Fixture: Elise Mertens vs Jessica Pegula
Date: 26 August 2020
Tournament: Western & Southern Open 2020
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York, USA
Category: WTA Premier 5
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $1,950,079
Match timing: 11 am EDT, 8:30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN
Elise Mertens vs Jessica Pegula preview
Belgiums’ Elise Mertens will take on home favorite Jessica Pegula on Wednesday for a place in the semifinals of the 2020 Western & Southern Open. Both players are in a rich vein of form coming into this match, and whoever loses will feel a tad aggrieved by the draw.
Jessica Pegula is currently on a five-match winning streak (all inside six days). She has overcome a couple of qualifiers and three extremely talented players in the form of Jennifer Brady, Amanda Anisimova and Aryna Sabalenka.
Elise Mertens meanwhile has quietly gone about her job at the Cincinnati Open this year. The Belgian has displayed extremely consistent tennis to get past the likes of Rebecca Peterson, Kristina Mladenovic and Veronika Kudermetova.
While many players have seen their game affected by the lengthy COVID-19 induced pandemic, Pegula and Mertens seem to have regained their form in no time. The two players are among the least flashy on the tour and they always look to stick to the basics, which is probably helping their adjustment.
Jessica Pegula in particular deserves a lot of credit for the way she performed against Aryna Sabalenka despite having a heavily taped thigh. The American tactically outclassed the Belarusian by constantly varying the pace and direction of her groundstrokes.
Pegula has the ability to put her opponents on the run despite not being the most powerful hitter. And Sabalenka had no answer to that in the third set, as she struggled to dictate play the way she usually does.
Elise Mertens will be wary of Pegula's subtle weapons as she’s herself quite adept on the tactical side of things. But there will need to be a few changes in her plans as Pegula is quite capable of out-hitting her from the baseline.
Variety would be key for the Belgian, who could also take some tips from her doubles partner Aryna Sabalenka on how to counter Pegula's game.
Elise Mertens vs Jessica Pegula head-to-head
The head-to-head between Elise Mertens and Jessica Pegula currently stands at 0-0 as the two women haven't faced each other before on the WTA tour.
Elise Mertens vs Jessica Pegula prediction
On current form, this is a difficult match to call. There is a lot at stake for both players though, so the result could well come down to motivation levels.
Elise Mertens will be looking to get her hand on the title after coming very close in Prague a week ago. Jessica Pegula on the other hand will want to prove that she’s not just a giant-killer but a serious contender - not only for this tournament, but also at the upcoming US Open.
The serves of both players would be a big factor in this match, as they will likely go toe-to-toe when it comes to groundstrokes. Pegula with the inferior second serve might just give an opening or two for Mertens to capitalize on.
Prediction: Elise Mertens to win in three sets.Published 26 Aug 2020, 03:30 IST