Fixture: Aryna Sabalenka vs Daria Kasatkina
Date: 1 October 2020
Tournament: Roland Garros 2020
Round: Second round (Round of 64)
Venue: Paris, France
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: Approx. €38,000,000
Match timing: Approx. 1 pm CEST, 4.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - NBC Sports / Tennis Channel | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP
Also check out: The Complete French Open 2020 Schedule
Aryna Sabalenka vs Daria Kasatkina preview
Eighth seed Aryna Sabalenka will be looking to continue her campaign in Paris when she takes on Russia's Daria Kasatkina in the second round of Roland Garros on Thursday.
Sabalenka had a slow restart to her 2020 season, compiling a 3-3 win-loss record across Lexington, the Western & Southern Open and the US Open. But prior to the break, the Belarusian had reached the quarterfinals or better at three events, including a title in Doha.
Sabalenka has seemingly rediscovered some of her form during the European clay swing, having reached the semifinals in Strasbourg last week - where she lost to eventual champion Elina Svitolina in three sets. And in her third appearance at the French Open, the World No. 12 opened with a commanding 6-3, 6-1 win over USA's Jessica Pegula on Tuesday.
It was a clinical display from the big-hitter, as she hit 21 winners past her first-round opponent. But Sabalenka's next opponent, former World No. 10 Daria Kasatkina, might be a little tougher to hit the ball past.
Having fallen to a lowly 74th in the world due to poor form, Kasatkina had just started to get back to winning ways in March before the entire WTA tour was called off due to the pandemic. Kasatkina then started her post-lockdown season in disappointing fashion, as she lost four of her first five matches.
The Russian, however, had a resurgence at the Italian Open, where she qualified into the main draw and reached the Round of 16 before bowing out (due to injury) against US Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka. Kasatkina has arrived in Paris with newfound confidence, and she beat France's Harmony Tan in straight sets in her first-round match on Tuesday.
Aryna Sabalenka vs Daria Kasatkina head-to-head
Daria Kasatkina leads Aryna Sabalenka by a margin of 1-0 in their head-to-head meetings. Their only encounter took place at Beijing last year, where Kasatkina beat her higher-ranked opponent in straight sets.
Aryna Sabalenka vs Daria Kasatkina prediction
Aryna Sabalenka is a true-blue power hitter, as her game is built around striking the ball hard and flat. The Belarusian also has a big first serve and is well-known for the tenacity that she brings to the court.
However, Sabalenka often produces a slew of unforced errors due to her risky style of play. The errors were largely kept at bay in her opening round match, but Sabalenka will have to be cautious when she faces a superb retriever like Kasatkina.
The Russian reached the quarterfinals in Paris two years ago, and clearly has a game suited to clay. Kasatkina will be expected to use her intelligent defense and variety of spins to upset the Belarusian's rhythm.
Having gone through a significant ranking drop after reaching the 2018 Indian Wells Masters final, the talented tactician will be determined to win her second-round match on Thursday.
Prediction: Daria Kasatkina to win in straight sets.
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