Kim Clijsters in action at the Truist Atlanta Open
Fixture: Kim Clijsters (WC) vs Katerina Siniakova
Date: 7 October 2021
Tournament: BNP Paribas Open
Round: First round (Round of 128)
Venue: Indian Wells, USA
Category: WTA 1000
Prize money: $8,761,725
Live telecast: USA – Tennis Channel & ESPN | UK – Amazon Prime Video
Kim Clijsters vs Katerina Siniakova preview
All eyes will be on four-time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters, who returns to the BNP Paribas Open for the first time since 2011. The former World No. 1 is a two-time winner at this tournament, having tasted glory in 2003 and 2005.
The Belgian wildcard will be looking to win her first tour-level match since 2012 when she begins her campaign against World No. 53 Katerina Siniakova on Thursday.
The 38-year-old Clisters’ comeback has not gone according to plan. The COVID-19 pandemic and a spate of injuries robbed the three-time US Open champion of precious time to build her rhythm on the court.
In the last year and a half, the Belgian has managed to play just four tournaments, suffering narrow defeats in the opening round on each occasion. Clijsters’ last event was the Chicago Fall Classic last week, where she went down in three sets to World No. 97 Hsieh Su-wei.
Katerina Siniakova in action at the J&T Banka Ostrava Open
Clijsters’ first-round opponent, Katerina Siniakova, meanwhile, is a doubles expert whose singles form has been on the rise this year. The Czech, who won the French Open and the Olympic gold in doubles, posted a runner-up finish in singles in Bad Homburg.
The 25-year-old also made the semifinals in Parma, and the quarterfinals in Prague and Istanbul.
Siniakova has been hitting the ball with a lot of confidence this year and will fancy her chances of taking down Clijsters.
Kim Clijsters vs Katerina Siniakova head-to-head
Kim Clijsters and Katerina Siniakova have never squared off on the tour before, so their head-to-head currently stands at a 0-0 deadlock.
Kim Clijsters vs Katerina Siniakova prediction
Katerina Siniakova strikes a backhand during the J&T Banka Ostrava Open 2021
Katerina Siniakova has a strong return of serve and is proficient at the net. She will look to keep the Belgian pinned to the baseline with deep groundstrokes before moving forward to finish points at the net.
That said, Siniakova’s serve is one of the weakest aspects of her game. If she struggles with that shot, she could be in trouble against Clijsters, who is an aggressive returner.
Clijsters has shown plenty of grit and fighting spirit in each of the matches she has played this year and she will be ready for yet another long tussle. However, Siniakova’s variety and newfound confidence in her singles game could just get her over the line in this contest.
Prediction: Katerina Siniakova to win in three sets.