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Australian Open 2021: Elina Svitolina vs Jessica Pegula preview, head-to-head & prediction

Elina Svitolina
Elina Svitolina
ANALYST
Modified 14 Feb 2021
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Match details

Fixture: (5) Elina Svitolina vs Jessica Pegula

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 80,000,000

Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | UK - Eurosport Player | India - Sony Six

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Elina Svitolina vs Jessica Pegula preview

World No. 5 Elina Svitolina will face giant-killer Jessica Pegula in the fourth round of the 2021 Australian Open on Monday, in what promises to be an enthralling fixture.

Svitolina brushed past Yulia Putintseva in the third round, winning 6-4, 6-0. Jessica Pegula also registered a straightforward victory, as she defeated Kristina Mladenovic 6-2, 6-1.

Svitolina needed just 83 minutes to eliminate Putintseva, in what was a one-sided affair for most parts. The Ukrainian did take some time to find her footing in the match, but a smart tactical change, coupled with some clean hitting, saw her sweep nine games in a row from 4-3 down in the first set.

Svitolina has registered three back-to-back straight-sets wins at the Australian Open, which will instill her with a lot of confidence as we reach the business end of the tournament. But the 26-year-old has never made it past the quarterfinals at the year’s opening Major, and it seems she has her task cut out this time as well.

Up against Jessica Pegula next, Svitolina will be wary of the American’s sublime form in Melbourne so far. The World No. 61 has defeated three higher-ranked players this week, including two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka.

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Jessica Pegula
Jessica Pegula

But it is the manner of Pegula’s victories that has caught everyone’s attention. Like Svitolina, the American is yet to drop a set, and has remarkably conceded just four games in her previous two matches.

This is Pegula’s best-ever showing at the Australian Open, and she is now one step closer to making the quarterfinals of a Slam for the first time in her career.

Elina Svitolina vs Jessica Pegula head-to-head

Elina Svitolina leads Jessica Pegula 1-0 in the head-to-head. The two recently faced each other at the Abu Dhabi Open, with the Ukrainian winning 6-4, 6-3.

Elina Svitolina vs Jessica Pegula prediction

Elina Svitolina
Elina Svitolina

Jessica Pegula has shown a marked improvement in her attacking skillset, hitting the ball a lot earlier and taking more risks on her strongest shot - forehand. The American has struck 65 winners so far, but hitting through Elina Svitolina’s solid defense will be a tougher ask.

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Interestingly, Svitolina has also made a similar change in her approach. Renowned as a counterpuncher, the Ukrainian has played some aggressive tennis this year and made good use of the faster courts.

Svitolina and Pegula have both been serving very well so far, conceding a mere three breaks of serve each.

With her fearless brand of tennis, Pegula is likely to create several opportunities for herself in this match. If Svitolina suffers another slow start, the American could well cause a famous upset on Monday.

Prediction: Jessica Pegula to win in three sets.

Published 13 Feb 2021, 16:22 IST
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