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US Open 2020: Elise Mertens vs Caty McNally preview, head-to-head & prediction

Elise Mertens hits a forehand
Elise Mertens hits a forehand
Rudra Biswas
ANALYST
Modified 05 Sep 2020, 09:17 IST
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Match details

Fixture: Elise Mertens vs Caty McNally

Date: 5 September 2020

Tournament: US Open 2020

Round: Third round (Round of 32)

Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York, USA

Category: Grand Slam

Surface: Outdoor hardcourt

Prize money: $39,024,000

Match timing: 1 pm EDT, 10.30 pm IST

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Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN | India - Star Sports & Disney+ Hotstar VIP

Elise Mertens vs Caty McNally preview

Caty McNally
Caty McNally

World No. 18 Elise Mertens is aiming to reach a second consecutive quarterfinal at Flushing Meadows, but she won't have it easy against the unseeded Caty McNally in the 2020 US Open third round.

Mertens has been in some fine form this year, having compiled an impressive 21-8 win-loss record so far. The Belgian was on a good run before the break, but has shown no post-hiatus rust at all.

Mertens reached the final of the WTA event at Prague, where she lost to World No. 2 Simona Halep. That gave her plenty of confidence heading into the Western & Southern Open, where she made it to the semifinals before being beaten by Naomi Osaka in straight sets.

The Belgian has continued to play well at the US Open, as evidenced by her second round victory over Sara Sorribes Tomo. Mertens showed some terrific footwork in her match, moving fluidly on the court and also timing her groundstrokes with precision.

But the going will get tougher for Mertens from here on, as she will have to get past the talented Caty McNally to stay alive at the New York Slam.

McNally was a top player on the junior circuit before she turned pro, having reached the girls' singles final at the 2018 French Open. The transition to the professional tour has not been easy for the American though; McNally had lost four of her last five matches before entering the 2020 US Open.

The World No. 124 is still one of the young players to look out for though, and she vindicated that claim further yesterday with a gritty three-set win over World No. 29 Ekaterina Alexandrova. The 18-year-old was forced to come back from a set down against her Russian opponent, and she did so with aplomb to reach her maiden US Open third round.

Elise Mertens vs Caty McNally head-to-head

Elise Mertens hits a backhand
Elise Mertens hits a backhand

The head-to-head between Elise Mertens and Caty McNally currently stands at 1-0 in favor of Mertens. The 24-year-old defeated her younger, less experienced opponent in the first round of the Western & Southern Open last year.

Elise Mertens vs Caty McNally prediction

Caty McNally prepares to serve
Caty McNally prepares to serve

Elise Mertens is an out-and-out baseline player, and has consistent groundstrokes off both wings. The Belgian likes to take the ball on the rise and redirect her shots with weight, rather than going for big cuts.

The young Caty McNally, on the other hand, has a much more varied and tricky game. The American is unpredictable in her style of play and constantly tries to mix things up with her backhand slice.

But while there is variety in McNally's game, her backhand is severely underpowered compared to that of her Belgian opponent. This will be one of the flaws that Mertens will look to exploit in their third round match.

Prediction: Elise Mertens to win in three sets.

Published 05 Sep 2020, 01:53 IST
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