Ann Li v Aryna Sabalenka takes place on Thursday at 12am (UK time).
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Second seed Aryna Sabalenka gets her Cincinnati Open underway in the second round against Ann Li, hoping to build momentum ahead of the US Open. The world No.2 has made it to the semi-finals of all the Grand Slams this year, going all the way to win at the Australian Open, and she’s got a decent record on the WTA 1000 Tour too.
However, Sabalenka underwhelmed at the Canadian Open last time out. After cruising past Petra Martic in the first round, Sabalenka was knocked out in her very next match, beaten by 15th seed Liudmila Samonova in three sets. But Sabalenka has reached the semi-finals of the Cincinnati Open twice before, including last year.
Ann Li, on the other hand, is ranked 192nd in the world and is in the main draw of an WTA 1000 for just the second time this year after a first-round appearance (and exit) at Indian Wells. Li wasn’t involved in Miami or the Canadian Open, but did make it to the quarter-finals of the BBVA Open in Valencia, a WTA 125 tournament.
Having fallen at qualifying in Wimbledon, Li was successful in Cincinnati perhaps to some surprise. In the first round of qualifying, Li came from a set down to beat Lauren Davis before knocking out Alize Cornet to seal her spot in the main draw. There, Li again came from behind to beat Magda Linette 0-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2.
Prediction: Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets
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