Dubai Tennis Championships 2021: Elise Mertens vs Jessica Pegula preview, head-to-head & prediction

Elise Mertens
Elise Mertens

Match details

Fixture: (10) Elise Mertens vs Jessica Pegula

Date: 11 March 2021

Tournament: Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

Round: Quarterfinals

Venue: Dubai, UAE

Category: WTA 1000

Surface: Outdoor hardcourt

Prize money: $1,835,490

Match timing: Approx. 4 pm local time, 5.30 pm IST

Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel

Elise Mertens vs Jessica Pegula preview

10th seed Elise Mertens will aim for a spot in the semifinals of the Dubai Tennis Championships when she takes on World No. 36 Jessica Pegula on Thursday.

Mertens has been a model of consistency on the WTA tour for the past couple of years. The World No. 18 has reached the final in two of her last three tournaments, even winning the title at the Gippsland Trophy.

Mertens took a break after finishing her Australian Open singles campaign in the fourth round. Having recharged her batteries, the Australian Open women's doubles champion has come to Dubai with a lot of motivation and energy.

That was evident from her fighting first-round win, where she was stretched to the limit by Viktoriya Tomova. The Belgian showed oodles of determination in getting out of trouble with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 win, and has improved with each round since.

In her matches against Shelby Rogers and Caroline Garcia, Mertens dropped a total of 12 games. Buoyed by those confident showings, she will be ready to face the fast-improving Jessica Pegula.

Jessica Pegula
Jessica Pegula

Pegula's career graph has been on the rise for a few months now. Having reached the quarterfinals at Cincinnati in 2020, the American started this year with some impressive performances.

She made the Round of 16 at the Yarra Valley Classic and followed it up with her first-ever Slam quarterfinal at the Australian Open. Pegula went one better at last week's Qatar Open, where she made the semifinals from the qualifying rounds.

The 27-year-old has brought that sterling form to Dubai and has breezed through her opening three matches. She has dispatched Yaroslava Shvedova, Kristina Mladenovic and second seed Karolina Pliskova with ease, not conceding more than three games in any match.

Elise Mertens vs Jessica Pegula head-to-head

Elise Mertens has a 1-0 lead over Jessica Pegula in the head-to-head, having won their solitary encounter at the Western and Southern Open last year. The Belgian blew Pegula away in that match, for a commanding 6-1, 6-3 win.

Elise Mertens vs Jessica Pegula prediction

Elise Mertens
Elise Mertens

A highly consistent player, Elise Mertens is the favorite on paper to come through this encounter.

Mertens will look to attack right from the start, like she did in their previous meeting at the Western & Southern Open Open. Pegula can't afford to concede an early break, or else the Belgian will run away with the match.

The American needs to use her backhand down-the-line to get some free points, and also move forward as much as possible to disrupt Mertens' rhythm. But she has played a lot of matches over the past two weeks, and fatigue could creep in.

Prediction: Elise Mertens to win in two tight sets.

Edited by Musab Abid

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