The Best of the Day preview smashes a forehand down the line with tennis tips for an intriguing first-round encounter at the WTA Hobart International. 

Tennis Tips – Veronika Kudermetova V Sam Stosur

16:00 (AEDT) @ Hobart International Tennis Centre

History: Played 1: Stosur 1 V Kudermetova 0

Last meeting: Fed Cup, 2014: Stosur d Kudermetova 6-4 6-0

Final thoughts: The Best of the Day preview breaks down Aussie veteran Sam Stosur’s first-up assignment at the 2020 Hobart International. Her opponent, Veronika Kudermetova, is one of the rising stars on the WTA circuit.

Former US Open champ Stosur is currently ranked 98th in the world. The 35-year-old had a somewhat encouraging finish to the 2019 season, reaching the final of the Guangzhou Open. But the remainder of the Asian swing was fruitless for Stosur.

She kicked off her Brisbane International campaign with a rousing 7-6 7-6 win over former world No.1 Angelique Kerber. Stosur went down to eventual champion Madison Keys in a tough two-setter in the second round.

Young Russian on the up

Kudermetova, ranked 42nd in the world, enjoyed a breakout 2019 season. She claimed the biggest title win of her career at a WTA 125k event in Guadaljara.

The 22-year-old also qualified for the main draw of a grand slam for the first time, competing in all four. Kudermetova stunned Caroline Wozniacki on her way to the third round of the French Open.

Her finish to 2019 included semi-final appearances at the Japan Open and Tianjin Open. Disappointingly, she failed to emerge for the Brisbane International qualifiers, but she is seeded fifth in Hobart.

Wildcard Stosur is making her first Hobart International appearance since reaching the semis in 2014.

These players’ only previous clash was in 2014, when Stosur prevailed comfortably in a Fed Cup tie in Hobart. Russian Kudermetova was just 17 at the time.

Kudermetova will start as a warm $1.43 favourite. But with a partisan crowd at her back – and after last week’s confidence boosting win over Kerber – Stosur shapes as an enticing Best of the Day underdog.

Both players boast handy momentum. But Osaka at her best is the superior player and her dominant serving form spells Best of the Day trouble for Bertens.

Tip: Games Handicap – Stosur +3.5 @ $1.95