Date: 25 May 2021
Tournament: Internationaux de Strasbourg 2021
Round: First round (Round of 32)
Venue: Strasbourg, France
Category: WTA 250
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: $235,238
Match timing: Approx. 1 pm local time, 11 am GMT, 7 am EST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video
Jessica Pegula vs Arantxa Rus preview
The WTA 250 event in Strasbourg will be the last chance for Jessica Pegula to fine-tune her game on clay ahead of Roland Garros. The American faces a tricky test in her opening match against Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus.
Pegula has made huge strides this year. She reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and Dubai, and followed it up with a semifinal showing in Doha.
She has, however, failed to kick on during the claycourt season. The 27-year-old advanced to the third round in Madrid and quarterfinals in Rome, and will be hoping for a deeper run in France, where she is the second seed.
Rus, on the other hand, has spent the majority of her season on the red dirt, having participated in Bogota, Madrid, and a string of lower-level tournaments.
The World No. 85, a mainstay on the WTA circuit, has not made much of a mark this year but will look to use this tournament as a catalyst to turn her fortunes around.
Jessica Pegula vs Arantxa Rus head-to-head
The first-round encounter in Strasbourg will be the third meeting between Jessica Pegula and Arantxa Rus. Their head-to-head currently stands at a 1-1 deadlock.
Rus prevailed in the pair's first meeting in Marseille way back in 2013. But Pegula won their most recent encounter, at the 2019 Miami Open.
Jessica Pegula vs Arantxa Rus prediction
In terms of form and ranking, Jessica Pegula is the firm favorite to win this match. The American will look to take the initiative early in the encounter and establish herself as the aggressor. Pegula has a solid game from the back of the court but her serve has proven problematic in recent times.
For Rus, the key will be to push Pegula back behind the baseline using her heavy top-spin forehand. She will also have to be aggressive during return games to take advantage of Pegula's shaky second serve.
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Ultimately, the American should have enough firepower to subdue Rus.
Prediction: Jessica Pegula to win in three sets.