Fixture: (1) Ashleigh Barty vs Danielle Collins
Date: 24 February 2021
Tournament: WTA Adelaide International
Round: Second round (Round of 16)
Venue: Adelaide, Australia
Category: WTA 500
Surface: Outdoor Hardcourt
Prize money: $535,530
Match timing: Not before 6.30 pm local time, 1 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel
Ashleigh Barty vs Danielle Collins preview
Top seed Ashleigh Barty will begin her Adelaide International title defense with a tricky match against Danielle Collins, in what is a repeat of last year's semifinal. Barty has taken a wildcard into this WTA 500 event, looking to quickly bounce back from her surprise quarterfinal loss at the year's first Major.
The Aussie had made a thunderous start to 2021, rounding into top form ahead of the Australian Open. Showing no signs of rust, Barty cruised to the title at the Yarra Valley Classic after an 11-month break.
But her loss to Karolina Muchova in the quarters at Melbourne Park would've stung, and Barty would be eager to push aside that setback and get back to winning ways.
It was at Adelaide last year that Danielle Collins played one of the best matches of her career, giving quite a scare to Ashleigh Barty herself. It took Barty three tough sets to finally quell Collins' challenge.
One year later, the American has returned to the city on the back of a fairly successful Australian summer. Collins reached the quarters at the Yarra Valley Classic and the semis at the Phillip Island Trophy before coming to Adelaide.
On Monday, the World No. 37 notched up her first-ever win over Saisai Zheng to get her campaign off to a bright start.
Ashleigh Barty vs Danielle Collins head-to-head
Ashleigh Barty leads Danielle Collins 3-0 in the head-to-head, having won all three of their previous meetings.
Their most recent encounter, as mentioned above, was at Adelaide a year ago. The Aussie had to dig deep for a gutsy 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5) win.
Ashleigh Barty vs Danielle Collins prediction
One of the hardest hitters of the ball, Danielle Collins will look to bring her uber-aggressive game when she takes the court against Ashleigh Barty. Collins can also mix things up with the occasional dropshot, and Barty needs to be ready for that.
An 8-3 record in Australia this year shows how much Collins has improved her game. The American is being more patient in the rallies now, and has upped her return game too.
Interestingly, Collins has stretched Barty to three sets in two of their three meetings. Needless to say, she will aim to do the same on Wednesday - especially given the confidence she has built all summer.
That said, the American does tend to have phases in her game where she struggles to control her aggression. That was evident even against Zheng on Monday, as Collins raced out to a 5-2 lead but was then pegged back by her errors.
Those are the moments that Barty will look to capitalize on. The World No. 1 has also likely recovered from the left thigh strain that she was suffering from during her Australian Open campaign, and would be eager to put on a show for her home fans.
This could be another tight affair between the two, but Barty's finesse, variety and overall solidity could tilt the balance in her favor.
Prediction: Ashleigh Barty to win in two tight sets.