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Australian Open 2021: Jennifer Brady vs Donna Vekic preview, head-to-head & prediction

Jennifer Brady
Jennifer Brady
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 14 Feb 2021
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Match details

Fixture: (22) Jennifer Brady vs (28) Donna Vekic

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 Six

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Jennifer Brady vs Donna Vekic preview

22nd seed Jennifer Brady takes on 28th seed Donna Vekic in the Australian Open fourth round on Monday.

Ever since the WTA tour resumed last August, Brady has been on an absolute roll. The American won her maiden WTA title at Lexington, before making it to the semifinals of the US Open with a breathtaking display of power and precision.

After ending 2020 with yet another semifinal appearance at Ostrava, Brady has carried her momentum into the new season. A first-round defeat at Abu Dhabi was just an aberration, as the 25-year-old regrouped quickly to reach the semifinals of the Grampians Trophy.

At the Australian Open, Brady has looked scarier than ever. She has walloped the likes of Aliona Bolsova, Madison Brengle and Kaja Juvan, dropping a paltry 11 games on her way to the fourth round.

The American is self-admittedly "on a mission", and she doesn't seem to be in the mood to stop anytime soon.

Donna Vekic
Donna Vekic
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Donna Vekic meanwhile has been struggling with inconsistency for some time now, as evident from her fall out of the top 20 of the WTA rankings. The Croat has made it to the last-eight of a tournament just once in the last 13 months, at Adelaide in January 2020.

Vekic's 2021 season started with opening-round losses at Abu Dhabi and Melbourne. But she has put all of that in the rearview mirror by reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open.

After beating Yafan Wang and Nadia Podoroska in the first two rounds, Vekic came up against the in-form Kaia Kanepi in the third. The 24-year-old trailed by a set and 0-3, and even had to save a match point in the second set, before knocking out Kanepi 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-4.

Vekic was understandably emotional after the 2-hour-36-minute marathon, having snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

Jennifer Brady vs Donna Vekic head-to-head

Donna Vekic leads the head-to-head against Jennifer Brady 1-0, having won their solitary meeting on the claycourts of Rome in 2018. Vekic needed three sets to pull off the 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 win.

Jennifer Brady vs Donna Vekic prediction

Jennifer Brady
Jennifer Brady

Given her sterling form and burgeoning confidence, Jennifer Brady is the favorite to win this match. The fast courts at Melbourne Park are also tailor-made for her aggressive game.

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However, one of the pitfalls of Brady's big-hitting game is her occasionally high unforced error count. Even in her commanding 6-1, 6-3 third-round win against Kaja Juvan, the American sprayed as many as 24 unforced errors.

Brady needs to be careful about that against a resurgent Vekic, who is solid from the back of the court. The American would have look to finish points early, but without taking too many risks.

Another thing that should work in Brady's favor is her freshness. She barely had to break a sweat in the third round, while Vekic is coming into this match after a grueling and emotional win that took a lot out of her.

Prediction: Jennifer Brady to win in two tight sets.

Published 13 Feb 2021, 20:17 IST
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