Fixture: (12) Victoria Azarenka vs Ekaterina Alexandrova
Date: 30 April 2021
Tournament: Mutua Madrid Open 2021
Round: First round (Round of 64)
Venue: Madrid, Spain
Category: WTA 1000
Prize money: €2,549,105
Match timing: Approx. 5 pm local time, 8.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video
Victoria Azarenka vs Ekaterina Alexandrova preview
World No. 15 Victoria Azarenka will take on World No. 32 Ekaterina Alexandrova in the first round of the 2021 Madrid Open.
After a shock loss to the unseeded Jessica Pegula in the opening round at the 2021 Australian Open, Azarenka showed great resolve to bounce back in Doha, where she reached the last four. The Belarusian, however, was forced to withdraw from her semifinal match against Garbine Muguruza due to a back injury.
Azarenka made her comeback in Miami a couple of weeks later, where she valiantly went down to Ashleigh Barty in the Round of 16. Lacking match practice so far this season, the former World No. 1 will have to sharpen her game when she takes on the tricky Ekaterina Alexandrova at Madrid.
Alexandrova began her year on a strong note, easing past the likes of Simona Halep and Iga Swiatek before losing to an inspired Kaia Kanepi in the semifinals of the Gippsland Trophy. But the Russian couldn't do much in her subsequent tournaments, accumulating a poor 6-6 win-loss record.
Victoria Azarenka vs Ekaterina Alexandrova head-to-head
Victoria Azarenka leads Ekaterina Alexandrova by a margin of 1-0 in the head-to-head. Their only encounter was in the first round of the 2018 Wimbledon Championships, where Azarenka beat Alexandrova in straight sets.
Victoria Azarenka vs Ekaterina Alexandrova prediction
Victoria Azarenka rolled back the years at last year's US Open, where she displayed stunning form all fortnight to reach the final. The Belarusian's groundstrokes have been as consistent as ever since the resumption of the tour.
Having said that, Azarenka's second serve continues to be an Achilles' heel for her. That shot is likely to be exploited by Ekaterina Alexandrova during the pair's first-round encounter.
Alexandrova possesses the ability to strike winners with relative ease on clay, a surface that Azarenka doesn't particularly enjoy playing on. And although the Russian is not very consistent with her serve, she does have a powerful ground game that can help her dictate the majority of the rallies.
Considering that Azarenka will be playing on clay for the first time this year in Madrid, she might have some trouble getting past the big-hitting Alexandrova.
Prediction: Ekaterina Alexandrova to win in three sets.