Date: 25 August 2020
Tournament: Western & Southern Open 2020
Round: Round of 16
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York, USA
Category: WTA Premier 5
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $1,950,079
Match timing: 1.30 pm EDT, 11 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN
Aryna Sabalenka vs Jessica Pegula preview
World No. 11 Aryna Sabalenka will be looking to reach her first quarterfinal since the tour restart when she takes on Jessica Pegula in the round of 16 at the Western & Southern Open in New York.
The Belarusian got a bye in the first round at the tournament, so her first match was in the second round against CiCi Bellis. And in what turned out to be an uncomfortable affair, Sabalenka eventually prevailed 6-7 6-4 7-5.
After a title win in Doha earlier in the year, Sabalenka's post-lockdown comeback got off to a rocky start at the Top Seed Open in Lexington. She first had a difficult match against Madison Brengle, and then bowed out against teenage sensation Cori Gauff in the round of 16.
Sabalenka's opponent on Tuesday, Jessica Pegula, has been quite active since the end of lockdown. After a round of 16 defeat in Lexington, the American won a qualifying match and defeated Liudmila Samsonova and Jennifer Brady to book her match with the Belarusian in New York.
The American player had been on the rise over the 12 months before the pandemic struck. She had registered a win at the Washington Open last year, and a final appearance at Auckland against Serena Williams in January.
Pegula's performance against Brady in the second round here was particularly impressive; she looked solid in all aspects of the game to triumph 7-6, 6-4.
Aryna Sabalenka vs Jessica Pegula head-to-head
The meeting at the Western & Southern Open will be the first between the two players; Aryna Sabalenka and Jessica Pegula have never faced off against each other on the WTA tour.
Aryna Sabalenka vs Jessica Pegula prediction
Given their respective rankings, Aryna Sabalenka comes into this match as the clear favorite. But after struggling in Lexington and enduring a difficult battle against CiCi Bellis, the Belarusian isn't carrying a lot of confidence.
Jessica Pegula on her part has displayed some incredible defense lately, which could be handy against the all-out attacking approach of a player like Sabalenka. The American's backhand is a weapon, which she can use to control points and make things uncomfortable for Sabalenka.
But even against Pegula's defensive prowess, Sabalenka should still have enough in her arsenal to win this match - provided she serves well enough and keeps her errors to a minimum.
Prediction: Aryna Sabalenka to win in three sets.Published 25 Aug 2020, 11:02 IST