Fixture: (11) Jennifer Brady vs Jelena Ostapenko
Date: 2 May 2021
Tournament: Mutua Madrid Open 2021
Round: Second round (Round of 32)
Venue: Madrid, Spain
Category: WTA 1000
Prize money: €2,549,105
Match timing: Approx. 4.30 pm local time, 8 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video
Jennifer Brady vs Jelena Ostapenko preview
11th seed Jennifer Brady will square off against former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the second round of the Madrid Open on Sunday.
Brady has failed to get any momentum going since finishing as the runner-up at the Australian Open. The American lost her opening match in her three tournaments immediately following Melbourne, before finally ending the losing streak at Madrid.
Taking on Venus Williams in the first round on Friday, Brady broke six times to race away to a 6-2, 6-4 win. The World No. 14 will now hope to bring that same form into her next match, where she faces the dangerous Jelena Ostapenko.
Since her run to the last-eight at Strasbourg in October, Ostapenko hasn't made another quarterfinal on the tour. Stringing together consecutive wins has been quite a challenge for the World No. 50 of late.
That said, Ostapenko has given glimpses of her talent and fighting spirit since the tour shifted to clay. The 23-year-old stretched World No. 9 Karolina Pliskova to three sets in a thrilling second-round match at Stuttgart last week.
That performance brought back some of her lost confidence, as was evident in her ruthless 6-3, 6-1 win over Polona Hercog in the first round at Madrid.
Jennifer Brady vs Jelena Ostapenko head-to-head
Jennifer Brady and Jelena Ostapenko are locked at 1-1 in their head-to-head. Ostapenko battled to a 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 win in their first-ever meeting at Stuttgart in 2017. Brady, however, turned the tables with a 6-4, 6-0 drubbing at Dubai a couple of years later.
Jennifer Brady vs Jelena Ostapenko prediction
This promises to be an enthralling battle between two of the most aggressive hitters on the tour. With the ball flying due to the high altitude at Madrid, the rallies are expected to be short in the match on Sunday.
Jennifer Brady has been more consistent than Jelena Ostapenko over the last year or so. Her deadly serve-and-forehand combination earned her a place in the US Open 2020 semis too, in addition to this year's Australian Open final.
That said, the American has been in a mini-slump since her Melbourne exploits. Even against Venus Williams in her Madrid opener, Brady wasn't as clinical as she would've hoped, dropping her serve thrice. Needless to say, she would need to get her serve working against a returner as aggressive as Ostapenko.
That said, the Latvian's high-risk tennis has its own pitfalls. Ostapenko tends to overpress on her shots, often resulting in a higher number of unforced errors than winners.
If she does that on Sunday too, she might end up making it a smooth passage for Brady into the Round of 16.
Prediction: Jennifer Brady to win in two tight sets.