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J&T Banka Ostrava Open 2020: Petra Martic vs Jelena Ostapenko preview, head-to-head & prediction

Jelena Ostapenko
Jelena Ostapenko
Shruti Sinha
ANALYST
Modified 20 Oct 2020, 23:10 IST
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Match details

Fixture: (5) Petra Martic vs Jelena Ostapenko

Date: 21 October 2020

Tournament: J & T Banka Ostrava Open 2020

Round: First round (Round of 32)

Venue: Ostrava, Czech Republic

Category: WTA Premier

Surface: Indoor hardcourt

Prize money: $528,500

Match timing: Approx. 4 pm CEST, 7.30 pm IST

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Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel

Petra Martic vs Jelena Ostapenko preview

Fifth seed Petra Martic begins her campaign at the Ostrava Open against the dangerous Jelena Ostapenko.

The Latvian wildcard can switch between extremes on any given day, which makes her highly unpredictable. Despite being ranked as low as No. 44, Ostapenko has the ability to find winners from any part of the court.

She had put up a fearless display of shot-making on her way to the Roland Garros title in 2017. And although she hasn't been able to do much of note since then, Ostapenko remains a tough opponent to deal with for anyone.

Nobody knows that better than World No. 6 Karolina Pliskova, who was shocked 4-6, 2-6 by Ostapenko in the Roland Garros second round last month. Even at Strasbourg, Ostapenko beat the-then World No. 8 Kiki Bertens to reach the quarters - the only time she has reached the last-eight stage of a tournament this year.

The Latvian's prowess on indoor hardcourts is another reason for Martic to worry. Ostapenko caught fire at the end of last year, winning the title in Luxembourg and finishing runner-up to Coco Gauff at Linz.

If she manages to get her act together this week, the 2018 Wimbledon semifinalist could well blaze through the draw in Ostrava.

Petra Martic
Petra Martic
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Petra Martic has fewer titles to her name than Jelena Ostapenko, but is the higher-ranked player in this clash. The World No. 18 has a 14-10 win-loss record for the year and has reached the semifinals in Dubai and Palermo, while also making a fourth-round appearance at the US Open.

The Croat is clearly the more consistent player coming into this match. However, each of her 10 losses this year has come against a player ranked lower than her, which should be a concerning sign for her team.

Petra Martic vs Jelena Ostapenko head-to-head

Petra Martic holds a 2-0 lead in the head-to-head record against Jelena Ostapenko.

Their first face-off took place at the 2018 Indian Wells tournament, where Martic upset the sixth seed 6-3, 6-3. Their 2019 showdown on the grasscourts of Birmingham turned out to be more competitive, with the Croat edging Ostapenko 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-1.

Petra Martic vs Jelena Ostapenko prediction

Petra Martic's worrying trend of losing to lower-ranked players strongly indicates that she doesn't enjoy being the favorite. Martic is prone to crumbling under the pressure of expectations, which has prevented her career from truly taking off.

Jelena Ostapenko, on the other hand, enjoys competing against higher-ranked players. She showed exactly that when she came back from a break down twice to beat Simona Halep in the 2017 Roland Garros final.

Last year, Ostapenko's aggressive brand of tennis fetched her wins over the likes of Elena Rybakina in Linz and Elise Mertens in Luxembourg. If she can play with the same kind of confidence and belief, she could well notch up her first win over Petra Martic.

Prediction: Jelena Ostapenko to win in three sets.

Published 19 Oct 2020, 02:24 IST
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