Fixture: (14) Elena Rybakina vs Sorana Cirstea
Date: 29 September 2020
Tournament: Roland Garros 2020
Round: First round (Round of 128)
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
Elena Rybakina vs Sorana Cirstea preview
No. 14 seed Elena Rybakina will begin her 2020 French Open campaign against the unseeded Romanian Sorana Cirstea on Tuesday.
Rybakina started 2020 looking like one of the best players on tour, winning the title in Hobart and reaching the final at St. Petersburg and Dubai. And although the Kazakh star couldn't recapture her momentum immediately post the COVID-19 break, she bounced back in style last week at Strasbourg - where she reached the final virtually unchallenged.
Rybakina eventually fell short to Elina Svitolina in the title match, but has gained enough rhythm on clay to enter Roland Garros as one of the dark horses.
Sorana Cirstea, meanwhile, has had another difficult year on tour with a less than impressive 9-7 win-loss record. But the former World No. 21 did register an upset win over Johanna Konta at the US Open, proving she is still a threat for the top players when she is on her game.
Cirstea's career-best Slam result came at Roland Garros back in 2009, when she reached the last eight. But the Romanian has struggled in the French capital in recent years; she has won only two main draw matches in her last four appearances.
Elena Rybakina vs Sorana Cirstea head-to-head
Elena Rybakina and Sorana Cirstea have faced off only once on the WTA tour, with the Kazakh winning a three-set battle at Doha earlier this year.
As such, the head-to-head currently stands at 1-0 in favor of Rybakina.
Elena Rybakina vs Sorana Cirstea prediction
In their meeting at Doha, Elena Rybakina and Sorana Cirstea went blow for blow from the baseline throughout the contest. The two players were pretty evenly matched, and there wasn't much to separate them in the first two sets.
But in the deciding set, the Kazakh took control and showed her superior consistency to seal the win.
Both Rybakina and Cirstea are power players who like to immediately take control of a rally rather than patiently construct the point. Cirstea in particular strikes the ball very quick off both wings, and is also pretty handy at the net thanks to her doubles experience.
But the Romanian can also be quite erratic at times, leaking unforced errors by the dozen. That could prove to be costly on Tuesday; if Cirstea goes for too much in a bid to hit through the court with the heavier than usual balls, she might end up playing right into the hands of Rybakina.
The Kazakh on her part has the advantage of being a better server, but that can be quickly neutralized on clay if Cirstea returns well.
This match should provide a spectacle for fans who love power hitting and quick-strike tennis. And whichever player finds her zone quicker with the new balls and cool conditions, would be primed to run away with the contest.
Recent form suggests that player will be Rybakina.
Prediction: Elena Rybakina to win in straight sets.Published 28 Sep 2020, 14:15 IST