Fixture: (15) Elena Rybakina [KAZ] vs Donna Vekic [CRO]
Date: 27 July 2021
Tournament: Olympics 2021
Round: Third round (Round of 16)
Venue: Ariake Tennis Park, Tokyo, Japan
Category: Olympic Games
Surface: Outdoor hard
Match timing: Approx. 3 pm local time, 11.30 am IST, 6 am GMT, 2 am EST
Live telecast: USA - NBC & Peacock TV | UK - BBC TV | India - Sony Sports Network/ Sony LIV
Donna Vekic vs Elena Rybakina preview
15th seed Elena Rybakina will take on Donna Vekic in the third round of the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday. While Rybakina beat Rebecca Peterson 6-2, 6-3 in the second round, Vekic upset Aryna Sabalenka 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3).
Vekic had had a fairly ordinary season leading up to Tokyo. After reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open, the Croat took some time off for a knee surgery.
She came back to the tour in May but suffered early exits at Roland Garros and the Nottingham Open, before making her first quarterfinal of the season in Birmingham.
Vekic's lackluster recent results have pushed her ranking down to No. 50 in the world, after having reached a career-high of No. 19 a few months ago. Making her Olympics debut in Tokyo, the 25-year-old will be hoping for a change of fortunes this week.
Her opponent in the next round, Elena Rybakina, stormed on to the scene last year when she made five finals (securing the title in one). The 2021 season, however, hasn't quite been as remarkable for Rybakina.
The 22-year-old has managed just one semifinal appearance this year. That said, she has done fairly well at the Grand Slams.
Rybakina advanced to her first Major quarterfinal at Roland Garros, before reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon on her main-draw debut there. The World No. 20 is the sole Kazakh hopeful remaining in the women's draw at Tokyo, and will be eager to continue her quest for a medal on Tuesday.
Donna Vekic vs Elena Rybakina head-to-head
This will be the first meeting between Donna Vekic and Elena Rybakina, so their current head-to-head stands at 0-0.
Donna Vekic vs Elena Rybakina prediction
Donna Vekic and Elena Rybakina are both aggressive baseliners. But while Rybakina tends to produce a high number of winners, Vekic brings a lot of balls back into play and avoids leaking too many unforced errors.
The serve could be a differentiating factor in this match. In her encounter against Sabalenka, Vekic regularly struggled to hold serve and ended up conceding 12 break points. Meanwhile the six-feet tall Rybakina won 84% of her first-serve points against Peterson, and conceded just three break points.
The fatigue of playing a two-and-a-half hour marathon in the second round might also affect Vekic's fitness levels on Tuesday. If the Kazakh plays her best and finds winners on a regular basis, she will likely be able to break down Vekic's defense.
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Prediction: Elena Rybakina to win in three sets.