.
Moreover, with women’s tennis about to go on a two-month break after this tournament, the 22-year-old will be keen to give herself some confidence ahead of a hopefully longer schedule in 2021.
Aryna Sabalenka’s first-round opponent, Jasmine Paolini, will be having similar ambitions of her own. But going by her recent form, the Italian will need to show marked improvement in order to succeed at Linz.
Paolini was ousted in the first round of Ostrava, and before that she only made it as far as the second round at the Italian, French and Istanbul events.
Aryna Sabalenka vs Jasmine Paolini head-to-head
Jasmine Paolini leads Aryna Sabalenka 1-0 in the head-to-head. The two players faced each other at the Aegon Ilkley trophy in 2017, with the Italian winning by a score of 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(2).
Aryna Sabalenka vs Jasmine Paolini prediction
Aryna Sabalenka is a player who can go big off both wings as well as on her serve. Sabalenka's hard-hitting style will undoubtedly keep Jasmine Paolini on her toes throughout the match.
The 24-year-old Italian would look to elongate the rallies and draw out errors from Sabalenka, who can be highly erratic on a bad day.
Paolini boasts of good defense from the baseline, and at the same time wields a forehand powerful enough that could unsettle the Belarusian's rhythm. But Sabalenka's big serve might be the differentiating factor in this match-up, as it is way superior to Paolini’s delivery.
If Sabalenka is on her game, this match might be too tall an obstacle for the Italian.
Prediction: Aryna Sabalenka to win in straight sets.