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Madrid Open 2021: Daria Kasatkina vs Irina-Camelia Begu preview, head-to-head & prediction

Daria Kasatkina has won two titles in 2021
Daria Kasatkina has won two titles in 2021
Nurein Ahmed
ANALYST
Modified 29 Apr 2021
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Match details

Fixture: Daria Kasatkina vs Irina-Camelia Begu

Date: 30 April 2021

Tournament: Mutua Madrid Open 2021

Round: First round (Round of 64)

Venue: Madrid, Spain

Category: WTA 1000

Surface: Red clay

Prize money: €2,549,105

Match timing: 11 am local time, 2.30 pm IST

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

Daria Kasatkina vs Irina-Camelia Begu preview

Irina-Camelia Begu
Irina-Camelia Begu

Making her fifth appearance at the Madrid Open, Daria Kasatkina will face a familiar face in her opening round match this week. Kasatkina will play Irina-Camelia Begu for the ninth time in their rivalry, which has been largely in favor of the Russian.

Kasatkina has performed with distinction in the current season, and has seen her ranking rise sharply over the last few months. With two titles in 2021, the 23-year-old has re-entered the world's top 50 for the first time in over a year.

However, her claycourt season started with a shock second-round defeat to Ukrainian teenager Marta Kostyuk in Istanbul last week.

Irina-Camelia Begu, on her part, has acclimatized herself with the Madrid courts by navigating her way through the qualifying draw. The Romanian secured two solid wins - over Anna Kalinskaya and Stefanie Voegele - to book her spot in the main draw.

Daria Kasatkina vs Irina-Camelia Begu head-to-head

Daria Kasatkina and Irina-Camelia Begu have met eight times before this, with Kasatkina leading the head-to-head 7-1.

Remarkably, the Russian has won the last four matches of the lopsided rivalry in straight sets. On clay, she possesses a 3-1 lead over the Romanian.

Begu's sole win came on the claycourts of Rome, but that was a while ago - when Kasatkina was still learning her trade.

Daria Kasatkina vs Irina-Camelia Begu prediction

Daria Kasatkina at the 2020 French Open
Daria Kasatkina at the 2020 French Open

The jury is still out on whether Daria Kasatkina can keep up her fantastic start to the year. The first quarter of 2021 saw the 23-year-old reach double digits in terms of match wins, and her recent loss in Istanbul could possibly be considered a blip.

Irina-Camelia Begu has played some fine tennis herself this season. She was particularly impressive during the Australian summer series, where she made the quarterfinals at both the Gippsland Trophy and the Phillip Island Trophy.

However, the Kasatkina puzzle has been a difficult one to solve for the Romanian veteran. Kasatkina utilizes heavy topspin on her forehand wing which prevents her opponents from getting into a rhythm, and in the past Begu has struggled massively to deal with that.

While this might be a close contest given that Kasatkina has played very little tennis on the dirt, the Russian should still be able to extend her winning run over the qualifier.

Prediction: Daria Kasatkina to win in three sets.

Published 29 Apr 2021
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