Fixture: (20) Ons Jabeur vs (15) Elise Mertens
Date: 3 September 2021
Tournament: US Open 2021
Round: Third round (Round of 32)
Venue: New York, United States
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $40,560,000
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel & ESPN | UK - BBC TV & Radio | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP
Ons Jabeur vs Elise Mertens preview
The third round of the 2021 US Open will see a clash of contrasting styles of tennis as Elise Merterns takes on the crafty Ons Jabeur on Friday.
Jabeur opened her campaign with a hard-fought win over Alize Cornet, prevailing in two tight sets 7-5, 7-5. She then peaked in her second-round encounter, dropping just one game en route to a win over talented youngster Maria Camila Osorio Serrano.
The Tunisinan will now look to carry her good form deeper into the tournament, but faces a tough opponent next in the form of Elise Mertens.
Merterns made quite the start to her 2021 campaign in New York, saving multiple match points against Sweden's Rebecca Peterson. The Belgian showed incredible fighting skills to eventually close out the match 7-6(5) in the third after 3 hours and 40 minutes of play, tying the record for the longest women's match at the US Open.
Mertens had a much easier time in her second-round match against Greek qualifier Valentini Grammatikopoulou, winning in straight sets.
Ons Jabeur vs Elise Mertens preview, head-to-head
This is set to be the first career meeting between Ons Jabeur and Elise Mertens Alcaraz, so their current head-to-head stands at a 0-0 deadlock.
Ons Jabeur vs Elise Mertens prediction
The gap in their rankings notwithstanding, Ons Jabeur will enter this contest as the favorite. The 27-year-old has been in fine form leading up to the US Open, having staged strong runs - that featured dominant victories over Iga Swiatek and Bianca Andreescu - in Cincinnati and Montreal.
Her first two matches in New York would have further filled Jabeur with confidence. She struggled slightly with her serve against Cornet, but was absolutely ruthless in her win over Osorio Serrano.
Jabeur's forehand and serve have been her standout shots so far, but she has also mixed in plenty of variety to keep her opponents on the run.
Mertens on the other hand didn't have the best preparation for the US Open, but the Belgian has a splendid record in New York. Her strong baseline-oriented game has often troubled opponents on the hardcourts of Flushing Meadows, and she is not going to give too many free points to Jabeur.
First serve numbers will be key for the Belgian, as her opponent enjoys taking big cuts at the ball. More importantly though, Mertens will have to step inside the baseline during the rallies and be aggressive - something she has made a conscious effort of doing lately - or else she risks being blown away by Jabeur's firepower.
Prediction: Ons Jabeur to win in three sets.