Fixture: (7) Aryna Sabalenka vs (19) Marketa Vondrousova
Date: 29 March 2021
Tournament: Miami Open 2021
Round: Fourth Round (Round of 16)
Venue: Miami, Florida
Category: WTA 1000
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $3,260,190
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Eurosport
Aryna Sabalenka vs Marketa Vondrousova preview
7th seed Aryna Sabalenka will lock horns with 19th seed Marketa Vondrousova in the fourth round of the 2021 Miami Open on Monday.
On Saturday, Sabalenka ousted Veronika Kudermetova in straight sets, winning 7-6(4), 6-4. Vondrousova, meanwhile, got the better of the in-form Belinda Bencic 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
The big-hitting Sabalenka has displayed nerves of steel in Miami so far. She saved match points in her opener against Tsvetana Pironkova, and a set point in the opening set (she even trailed 3-5 at one stage) against Kudermetova.
Even though Sabalenka hasn’t played the most consistent tennis, she has brought out her best shots at just the right moments. The 22-year-old’s ability to paint the lines, especially when she is under pressure, has been second to none at the Floridian event so far.
That said, Sabalenka would probably be more than a little concerned with her serve. The Belarusian coughed up five double faults in the early going against Kudermetova, which almost cost her the first set.
Marketa Vondrousova also overcame a slow start against Belinda Bencic, courtesy of some superb returning. Even though Bencic was striking the ball well, Voundrousova repeatedly managed to send it back with interest, often finding the tightest of angles on her crosscourt returns.
Aryna Sabalenka vs Marketa Vondrousova head-to-head
Marketa Vondrousova leads Aryna Sabalenka 2-1 in the head-to-head.
The duo have played each other twice on hardcourts and once on grass, with Sabalenka emerging victorious on the latter.
That said, Sabalenka and Vondrousova have not played each other since 2018.
Aryna Sabalenka vs Marketa Vondrousova prediction
One of Aryna Sabalenka’s biggest strengths is her ball-striking ability. The power she generates off the ground helps her turn around matches even on a bad day.
But Marketa Vondrousova’s ability to nullify her opponents' power with spin and guile could stand her in good stead.
The key battle in this fixture will likely be between the Czech’s lefty forehand and Sabalenka’s backhand. Vondrousova's deep, angular crosscourt returns could help take the Belarusian wide of the tramlines, thus opening up the court for easy putaways.
The slow court and humid conditions in Miami will only make things trickier for Sabalenka, as hitting through the 21-year-old will not be easy.
Vondrousova’s stubborn defense could elicit plenty of errors from the trigger-happy Sabalenka. Given that the Belarusian has been far from fluent in Miami so far, she will have to bring forth her best tennis to emerge victorious on Monday.
Prediction: Marketa Vondrousova to win in three sets.