Fixture: (14) Victoria Azarenka vs (24) Angelique Kerber
Date: 27 March 2021
Tournament: Miami Open 2021
Round: Third Round (Round of 32)
Venue: Miami, Florida
Category: WTA 1000
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $3,340,000
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Europsort
Victoria Azarenka vs Angelique Kerber preview
Having recovered from a back injury, a well-rested Azarenka has come to this high-profile Floridian event looking to lift the trophy for a whopping fourth time. Her three title wins at the Miami Open in the past prove her comfort level on this surface as well as her ability to handle the humid conditions.
Azarenka would be hoping to continue her momentum after having made the semi-finals at the Qatar Open, and this is the best place for her to do that.
The Belarusian didn't have to take the court in her opening match at Miami as Laura Siegemund gave her a walkover. Needless to say, the two-time Grand Slam champion will be raring to go now.
Next up for her is Angelique Kerber, in what will be a battle of two former World No. 1s. A lot has happened since Kerber beat Azarenka at the 2016 Australian Open. The southpaw won three Slams from 2016-2018, and also added the coveted top ranking to her resume.
However, Kerber has been a pale shadow of herself for quite some time now. The 33-year-old hasn't reached a final on the WTA tour for nearly two years, and has been struggling to beat lower-ranked players.
Kerber's only noteworthy result has so far in 2021 has been a quarterfinal appearance at the Grampians Trophy. That said, the World No. 26 did show flashes of brilliance in her 6-0, 6-0 drubbing of Renata Zarazua in the first round at Miami on Thursday.
Victoria Azarenka vs Angelique Kerber head-to-head
Victoria Azarenka leads Angelique Kerber by a huge margin of 8-1 in their head-to-head. The only time the German was able to beat Azarenka was at the 2016 Australian Open, a tournament that she went on to win.
Their last meeting was at Monterrey in 2019, where Azarenka emerged a 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 winner.
Victoria Azarenka vs Angelique Kerber prediction
Victoria Azarenka has been a bad matchup for Angelique Kerber throughout their careers. Azarenka's aggression and accuracy on her groundstrokes have made Kerber's life difficult numerous times. Moreover, Kerber's sub-par serve has given Azarenka plenty of chances to take control of the proceedings with her brilliant return.
That said, Kerber plays a strong defensive game, which involves a lot of rallies. She knows how to elongate the points, and would look to employ her tried-and-tested tactics against Azarenka in a bid to tire the Belarusian out.
With Azarenka not having played a single match at Miami so far, Kerber might have the initial advantage as she has already got a taste of the conditions. But once Azarenka gets into the groove, the German might not get many opportunities to dictate terms.
Prediction: Victoria Azarenka to win in straight sets.