Fixture: (3) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs Christina McHale
Date: 30 May 2021
Tournament: Roland Garros 2021
Round: First round (Round of 128)
Venue: Paris, France
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Red Clay
Prize money: €17,171,108
Match timing: 11 am local time, 9 am GMT, 5 am EST, 2.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - NBC Sports / Tennis Channel | UK - ITV | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs Christina McHale preview
Roland Garros 2021 will see an exciting first-round clash on Sunday between 31st seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and America's Christina McHale.
Pavlyuchnekova had endured a rough start to the 2021 season, but she managed to turn things around in Madrid. A run to the semifinals helped her return to the top 32 in the world rankings, and the Russian now enters the year's second Slam with a seeding.
McHale, meanwhile, has been at the losing end of some of the longest matches on tour this year. She has managed to stretch in-form opponents including Maria Camila Osorio Serrano, Viktoriya Tomova and Shelby Rogers, but has lacked the finishing touches to close out these tight matches.
That said, the American has scored wins over the likes of Leylah Fernandez and Sara Errani, and will likely draw some confidence from those results.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs Christina McHale head-to-head
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova leads Christina McHale 5-3 in the head-to-head. However, it is McHale who has taken the duo's last two meetings.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs Christina McHale prediction
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has one of the best all-round games on tour, which was on full showcase during the fortnight in Madrid. The Russian can generate a lot of power off both flanks, and also likes rushing to the net to finish off points early.
It goes without saying that Pavlyuchenkova will look to take on the role of the aggressor in the match on Sunday. She will, however, need to be wary of her opponent's dogged game.
On days when Christina McHale is at her best, there are few players who can match up to her sublime movement. The American has a strong baseline game and is more than capable of going toe-to-toe with the best from the back of the court.
McHale is also no stranger to causing an upset on the big stage, but she will need to play with more aggression than usual if she wishes to come out on top of this contest. A passive approach hasn't yielded her the desired results this year, and even on Sunday it will only give Pavlyuchenkova time to settle into the match.
Once the Russian is dialed in from the back of the court, she could well end up proving too strong for McHale to handle.
Prediction: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to win in two tight sets.
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