Now I am sure some are thinking that taking Kasatkina on a faster hardcourt is a bit of a strange approach, however I think it works to her advantage today against Karolina Muchova.
The Russian looked to be starting to piece together some solid tennis in the final couple of tournaments of 2020, and showed some promise in her first round win over Qiang Wang. After a dominant first set, things took a turn for the worse in the middle portion of the match, with Wang taking set 2 and leading 2-0 in the third. Kasatkina was able to regroup however, reeling off 6 games in a row to claim the victory. Kasatkina was incredibly solid on return of serve, winning 43% of points on first serve return and 58% behind her second serve, a key indication to her having confidence in her game.
We didn’t see the best of Muchova towards the end of 2020, with the Czech struggling with some injury issues from the US Open onwards. She has started the 2021 season on a good note, comfortably handling Danka Kovinic 6-4 6-1 in 82 minutes. A high first serve percentage for Muchova is likely to lead to positive results, and she was able to place 68% of first serves in play. It was a comfortable match-up for Muchova, with Kovinic lacking the consistency to exert pressure for periods long enough to stay in the match.
If Kasatkina were facing a bigger striker of the ball today, I would be more concerned by the faster surface. In terms of power, I would argue there isn’t a significant difference between Wang and Muchova. I do feel Muchova can find herself vulnerable at times to counterpunching types in faster conditions, and that is the match-up we have on offer today.
If you are looking for a match with next-to-no breaks of serve, this is not the match for you. Both players will likely go on runs at one point or another, however from a pure match-up of styles, I am inclined to side with Kasatkina at the price today as an underdog.
1.5 units Kasatkina to defeat Muchova at $2.40 (+140) at Unibet