Kurumi Nara vs. Victoria Azarenka
|Date & Time||Sunday September 16, 2018, 10:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Victoria Azarenka and Kurumi Nara meet in the first round of the 2018 tennis Pan Pacific Open.
Victoria Azarenka hasn’t played since reaching the third round of the US Open and has had issues putting together consistent results since returning from her pregnancy. Azarenka has still been sloppy with her unforced errors and her serve overall, but she does enter this tournament winning six of her last 10 matches, so there have been signs of her turning the corner. You know the competitiveness and feisty play is going to be there with Azarenka, it’s just a matter of getting her timing and confidence down. In a wide open and somewhat watered down draw, maybe this is the tournament that can help Azarenka get back on track. Azarenka has lost four of her last six matches on indoor hard court.
Kurumi Nara enters this tournament on a seven-match losing streak, which includes qualifying, and she hasn’t won a match since Eastbourne. Nara is coming off a match in which she won just 46 percent of her total service points and had four double faults. Nara has lost 11 of her last 13 matches, so it’s fair to say the 26-year-old has seen better days. It all starts with the serve, as Nara will see improved play if she can get some free points from the start and have something to build upon. The one good thing for Nara is that she is playing a tournament on home soil, so maybe that helps calm her nerves and can lead to some more positive results. Nara has lost three of her last four matches on indoor hard court.
These two played once, which was in the 2015 Fed Cup, a match Azarenka won in straight sets. The match took 18 games to be decided.
Nara has shown nothing over the last several weeks that suggests she can beat one of the better players in the world. Even while Azarenka hasn’t been herself this season due to time away from the sport, she’s still one of the games top competitors and will steamroll her opponent if she’s struggling.
I’ll side with Azarenka in straight sets here.