Fixture: Aryna Sabalenka vs Anna Blinkova
Date: 22 September 2020
Tournament: Internationaux de Strasbourg 2020
Round: Second Round (Round of 16)
Venue: Strasbourg, France
Category: WTA International
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €225,500
Match timing: Not before 4.30 CEST, 8 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN
Aryna Sabalenka vs Anna Blinkova preview
Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka takes on Anna Blinkova in the second round of the Internationaux de Strasbourg on Wednesday.
Sabalenka won the Doha title earlier in the year with some impressive tennis, but has struggled for form since the resumption of the tour. The Belarusian started on the American hardcourts but bowed out early from Lexington, Cincinnati and the US Open, with a standard of play she would not be happy with.
The World No. 12 makes her claycourt debut in 2020 at Strasbourg after opting out of Rome. She managed to navigate her first-round match against Ellen Perez in relatively comfortable fashion, winning 6-4 6-3.
Sabalenka's opponent in the second round, Russia's Anna Blinkova, is yet to make her mark among the seniors despite finding immense success on the junior circuit.
The 22-year-old has an underwhelming 7-10 W/L record in 2020. But she did make some noise at the Italian Open in Rome last week, where she reached the third round before bowing out to Karolina Pliskova.
Aryna Sabalenka vs Anna Blinkova head-to-head
Aryna Sabalenka leads the head-to-head over Anna Blinkova by a margin of 1-0.
The pair, both aged 19 at the time, faced each other in the quarterfinals at Manchester three years ago. Sabalenka fought off a valiant effort from Blinkova to prevail 7-6 5-7 6-3.
Aryna Sabalenka vs Anna Blinkova prediction
Given her big-stage experience and superior ranking, Aryna Sabalenka comes into the match against Anna Blinkova in Strasbourg as the overwhelming favorite.
Sabalenka's all-out attack style of play has yielded decent results on hardcourts so far in 2020. Her quick and heavy serve coupled with her powerful groundstrokes will put a lot of pressure on Blinkova, and push her deep behind the baseline.
Blinkova herself plays an aggressive game that is well-suited to quick surfaces. Although she's not an out-and-out power player, the Russian has a good enough range of shots in her armory to test Sabalenka's court coverage.
However, Blinkova will need to serve out of her skin and be consistent with her groundstrokes to genuinely contend for a place in the quarterfinal. And that's easier said than done.
Prediction: Aryna Sabalenka to win in straight sets.Published 22 Sep 2020, 21:36 IST