The Pick: Angelique Kerber vs. Victoria Azarenka, WTA Miami

The Pick: Angelique Kerber vs. Victoria Azarenka, WTA Miami

On the heels of a dominant 6-0, 6-0, victory over Renata Zarazua Thursday, Angelique Kerber will hope to turn the tide against Victoria Azarenka in the third round of the Miami Open.

Angelique Kerber showed no mercy in her 6-0, 6-0, demolition of Renata Zarazua on Thursday. The German consumed her fifth career double-bagel, and her first since 2015. The performance was a welcome sign of life from the recently struggling Kerber, who hasn’t won a WTA title since the 2018 Wimbledon Championships. 

Her reward? A ninth meeting with Victoria Azarenka. Judging by her 1-8 record, the Belarusian has been Kerber’s kryptonite throughout their storied careers. Azarenka is a heavy -335 favorite and projected to win by 4.5 total games, per DraftKings Sportsbook. 

While Azarenka is understandably a heavy favorite, one has to wonder what the line would be had Kerber not decimated Zarazua in such convincing fashion. From a betting perspective, it comes down to whether Kerber’s performance was a flash in the pan, or a sign of things to come. 

Kerber’s lone victory came in the 2016 Australian Open quarterfinals, where she outclassed Azarenka with stunning shots like this. 

But for the most part, Azarenka’s ability to dictate points from start to finish has troubled the German. When two phenomenal players meet, the more aggressive player is typically rewarded. Down break point at 5-4 in the second in the 2016 Miami Open final, Azarenka’s aggression paid dividends. 

It’s in Kerber’s best interest to force Azarenka to defend. It’s easier said than done, but Kerber’s unique ability to manufacture sharp angles is effective no matter the opponent. 

According to UTR, Azarenka (No. 15 in the latest WTA rankings) has a significant advantage, and is currently rated the sixth best player in the world, while Kerber is far off the pace at No. 86. The market appears to have this matchup fairly priced, but Kerber’s opening-round performance likely tilted the scales in Azarenka’s favor. Look for the 31-year-old to win in convincing fashion. 

The Pick: Victoria Azarenka to win by 4.5 games