Ashleigh Barty vs Jelena Ostapenko: Prediction | H2H | Stats: Miami Open 2021

Ashleigh Barty vs Jelena Ostapenko: Preview

It is a blockbuster battle between two former grand slam champions as the top seed Ashleigh Barty locks horns against the dangerous Jelena Ostapenko in the round of 32 at the Miami Open.

Barty saved a match point to edge past Kristina Kucova 6-3 4-6 7-5 in the round of 64. Despite smashing an impressive 15 aces and clinching 79% of points on her first serve, Barty was let down by a below-par win % of 43 on her second serve. 

Trailing 5-2 in the deciding set, Barty won 5 games in a row to leave the 149th-ranked Kucova shell-shocked. 

"Today was really hard work, it was important in the match to stick to working and trying to figure it out as I went on, just really happy I never gave up and happy I gave myself a chance to stay in the hunt," said Barty after claiming a narrow win against Kucova in the second round.

On the other hand, Ostapenko notched up wins in two singles matches after not getting a bye in the first round in contrast to Barty. The Latvian defeated Chinese player, Wang Xiyu 6-4 6-7(4) 6-1 in the round of 128. Ostapenko overcame Belgian qualifier Kirsten Flipkens 6-2 5-7 6-3 to book her slot in the third round. 

Despite starting well in both her matches, the Latvian has suffered mid-match wobbles and her opponents have utilized her dip in concentration to force a deciding set. Ostapenko will also be worried about her double fault count (17). Her win % on the first serve is quite impressive at 71%. 

Barty vs Ostapenko: Head to Head Record

Barty leads the head-to-head record 2-1 against Ostapenko. This is their first clash in more than two years.

"Jelena obviously has got one of the biggest games from that first strike, both off kind of her first ball after serve and particularly off the return, as well, played her a couple of times, yeah it is going to be tough, I have to have my running shoes on and make sure I am able to neutralize off that first ball as best I can to try and turn it back in my favour," opined Barty ahead of the big clash against Ostapenko. 

Key Insights

  • Barty is a former Miami Open champion having won the tournament in 2019 defeating Karolina Pliskova in straight sets in the finals.
  • Barty could lose her number one ranking spot if Naomi Osaka wins the Miami Open 2021.
  • Both Ostapenko and Barty are former French Open champions having won the titles in 2017 and 2019  respectively.
  • Barty has never lost a match to Ostapenko on hard courts.
  • Barty is aiming for her second title of the 2021 WTA season. The Australian won the Yarra Valley Classic in February beating Garbine Muguruza in straight sets.
  • This is the first tournament away from Australia for Barty in more than a year.
  • Ostapenko is a former runner-up in the Miami Open having reached the finals in 2018. Sloane Stephens defeated her in straight sets.
  • Ostapenko has a 7-5 win-loss record this season.

Game Analysis

Ashleigh Barty has displayed her immense mental strength by making tremendous comebacks even from precarious situations. Her strong first-serve has saved her. Though some of her forehands have landed long in Miami so far, she has managed to survive with powerful down-the-line backhand winners. 

Having committed a record 40 unforced errors in her last match, the Australian needs to tighten up her game if she wants to have a deep run in this tournament. The Australian has impressed with her volleying skills and aggressive net play. She also did not commit a single double fault in her previous match. 

Ostapenko is one of the fiercest ball-strikers on the WTA tour. Her power-hitting is well-known. But, the Latvian can lose matches in absence of a plan B. 

Ashleigh Barty vs Jelena Ostapenko: Prediction

Barty has a never-say-die attitude which has helped her effectively avoid the inevitable. If Ostapenko cuts down on her double faults and unforced errors, she is well capable of pulling off an upset against the defending champion who is slowly finding her feet in the tournament. 

Prediction - Ashleigh Barty to win in three sets

Featured Image Credits - WTA

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