??? Internationaux de Strasbourg – QF preview + prediction
?? (5) Elena Rybakina vs. ?? (Q) Shuai Zhang
Elena Rybakina has been one of the most improved players on tour in 2020. The Kazakh continues her Strasbourg campaign on Thursday with a quarter-final clash against Chinese qualifier Shuai Zhang.
The 5th seeded Elena Rybakina is yet to drop a set this week. Rybakina started the week with a 7-5 6-4 win over Greet Minnen before battling past former champion Alize Cornet 6-3 7-6. Rybakina has a 26/7 win/loss record in 2020 but is still yet to consistently find here stunning early season form this the tour restart.
Shuai Zhang arrived in Strasbourg on a 5-match losing streak. Zhang snapped her losing run in the qualifying round where she defeated Storm Sanders 7-6 3-6 6-0. Zhang moved through the first round of the main draw with a hard-fought 3-6 6-4 6-2 win over Ajla Tomljanovic before beating local wild card Clara Burel 6-3 7-6.
Rybakina defeated Zhang 7-6 6-3 in the Hobart International final earlier this year in what was their only previous meeting.
Rybakina enters this match as a big favourite but this should be closer than expected. Rybakina looked shaky in the previous round against Cornet where she really struggled to close out the match. Zhang is a solid opponent and has the type of game to make life difficult for the big hitting Rybakina. I’ll give Rybakina the benefit of the doubt, she has the extra firepower and the far greater results this year.
Prediction: Elena Rybakina to defeat Shuai Zhang in 3 sets