Fixture: (1) Ashleigh Barty vs Tamara Zidansek
Date: 1 May 2021
Tournament: Mutua Madrid Open 2021
Round: Second round (Round of 32)
Venue: Madrid, Spain
Category: WTA 1000
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €2,549,105
Match timing: 11 am local time, 2.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video
Ashleigh Barty vs Tamara Zidansek preview
World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty will be looking to continue her good run of form when she takes on Slovenia's Tamara Zidansek in her second-round match at the Mutua Madrid Open on Saturday.
Barty has made a scintillating start to the season, having accumulated a 20-3 win-loss record so far. The 24-year-old started her claycourt season with a quarterfinal exit at Charleston, but made amends with a title-winning run at Stuttgart.
Barty has seemingly carried her rich vein of form to Madrid. The Aussie beat USA's Shelby Rogers on Thursday for the fourth time this year, to kick off her campaign at the 1000-level event.
Barty was in complete control of the proceedings as she won 6-2, 6-1, bagging a mammoth 93% of her first serve points in the process.
World No. 80 Tamara Zidansek, meanwhile, has been making rapid strides of her own lately. Zidansek produced some excellent performances at the Copa Calsanitas, defeating Sara Errani and Anna Kalinskaya en route to finishing as the runner-up to Maria Camila Osorio Serrano.
The Slovenian has followed that result up by qualifying for the main draw in Madrid, where she incidentally met lucky loser Su-Wei Hsieh for the second time in as many matches (Zidansek had beaten Hsieh in the final qualifying round). The result was repeated in the first-round encounter, as Zidansek again prevailed in straight sets.
Ashleigh Barty vs Tamara Zidansek head-to-head
The second-round encounter in Madrid will be the first-ever career meeting between Ashleigh Barty and Tamara Zidansek, so the head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Ashleigh Barty vs Tamara Zidansek prediction
Ashleigh Barty possesses impressive tactical acumen, which has often translated into strong showings not only on clay but on other surfaces too. The Aussie has dependable groundstrokes off both wings, an accurate serve and intelligent shot selection, all of which helped her win Roland Garros in 2019.
Although Barty doesn't have a lot of raw firepower, she can still hit through her opponents owing to her diverse array of weapons.
Tamara Zidansek, on the other hand, employs a simpler style of play. The Slovenian is a defensive baseliner who likes to rally from the deep end of the court.
Having said that, Zidansek's return stands out among all the attributes in her game. The World No. 80 destroyed Hsieh's serve earlier on Thursday, winning nearly 60% of her second return points.
Zidansek could possibly make it a tough outing for Barty if the latter is not able to find her rhythm right off the bat. But all things considered, the World No. 1 is the clear favorite in this match-up - especially given her form this season.
Prediction: Ashleigh Barty to win in two tight sets.