Fixture: (1) Ashleigh Barty vs (14) Iga Swiatek
Date: 3 May 2021
Tournament: Mutua Madrid Open 2021
Round: Third round (Round of 16)
Venue: Madrid, Spain
Category: WTA 1000
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €2,549,105
Match timing: Not before 7 pm local time, 10.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video
Ashleigh Barty vs Iga Swiatek preview
The third round of the 2021 Mutua Madrid Open will see an exciting battle between the two most recent Roland Garros champions - Ashleigh Barty and Iga Swiatek - on Monday.
Barty, the top seed, had to overcome a spirited effort from Tamara Zidansek in her last round, but eventually prevailed in three sets. Against someone like Swiatek, the Aussie will be expecting another stern test.
Swiatek on her part came through a tight two-set win over Laura Siegemund. The Pole was tested throughout the entire 1 hour 40 minute encounter, before closing out the win on her 11th match point.
Swiatek did really well to adjust to Siegemund's unpredictable shot-making, especially in the highly-competitive second set. The 19-year-old would be feeling good about her game going into the third round.
Ashleigh Barty vs Iga Swiatek head-to-head
This is set to be the first career meeting between Ashleigh Barty and Iga Swiatek, so the duo's current head-to-head stands at a 0-0 deadlock.
Ashleigh Barty vs Iga Swiatek prediction
Ashleigh Barty has played some fine claycourt tennis in recent times. She is currently on a 13-match winning streak on red clay, which dates back to May 2019. The astounding run includes her triumphs at Roland Garros in 2019 and the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix last month.
Iga Swiatek, meanwhile, has won her last nine matches on the surface without dropping a set, and seems to be enjoying playing in Madrid. Needless to say, we could be in for a high-quality affair on Monday.
Both women have similarly well-rounded games, and this encounter could well be decided by the smallest of margins. Swiatek has more power off the ground, but Barty has more variety.
The Aussie's use of the sliced backhand to reset points mid-rally has yielded positive results throughout her career, especially against big-hitting players. In fact, that's the one element that's missing from Swiatek's game, which tends to misfire when deprived of rhythm and time.
Both Barty and Swiatek are more than capable of playing smart tennis as well as hitting their spots on the serve and the groundstrokes. But it is the top seed who is a little better equipped at handling longer rallies, and in a close matchup like this, the smallest of advantages could end up making all the difference.
Prediction: Ashleigh Barty to win in three sets.