Fixture: (2) Elise Mertens vs Aliaksandra Sasnovich
Date: 15 September 2021
Tournament: BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open 2021
Round: Second round (Round of 16)
Category: WTA 250
Surface: Indoor hardcourt
Prize money: $235,238
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video
Elise Mertens vs Aliaksandra Sasnovich preview
Second seed Elise Mertens will kick off her Luxembourg campaign with a tough second-round match against World No. 111 Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Although Mertens is placed 95 spots above the Belarusian in the world rankings, she has managed to win just one of their four meetings so far.
The World No. 16 will hope to rediscover some of the form she showed during her brilliant start to the season. Mertens won the title at the Gippsland Trophy and finished as the runner-up in Istanbul, in addition to a semifinal appearance in Dubai.
A thigh injury stalled her momentum, but she appeared to be back to her best during the US Open Series. Having reached the semifinals in San Jose and the Round of 16 in New York, Mertens will be eager to continue the momentum and make a deep run in Luxembourg, which would boost her chances of booking a spot in the WTA Finals.
World No. 111 Aliaksandra Sasnovich, meanwhile, hasn't done much of note this season. The Belarusian has a disappointing 12-11 win-loss record for the season, with the highlights being quarterfinal finishes in Cleveland, Belgrade and St. Malo.
At the Luxembourg Open, the former World No. 30 had to dig deep to douse the challenge of Lesia Tsurenko 7-5, 7-6(6) in the first round on Tuesday.
Elise Mertens vs Aliaksandra Sasnovich head-to-head
Aliaksandra Sasnovich leads Elise Mertens 3-1 in the head-to-head, which includes a 6-4, 6-1 win in their most recent meeting in Palermo last year.
The only time Mertens managed to get the better of the Belarusian was at Toronto in 2019, where the Belgian won 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Elise Mertens vs Aliaksandra Sasnovich prediction
Elise Mertens doesn't have a good record against Aliaksandra Sasnovich but she enters this match on the back of a few confidence-boosting wins in the USA. The Belgian will thus fancy her chances of turning the tables on her nemesis this time around.
Sasnovich does not have a very reliable serve and Mertens will look to capitalize by staying aggressive on the returns. The Belarusian's forehand also tends to break down under pressure and Mertens will need to attack that wing relentlessly.
Consistently taking the ball early might unsettle Sasnovich and draw errors from her racquet.
But Mertens will need to ensure her own game, especially the serve, fires throughout the match. If the Belgian can land a high percentage of first serves and keep the unforced errors at bay, she should be able to land her second victory against Sasnovich.
Prediction: Elise Mertens to win in three sets.