Fixture: Mihaela Buzarnescu vs Claire Liu
Date: 12 January 2021
Tournament: Australian Open 2021 qualifiers
Round: Second round
Venue: Dubai, UAE
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Match timing: Approx. 4 pm local time, 5.30 pm IST
Mihaela Buzarnescu vs Claire Liu preview
The 20-year-old former junior Wimbledon champion Claire Liu overcame a slow start on Monday to progress into the second round of the 2021 Australian Open qualifiers.
The youngster defeated Dutchwoman Indy deVroome 7-6(5), 6-2 in a tough opening match. And her reward is a match against another tricky opponent in the form of Romania's Mihaela Buzarnescu, a former top 20 player.
Buzarnescu has been around for quite some time now, but it was after her breakthrough season in 2018 that she was able to really assert her presence at the elite level. Not only did the Romanian win her first career title that year, she also reached the second week at Roland Garros (her first at a Grand Slam) and two other finals.
While injuries and time off court have derailed her progress, she still remains a bug threat. A strong hardcourt player, Buzarnescu enjoys taking control of rallies and plays with a lot of intent, something that was evident in her resounding first round win over Lara Arruabarrena. She will look for a repeat of the same sort of performance against Liu.
Mihaela Buzarnescu vs Claire Liu head-to-head
This will be the first time that Mihaela Buzarnescu and Claire Liu play each other on the senior tour, so their current head-to-head stands at a 0-0 deadlock.
Mihaela Buzarnescu vs Claire Liu prediction
Mihaela Buzarnescu is clearly the more experienced of the two players, but she hasn't had the most successful last couple of years. Her time on court has been limited due to a variety of reasons, and a lot will depend on whether she can rediscover the form that saw her rise to a career-high ranking in 2018.
Claire Liu, on the other hand, is still trying to find her footing at the senior level. A hugely successful junior, she carries with her a certain level of expectations. That, coupled with the pressure of keeping pace with the other fast rising youngsters, has often kept her from playing her best tennis.
This match presents a unique opportunity for both women, and could well prove to be a mental battle. Buzarnescu and Liu are efficient hardcourt players, but one has to wonder if the former's tenacity and experience could sway the tide in her favor.
Prediction: Mihaela Buzarnescu to win in three sets.Published 12 Jan 2021, 09:57 IST