Dubai R1: Kristina Mladenovic vs Lesia Tsurenko
An interesting first round encounter in Dubai on Monday sees Kristina Mladenovic come up against Lesia Tsurenko. Mladenovic and Tsurenko have made relatively disappointing starts to the season and will be desperate to claim a victory here and go on to have a good week at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Kristina Mladenovic had a wonderful season 2015 but has struggled to emulate that form at the start of 2016. Mladenovic had a decent run to the third round at the Australian Open but she has failed to win a match at any other WTA event, suffering three first round exits. The Frenchwoman arrives in Dubai fresh off a disappointing first round loss to Laura Siegemund in St. Petersburg, Mladenovic led that match by a set and a break before completely losing her way. Mladenovic did however have some success during the Fed Cup, claiming a crucial win over Sara Errani. The quick conditions in Dubai should aid Mladenovic and her powerful game, Kristina played her best tennis in 2015 on a fast court.
Lesia Tsurenko is yet to win a match in 2016. Tsurenko suffered a first round loss to Tsvetana Pironkova in Sydney before losing to Varvara Lepchenko in three sets in Melbourne. Tsurenko hasn’t played since her first round loss at the Australian Open, meaning she has not played a match for three weeks and could be a little rusty. Tsurenko will enter this match with a degree of confidence knowing she is coming up against an opponent she has never lost to.
Lesia Tsurenko has a perfect 3-0 head-to-head record over Mladenovic. However, that record is somewhat irrelevant because the pair haven’t played since Brisbane at the start of 2012 where Tsurenko won an extremely tight match 4-6 7-5 7-6.
Mladenovic should be able to claim her first victory over the Ukrainian in this match. Mladenovic’s level has generally been much higher than Tsurenko’s in recent times. Mladenovic should have too many weapons for Tsurenko on the zippy Dubai courts, the Frenchwoman would have to play a pretty bad match just for Tsurenko to be competitive here. Tsurenko’s recent form has been terrible and there is no reason to suggest that will change here.