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Miami Open 2019: Venus Williams vs Simona Halep, Preview and Prediction

ANALYST
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901   //    25 Mar 2019, 16:39 IST

Miami Open 2019 - Day 7
Miami Open 2019 - Day 7

In a blockbuster fourth-round clash in the 2019 Miami Open, the second seed Simona Halep takes on the crowd favourite Venus Williams.

The two have faced each other six times in the past, with the head to head all square at 3-3. However, the rivalry has been dominated by the Romanian in recent years. Venus won their first three matches, the last of which was at the 2013 Tokyo Open.

Since then, however, Halep has not only won all her matches against Venus but has also not allowed the American to take a single set off her. In fact, the American has not even managed to win more than three games in any of those sets!

Their most recent meeting was at the third round of this year’s Australian Open, where Halep trounced Venus in a rather one-sided affair. However, their upcoming match promises to be a much closer affair.

Venus may not have had the best of seasons so far, but she has played tennis from the top drawer in some of her more recent matches and has certainly looked impressive in Miami. She was especially dominant in her straight-sets win against Daria Kasatkina.

After the match began on an even keel, with both players getting broken repeatedly, Venus came into her own and bossed the match in the latter stages. A major reason for her victory was her superior first serve win percentage when compared to that of the Russian.

However, a lowly 25% second serve win percentage is something that she would like to improve on against the highest remaining seed in the tournament, who happens to be one of the best returners in the WTA circuit at present.

Miami Open 2019 - Day 7
Miami Open 2019 - Day 7

Halep has not had it easy thus far in this tournament. She barely managed to get past the Slovenian Polona Hercog in her second match of the tournament. Having lost the first set, she edged out Hercog in the second-set tiebreak before proving her mettle in the third set.

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But the closeness of that encounter cannot be attributed to poor play by Halep; rather, it was the high-quality tennis produced by Hercog that contributed to this tense encounter. Halep served really well in the match and would look to do even better against Venus.

Current form and their recent head to head record certainly give the edge to the Romanian, however, there is every chance that this match turns out to be a highly competitive one, unlike their last three one-sided encounters.

Prediction: Simona Halep to win in 3 Sets

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