Fixture: (1) Ashleigh Barty vs Shelby Rogers
Date: 15 February 2021
Tournament: Australian Open 2021
Round: Fourth round (Round of 16)
Venue: Melbourne, Australia
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Outdoor Hardcourt
Prize money: AUD $80 million
Live Telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | India - Sony Ten Network / Sony Liv Premium
Ashleigh Barty vs Shelby Rogers preview
World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty will continue to carry Australia's hopes of a home champion on her shoulders when she faces Shelby Rogers in the Round of 16 of the 2021 Australian Open on Monday.
Barty had not played competitive tennis for almost a whole year before returning last week. But so far, she has shown no signs of the lack of match practice affecting her.
The former French Open champion won the Yarra Valley Classic on Sunday, and immediately hit the ground running at the Australian Open.
Barty is yet to drop a set this year at Melbourne Park. In the third round, the Aussie mounted comebacks in both sets after going down early breaks against 29th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova. With the 6-2, 6-4 win, Barty has reached the second week of her home Slam for the third successive year.
Shelby Rogers meanwhile has continued her run of good results in hardcourt Slams. The 28-year-old has backed up her quarterfinal run at last year's US Open by reaching the fourth round at Melbourne Park, and just like Barty, she has also done it without the loss of a set.
Rogers had a tough third-round opponent in Anett Kontaveit but she managed to come through in straight sets. The American was down 4-1 in the first set, which is when she took complete control of the match to eventually register a 6-4, 6-3 win.
Ashleigh Barty vs Shelby Rogers head-to-head
Ashleigh Barty and Shelby Rogers have faced each other twice before, with the Aussie leading the head-to-head 2-0.
Their most recent meeting was just last week at the Yarra Valley Classic, where the World No. 1 had to dig deep for a 7-5, 2-6, 10-4 win.
Ashleigh Barty vs Shelby Rogers prediction
Ashleigh Barty has been in impeccable form over the past two weeks. It almost feels as if the Aussie was never out of action.
In her third-round match, Barty won almost half the points played on her opponent's serve. That said, one issue that Barty would like to fix before her next match would be her poor rate break-point conversion rate; the Aussie converted just 29% of her 17 break points against Alexandrova.
Shelby Rogers has looked just as impressive so far in the tournament. She has, in fact, been playing some of her best hardcourt tennis over the last six months.
But Barty might prove to be too strong an opponent for the American, given the differences in their peak levels. The match is expected to be on the Aussie's racket throughout, and she is likely to sail into the last-eight of the tournament smoothly.
Prediction: Ashleigh Barty to win in straight sets.