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Naomi Osaka vs Jessica Pegula: Rome Masters 2021 Prediction | Preview | H2H Stats

Second seed Naomi Osaka squares off against the World number 31 Jessica Pegula in the second round of the Rome Masters.

Naomi Osaka vs Jessica Pegula: Rome Masters Preview

After a three-set upset against Czech player Karolina Muchova in the second round of the Madrid Open 10 days ago, Naomi Osaka will be keen for a deep run in Rome. The Japanese star reached the quarterfinals in the last edition in 2019 where she gave a walkover against the 6th seed Kiki Bertens.

Jessica Pegula began her campaign with a convincing 7-5 6-3 win against Russian Daria Kasatkina in the round of 64. The American won an impressive 77.1% of points on her first serve and converted 6 out of 9 breakpoints. 

Naomi Osaka vs Jessica Pegula: Head to Head Record

  • Naomi Osaka leads the head-to-head record 1-0 against Jessica Pegula. 
  • Osaka defeated the American in straight sets in the first round of the Beijing Open 2019. 

Naomi Osaka vs Jessica Pegula: Game Analysis

Not known for her clay-court prowess when compared to her fabulous form on hardcourts, Osaka will look to utilize the slow conditions in Rome to her full advantage. 

The four-time grand slam champion has admitted that a mental block is affecting her performance on the red dirt. A combination of factors like bad bounces and lack of proper construction of points has made her struggle on clay.

"I am not sure if I should be telling you this, but I am just not that comfortable on it (clay) still, and I am not sure if it is because I need to play longer on it or if I just have not grown up on," said Osaka in her pre-tournament conference in Rome. 

The World No. 31, Pegula, can struggle against power-hitters and opponents who hit a series of winners continuously. In the round of 16 encounters against Sabalenka, Pegula managed to win only 56% and 31.3% of points on her first and second serve respectively.

Jessica Pegula can unsettle Naomi Osaka if she claims more than 75% of points on her first serve like in her opening match against Kasatkina. Since the American is not a big server, she has to be very consistent in her returns from the baseline.

In 2021, Osaka has won on an average of 75.1% of her first serve points which is the second-best on the WTA Tour. The Japanese has also clinched 51.5% of her second serve points, higher than other players. 

Naomi Osaka will be a tough nut to crack for Jessica Pegula even though the American has beaten some higher-ranked players like Victoria Azarenka, Elina Svitolina, and Karolina Pliskova (3 times) this season.

The first set will be crucial for Naomi Osaka as she will target a straight-set victory ahead of potential clashes against Serena Williams and Simona Halep who are also on the same side of her draw in the tournament. The Japanese star will target the vulnerable second serve of Jessica Pegula to grab more points. 

Prediction - Naomi Osaka to win the round of 32 Rome Masters match in three sets against Jessica Pegula

Featured Image Credits - WTA

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