It is fair to say a lot has happened for both these players since they last met in 2018 at the ITF level, with Harriet Dart coming out on top. It has been a steady developing year for Dart – she battled her way through qualifying in Australia and the US Open to earn her spot in the main draw, and more than made the most of a Wimbledon wild-card, making it to the third round.
Anna Kalinskaya also came through the US Open qualifying rounds, faring a little better than Dart as she took out former US Open champion Sloane Stephens on her way to the second round, but both have had a good long break before coming back to the tour.
Dart will find herself the main draw focus in a week that saw Naomi Broady fall in the first round of Tashkent qualifying, and Heather Watson fared no better in qualifying at Wuhan. British No. 1 Johanna Konta looks set to miss the entire Asian swing, and with that probably goes any hope of making the WTA Finals in Shenzhen. With Katie Boulter not back on the tour after a back injury sustained in the Fed Cup in London, Dart could well capitalise on her current spot as British No. 3 and is chasing down Watson, who is just 12 points ahead of her in the rankings.
Dart will at least have a few more matches under her belt in Tashkent, and she had to come a set down against Ana Bogdan, her conqueror at the US Open, to earn her spot in the main draw. However, not since Brisbane has Dart managed to capitalise on her spot in the main draw, and this could be a tough battle for her.
Prediction: Dart in three sets.
Dart and Kalinskaya are scheduled on Court 2 at 10am (6am BST).
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