Fixture: Victoria Azarenka vs Jessica Pegula
Date: 18 June 2021
Tournament: bett1Open 2021
Venue: Berlin, Germany
Category: WTA 500
Prize money: $565,530
Match timing: Approx. 5 pm local time, 3 pm GMT, 11 am EST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video
Victoria Azarenka vs Jessica Pegula preview
Victoria Azarenka fended off home favorite Angelique Kerber for the 10th time in her career to advance to the quarterfinals in Berlin. Awaiting her in the last eight is World No. 26 Jessica Pegula, who notched her fourth win of the year over fourth seed Karolina Pliskova.
Last year's US Open finalist Azarenka hasn't played a single semifinal this year and will be hoping to make it to that stage this week. She entered the bett1open on the back of a solid claycourt season which culminated in a fourth-round appearance at Roland Garros.
After overcoming a couple of Germans in the first two rounds in Berlin, the Belarusian faces another stern test in Pegula.
Jessica Pegula entered the year ranked World No. 62, but a string of consistent results have propelled her into the top 30 for the first time in her career. The American has bagged six top-10 wins this year and has established herself as a force to be reckoned with.
She will look to make a deep run in the German capital this week to gain some momentum heading into Wimbledon, where she has never won a match.
Victoria Azarenka vs Jessica Pegula head-to-head
The duo's only meeting came at the 2021 Australian Open, where Pegula pulled off a straight-sets upset. The head-to-head currently stands at 1-0 in favour of the American, but Azarenka will hope to level things up on Friday.
Victoria Azarenka vs Jessica Pegula prediction
Neither player has lost a set all week and it remains to be seen who falters first. While both registered victories over former World No. 1s en route to the quarterfinals, it is Azarenka who has played at a higher level thus far.
Azarenka's serve has been a key weapon, with the Belarusian winning over 70% of points on first serve in both her previous matches. Azarenka has also struck more winners than Pegula.
The key for the American will be to serve strongly and minimize the errors from her racquet.
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It will take gutsy tennis from Pegula to test the seventh seed, but given Azarenka's form this week, I expect her to avenge her Australian Open loss to the American.