Fixture: (1) Ashleigh Barty vs Carla Suarez Navarro
Date: 29 June 2021
Tournament: The Championships, Wimbledon
Round: First Round (Round of 128)
Venue: London, Great Britain
Category: Grand Slam
Prize money: £17,066,000
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - BBC TV & Radio | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar
Ashleigh Barty vs Carla Suarez Navarro preview
Top seed Ashleigh Barty will meet tour veteran Carla Suarez Navarro in her first-round match at Wimbledon 2021. In the absence of defending champion Simona Halep, the All England Club has decided to give Barty the honor of opening proceedings on Centre Court on Tuesday.
Both Barty and Suarez Navarro opted out of the warm-up tournaments leading up to Wimbledon. Hence, they come into this first-round encounter with no official grass-court matches under their belt.
Barty is also playing her first match since her second-round retirement at Roland Garros due to a shoulder injury.
After almost a year-long hiatus due to the pandemic, Barty's start to 2021 was seriously impressive. The 2019 Roland Garros champion has made four finals already this year, winning three of them.
Barty's best result at the All England Club came two years ago, when she made the fourth round. She would be keen to improve on that in the 2021 edition of the tournament.
Suarez Navarro, meanwhile, beat cancer earlier this year and announced that 2021 would be the final season of her career. She played the first match of her comeback at the French Open earlier this month, where she went down fighting in three sets against Sloane Stephens.
Playing in her 11th Wimbledon main draw, the Spaniard has reached the fourth round thrice. Needless to say, she will be hoping to make her final appearance at SW19 a memorable one.
Ashleigh Barty vs Carla Suarez Navarro head-to-head
This will be the first meeting between Ashleigh Barty and Carla Suarez Navarro, so their head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Ashleigh Barty vs Carla Suarez Navarro prediction
The lack of grasscourt match practice prior to this encounter might make both Ashleigh Barty and Carla Suarez Navarro struggle in the early going. They would need to adapt to the grass quickly if they hope to reap the benefits out of their instinctive playing styles.
Ashleigh Barty's game has often been hailed as ideal for quick grasscourt conditions. She has a variety of shots in her arsenal along with remarkable court coverage, both of which are assets on the surface.
Despite being just five foot five, the Aussie also has a very strong serve. In fact, she currently leads the WTA tour in the ace count for the year.
Moreover, Barty's impressive control over her backhand slice allows her to defuse the power of even the most hard-hitting of players.
Suarez Navarro will look to take control of the rallies with her topspin forehand, and move the top seed around with her versatile single-handed backhand. But Barty isn't known to leak too many unforced errors, so the Spaniard will have to find a way to win points on her terms instead of merely elongating them.
Although Suarez Navarro will leave everything on the court on Tuesday, Barty's form this year and her grass-suiting game might turn the match in her favor.
Prediction: Ashleigh Barty to win in straight sets.