Fixture: Elise Mertens vs Karolina Muchova
Date: 22 October 2020
Tournament: J & T Banka Ostrava Open 2020
Round: Second round (Round of 16)
Venue: Ostrava, Czech Republic
Category: WTA Premier
Surface: Indoor hardcourt
Prize money: $528,500
Match timing: Approx. 4 pm CEST, 7.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel
Elise Mertens vs Karolina Muchova preview
After a comfortable victory over Amanda Anisimova, Elise Mertens will aim to keep her winning momentum going against the unseeded Czech player Karolina Muchova in the pre-quarterfinals.
The Belgian star dropped only five games in her first-round match, and didn't allow her American opponent a single break point. Stats like those will hold her in good stead against any player in the world.
Mertens had a decent claycourt swing earlier this month. She made a quarterfinal appearance at the Italian Open, and followed that up with a third-round finish in Paris.
The seventh seed's performances were much better on the American hardcourts though. She reached the final four at the Western & Southern Open, and subsequently made it to the US Open quarterfinals.
It goes without saying that Karolina Muchova will pose a stiff challenge to Elise Mertens for the coveted quarterfinal spot at Ostrava.
The local favorite has had a fairly quiet 2020 season so far. She lost in the second round of the Western & Southern Open, while her US Open campaign ended in the fourth round.
Muchova then suffered a straight-sets loss to unseeded American Christina McHale at Roland Garros a few weeks ago. She will be keen to improve her win-loss record for the season with a strong showing in her home tournament.
The 24-year-old looked in great touch against Shuai Zhang in the first round, dropping just two games in the match. Muchova had an impressive 85% win rate on the first serve, and she broke her Chinese rival five times in a 6-1, 6-1 rout.
Elise Mertens vs Karolina Muchova head-to-head
The upcoming second-round match will be the first ever encounter between Elise Mertens and Karolina Muchova on the WTA tour. Thus, their head-to-head record currently stands at 0-0.
Elise Mertens vs Karolina Muchova prediction
Elise Mertens has been far more consistent than her opponent Karolina Muchova this year. While Muchova has recorded only seven victories in 2020, her 24-year-old Belgian rival has 10 wins to her name in the last couple of months alone.
Muchova is an all-court player who can outsmart her opponents with her variety. She can slow down the rallies with her drop shots and sliced backhands, and as evidenced in the first round, the Czech player also has a solid serve.
Mertens will have to be at her best to ensure that she doesn't fall prey to the Czech's smart tactics. But looking at her recent performances, it seems likely that she will eke out a win even if she is stretched by Muchova.
Prediction: Elise Mertens to win in three sets.Published 21 Oct 2020, 22:01 IST