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US Open 2020: Vera Zvonareva vs Leylah Fernandez preview, head-to-head & prediction

Leylah Fernandez at the 2020 Top Seed Open
Leylah Fernandez at the 2020 Top Seed Open
Namit Kumar
ANALYST
Modified 31 Aug 2020, 13:52 IST
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Match details

Fixture: Vera Zvonareva vs Leylah Fernandez

Date: 1 September 2020

Tournament: US Open 2020

Round: First round (Round of 128)

Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York, USA

Category: Grand Slam

Surface: Outdoor hardcourt

Prize money: $39,024,000

Match timing: 1:30 pm EDT, 11 pm IST

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Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN | India - Star Sports / Hotstar

Vera Zvonareva vs Leylah Fernandez preview

Vera Zvonareva at the Top Seed Open 2020
Vera Zvonareva at the Top Seed Open 2020

Two-time former Grand Slam finalist Vera Zvonareva will take on talented teenager Leylah Fernandez in an exciting first round encounter at the US Open on Tuesday.

Zvonareva was a mainstay in the top 10 of the world rankings in the 2000s, before a career-threatening injury sidelined her career. She has had something of a resurgence since 2017 though, and her form this year has been steady.

The Russian reached the semis of the Challenger event at Indian Wells in March, before the lockdown halted her progress. Upon resumption of the tour, she lost in the first round of the Top Seed Open in Lexington against Jessica Pegula.

At the Western & Southern Open in New York, however, Zvonareva looked in inspired form as she defeated Magda Linette in the first round and went on to dominate Laura Siegemund in the next. She lost a grand total of three games in the latter.

Despite a straight-sets loss to Johanna Konta in the quarterfinal, Zvonareva comes into the US Open with confidence.

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In the first round she faces teenage sensation Leylah Fernandez, who has kicked up quite a storm in 2020. After her extraordinary runner-up finish at the Acapulco Open earlier in the year, Fernandez impressively reached the quarterfinal at Monterrey. The Canadian then claimed her first top 10 win on the tour by defeating World No. 5 Belinda Bencic in the Fed Cup.

The lockdowns have seemingly done nothing to stop the momentum of the 17-year-old. She defeated former US Open champion Sloane Stephens in Lexington this month, before bowing out to Shelby Rogers.

At the Western & Southern Open Fernandez gave the in-form Ons Jabeur a run for her money by winning the first set without losing a game, but eventually went down 6-0 4-6 3-6.

Vera Zvonareva vs Leylah Fernandez head-to-head

Vera Zvonareva and Leylah Fernandez will be meeting for the first time ever in New York on Tuesday, so the head-to-head currently stands at 0-0. Both players are currently ranked outside the top 100 in the world, with Zvonareva ranked 270th and Fernandez 111th.

Vera Zvonareva vs Leylah Fernandez prediction

Leylah Fernandez at Rogers Cup 2019
Leylah Fernandez at Rogers Cup 2019
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Given their similar uptick in form this year, especially after the restart of the WTA season, this match is a particularly hard one to call.

Vera Zvonareva, who was a finalist at Flushing Meadows in 2010 (losing in straight sets to Kim Clijsters), will bring her experience on the big stage and look to outplay the young Canadian with her offensive baseline game. However, Fernandez’ ability to move the ball around and create tight angles will be a test of Zvonareva's physical fitness and tactical prowess.

Given their recent performances and the contrast between Fernandez's new blood and Zvonareva's vast experience, this match should be an entertaining contest.

Prediction: Leylah Fernandez to win in three sets.

Published 31 Aug 2020, 13:52 IST
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