Fixture: (2) Naomi Osaka vs Ajla Tomljanovic
Date: 25 March 2021
Tournament: Miami Open 2021
Round: Second Round (Round of 64)
Venue: Miami, Florida
Category: WTA 1000
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $3,260,190
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Eurosport
Naomi Osaka vs Ajla Tomljanovic preview
Naomi Osaka will kickstart her 2021 Miami Open campaign with a second-round encounter against Ajla Tomljanovic.
The Floridian event is one of the least successful tournaments of Osaka's hardcourt career; the Japanese has never made it to the second week at Miami. Her best showing at this tournament came in 2016 and 2019, when she made the third round.
Needless to say, Osaka will be eager to make amends and add the Miami title to an otherwise glittering hardcourt career. The four-time Slam champion is currently in the form of her life, with a winning streak of 21 matches.
During this remarkable run, Osaka has won the 2020 US Open as well as the recent Australian Open. In addition, she has also made the final of the 2020 Western & Southern Open and the semifinals of the 2021 Gippsland Trophy as well, highlighting her consistency.
The World No. 2 hasn't played on the tour since defeating Jennifer Brady in the Australian Open final. But given her prowess on hardcourts, it is unlikely that she will need much time to acclimatize to the conditions.
Ajla Tomljanovic, on the other hand, is currently in the middle of a slump. The Australian has lost 18 of her 25 matches since the beginning of 2020, including five out of eight this year.
The last time Tomljanovic won back-to-back matches on the tour was all the way back in September 2019, when she made the semis of the Zhengzhou Open. But the 27-year-old will take some confidence from her 7-5, 6-0 Miami Open first-round win against the highly-rated youngster Anastasia Potapova.
Potapova fought back from a 1-4 deficit in the opening set to earn herself three set points. However, Tomljanovic held her nerve and broke the youngster again before serving out the set successfully. There was no looking back for the Australian from there.
Naomi Osaka vs Ajla Tomljanovic head-to-head
Naomi Osaka and Ajla Tomljanovic have never played each other on the tour before, which is why their current head-to-head stands at 0-0.
Naomi Osaka vs Ajla Tomljanovic prediction
This matchup is a classic David vs Goliath battle, with the odds heavily stacked against Ajla Tomljanovic.
The Australian can hit hard and deep off both wings, but struggles when an opponent employs a similar tactic against her. And Naomi Osaka's groundstrokes are as big as they can get.
We can expect Tomljanovic to struggle in the rallies, especially the longer ones, as her footwork and court-positioning can be suspect at times.
Prediction: Naomi Osaka to win in straight sets.