The Kazakhstani player will arrive in the Qatari capital after a title run in Abu Dhabi, where she won four matches. That four-match winning streak will be tested against Lin Zhu, who is a fascinating player because she can be quite tricky.
Zhu is very aggressive and likes to attack; however, she doesn't do it on a high enough level compared to Rybakina. So, what exactly can we expect from this matchup, which we've seen two times so far?
They've played two times so far, and Zhu actually won one of those matches. As crazy as it might sound, the Chinese player bested Rybakina back in 2019 at the Australian Open. Rybakina would avenge that loss later that year, beating Zhu in Wuhan.
We haven't really seen them play since then, as their careers have gone different ways since then. Still, both have dramatically improved since then, especially Rybakina, who has, in some ways, been the best player so far this year, even despite the Australian Open disappointment.
So, how will it go in 2024? Well, Rybakina is the far better player, and while the Qatar Open hasn't been her best event in the past, she certainly should win this match comfortably. She's coming off a long week in Abu Dhabi, but she didn't spend that much time on the court.
Zhu has been solid this year, but she didn't have any spectacular results. I think she'll need something spectacular to beat Rybakina at the WTA 1000 event, which isn't likely to happen.
Prediction: Elena Rybakina to win in two sets.