Before each day's play at the 2021 Miami Open, we'll preview three matches to look out for.
This should be a fun first-time encounter. Swiatek was cooled off by a red-hot Garbine Muguruza two weeks ago in Dubai, but before that, had gone on a 9-1 stretch. Following a three-set loss to Simona Halep in the round of 16 at the Australian Open, the 19-year-old dropped just 20 games over five matches to win Adelaide, her first title since triumphing last fall at Roland Garros.
For Krecjikova, she arrived in Miami on the back of contesting her biggest WTA singles final in Dubai, where she held set point on Muguruza before going down in a close two-setter. A lot is rightfully said about Swiatek’s ball-striking abilities and execution with changing pace, but the Czech’s smooth strokes and rock-solid hands at the net shouldn’t be overlooked. All in all, it should be a great match-up of forehand and exchanges, and a willingness from both sides to improvise as the clash unfolds.
When these two last met, Svitolina notched her second straight win over the American after taking their third-round meeting at the 2017 US Open. Rogers comes in with plenty of reason to think this time around might be different, thanks in part to racking up 10 hard-court wins thus far in 2021. She has the firepower to take control against most opponents, though maintaining it against one of the best in the world, and someone with tremendous movement and consistency, is the question mark.
Svitolina will look to avoid becoming the fourth Top 10 opponent to fall to Rogers by bouncing back from consecutive losses to Victoria Azarenka (in Doha) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (in Dubai). The owner of four 1000-level titles, Miami is one of the Ukrainian’s least successful events on this stage: the world No. 5 holds a 9-6 career mark there, with just one quarterfinal appearance to her name.
At we’ve seen throughout the past two years, Gauff is a quick study and a competitor prepared to do the homework. What did she learn from her first first-round loss at a major, at the 2020 US Open? We’ll find out when she gets a rematch with Sevastova, whose strong history at Flushing Meadows may have played into her favor last summer.
Having played behind closed doors in New York, this South Florida contest should give Gauff, a resident of Delray Beach, the benefit of a home advantage with a modest fan presence on the Grandstand. The 17-year-old is on a 6-2 run, enough to propel her to the No. 31 seed two years after winning her WTA main-draw debut here. Sevastova could profit from getting a match under her belt, though went the distance against Olga Danilovic Wednesday—ultimately surviving 7-6 in the third.