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Italian Open 2021: Jessica Pegula vs Petra Martic preview, head-to-head & prediction

Jessica Pegula
Jessica Pegula
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Match details

Fixture: Jessica Pegula vs Petra Martic

Date: 14 May 2021

Tournament: Internazionali BNL d'italia 2021

Round: Quarterfinals

Venue: Rome, Italy

Category: WTA 1000

Surface: Red clay

Prize money: $1,835,490

Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video

Jessica Pegula vs Petra Martic preview

Jessica Pegula, playing her first ever Italian Open, will be looking to continue her solid performance here when she takes on Petra Martic in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Pegula is, without a doubt, having the best season of the career. She began her 2021 by reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, beating the likes of Victoria Azarenka and Elina Svitolina along the way. The American then played in Doha, where she reached the semifinals after coming through three rounds of qualification.

Pegula backed up that performance with another deep run the following week, making the quarterfinals in Dubai. Then returning to home soil, the 27-year-old defeated Karolina Pliskova at the Miami Open before losing a three-set thriller to Maria Sakkari in the Round of 16.

Pegula started her clay swing in Madrid with a win over Sorana Cirstea, after which she received a walkover against Victoria Azarenka. However, she could only manage to win three games against eventual champion Aryna Sabalenka in the third round.

The American has managed back-to-back solid wins this week in Rome, defeating Daria Kasatkina in the opening round followed by a huge upset over World No. 2 Naomi Osaka. Pegula then defeated Ekaterina Alexandrova on Thursday to reach her first ever quarterfinal at a claycourt WTA 1000 tournament.

Petra Martic
Petra Martic

Petra Martic, on the contrary, has struggled to find her form this season. The Croat has a negative win-loss record in 2021, having reached just one quarterfinal before this week.

Martic's inconsistency is evident from the fact that she failed to register consecutive wins in all but one tournament (Yara Valley Classic) until she arrived in Rome.

However, the 30-year-old seems determined to turn her fortunes around this week. She has managed to cross three significant hurdles so far - Martic defeated Shelby Rogers and Kristina Mladenovic in the first two rounds before coming back from a set down to beat 2020 French Open semifinalist Nadia Podoroska on Thursday.

Jessica Pegula vs Petra Martic head-to-head

Petra Martic leads the head-to-head against Jessica Pegula by a margin of 3-1. The players last met in the third round of Charleston in 2019, where Martic defeated Pegula in three sets.

Jessica Pegula vs Petra Martic prediction

Jessica Pegula enters this match as the clear favorite, given her form throughout the season as well in this tournament. That said, Petra Martic has always been good on clay and will likely put up a tough fight.

Pegula, who is not particularly comfortable on this surface, will look to grab the initiative early in the match. She has occasionally struggled with her serve in the recent past, and will look to compensate for that by cutting down on her unforced errors.

Jessica Pegula will look for an early advantage in the match.
Jessica Pegula will look for an early advantage in the match.

Martic, meanwhile, will bank on her serve to not let her opponent get any early momentum. The Croat has good hands at the net too, and will look to use her volleys - along with her backhand slice - to keep her opponent off-balance.

However, the firepower from the other end of the court might eventually prove too much for the inconsistent Martic.

Prediction: Jessica Pegula to win in two tight sets.

Edited by Musab Abid
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