Fixture: (9) Belinda Bencic [SUI] vs Jessica Pegula [USA]
Date: 24 July 2021
Tournament: Olympics 2021
Round: First round (Round of 64)
Venue: Ariake Tennis Park, Tokyo, Japan
Category: Olympic Games
Surface: Outdoor hard
Match timing: Approx. 3 pm local time, 6 am GMT, 2 am ET, 11.30 am IST
Live telecast: USA - NBC & Peacock TV | UK - BBC TV | India - Sony Sports Network/ SonyLiv
Jessica Pegula vs Belinda Bencic preview
Ninth seed Belinda Bencic will take on Jessica Pegula in the first round of the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday. Both women are making their Olympic debuts this week in the Japanese capital.
Pegula is enjoying the best season of her career. The American broke into the top 30 for the first time earlier this year, peaking at No. 25.
She has secured six top-10 wins so far in 2021, with five of those coming against former World No.1s, Karolina Pliskova and Naomi Osaka. Pegula also made her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the 2021 Australian Open.
The 27-year-old American has never represented her country in an international competition before, so she will look to put her best foot forward in Tokyo.
Belinda Bencic, meanwhile, has blown hot and cold this year. Apart from a run to the final in Adelaide and Berlin, she has struggled to make much of an impact.
Unlike Pegula, this won't be the first time Bencic will be representing her country. She was part of Switzerland's Billie Jean King Cup team in 2012 at the age of 14, and has since featured in three other editions. She also won the now obsolete Hopman Cup twice, partnering Swiss maestro Roger Federer.
Jessica Pegula vs Belinda Bencic head-to-head
The duo's sole meeting came in Rosmalen in 2015, when Belinda Bencic clinched a straight-sets victory over Jessica Pegula. Hence, their head-to-head stands at 1-0 in favor of the Swiss.
Jessica Pegula vs Belinda Bencic prediction
Both Jessica Pegula and Belinda Bencic like to play aggressive tennis from the baseline. While Bencic hits a heavier ball, Pegula is much more consistent and does not leak too many errors.
However, Pegula's second serve is quite shaky and that's an area the Swiss will look to exploit.
But what Pegula lacks on serve, she more than makes up for on return. She gets plenty of returns back into play and is efficient on break points. Her 4-0 head-to-head record against one of the biggest servers on the women's tour, Karolina Pliskova, this year is a testament to her returning abilities.
Bencic and Pegula have come a long way since their last meeting six years ago and this will be a fresh challenge for both. This match could go down to the wire, with Pegula emerging with a narrow win.
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Prediction: Jessica Pegula to win in three sets.