Date: 25 April 2021
Tournament: Porsche Tennis Grand Prix 2021
Venue: Stuttgart, Germany
Category: WTA 500
Prize money: $565,530
Match timing: 2 pm local time, 5.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Eurosport
Ashleigh Barty vs Aryna Sabalenka preview
Top seed and World No. 1 Asheligh Barty takes on fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka in the final of the Porche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart on Sunday.
Barty has been brilliant in Stuttgart so far, despite having been handed a relatively complicated draw. After defeating Laura Siegemund in routine fashion, Barty met Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals, against whom she prevailed in three sets.
The Aussie then fought off another scare in the semifinal against Elina Svitolina. Barty was down a set and a break at one stage, but she showed incredible resolve to turn the tide and grind out a 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 win.
Aryna Sabalenka, meanwhile, has continued the strong run of form that she has displayed over the last six months.
The Belarusian got off to a quick start at Stuttgart, beating Shuai Zhang and Anna-Lena Friedsam in straight sets. But Sabalenka did have some trouble against Anett Kontaveit in the quarterfinals, whom she beat in a hard-fought three-setter.
The 22-year-old then pulled off one of her most impressive results of the year in the semifinals on Saturday. Sabalenka thrashed second seed and former French Open champion Simona Halep 6-3 6-2, to set up a mouth-watering final against Barty.
Ashleigh Barty vs Aryna Sabalenka head-to-head
The final in Stuttgart is the seventh match between Ashleigh Barty and Aryna Sabalenka, and their head-to-head currently stands at a 3-3 deadlock.
The pair met just last month in the quarterfinals of the Miami Open, which Barty won in three sets. The Australian also got the better of her opponent in the first round at the 2018 Australian Open, and the second round of the 2019 Fed Cup.
Sabalenka, on the other hand, defeated Barty at Wuhan in both 2018 and 2019. The Belarusian also prevailed over her opponent at Zhuhai in 2018.
Ashleigh Barty vs Aryna Sabalenka prediction
Ashleigh Barty is looking to win her third title of the year, and in the process consolidate her World No. 1 ranking. The Australian has used her variety and touch expertly this week, to both take control of proceedings and fight her way out of tough spots.
Barty's shot selection has been the key to her success on all surfaces, and her kick serve has yielded particularly strong results on the clay courts of Stuttgart.
Aryna Sabalenka, on her part, has an all-out-attack style of play, replete with big groundstrokes off both wings. The Belarusian has kept her error-count relatively low this week, and has also shown improved movement on what is not her favoured surface.
The final is a blockbuster in the making, with Barty's finesse clashing with Sabalenka's power. But if the Australian is able to disrupt Sabalenka's rhythm from the baseline with her variety, she might have a slight edge.
Prediction: Ashleigh Barty to win in three sets.