Top-seeded Ashleigh Barty and fifth-seed Elina Svitolina are set for a big-time battle in the semifinals of the 2021 Miami Open on Thursday afternoon.
The top-ranked player on the women’s WTA Tour, Barty will look to get the win and take another step toward repeating as the defending champ in South Beach.
Svitolina is one of the very best players in the women’s game even. She’s looking to get the upset in order to take another step toward winning her fifth WTA Premier 1000 title.
Barty is the WTA Odds favorite, but Svitolina is dangerous with a capital ‘D’. Now, let’s find out who’s going to get the win to advance to the finals.
No. 1 Ashleigh Barty vs. No. 5 Elina Svitolina
When: Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. ET
Ashleigh Barty -200
Elina Svitolina +170
Barty Looking To Put Lock On No. 1 Ranking
The top-seeded Ashleigh Barty is guaranteed to leave Miami with her No. 1 ranking intact after Naomi Osaka got upset in the quarters on Wednesday. Now, the feisty Australian will look to put a lock on that ranking by getting past Svitolina.
The 24-year-old Barty went the distance against Karolina Muchova in her opener before dispatching Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-2 in the Round of 32. Barty then put away No. 14 seed Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 on Monday. The top-seed and 2019 French Open champion then got past dangerous No. 7 seed Aryna Sabalenka 6-4, 6-7 (7), 6-4 in the quarterfinals on Tuesday. Now, Barty is preparing to take down a player that shews well but has struggled against in Elina Svitolina.
“Obviously against Svitolina we have had some exceptional battles in big tournaments,” Barty said recently. “ I think that test will be no different, another big match. She’s figured her way out through this draw very well.”
Svitolina Puts ‘D’ in Dangerous
The fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina dispatched Shelby Rogers in three sets in her opener before bouncing Ekaterina Alexandrova in two sets in her next match. Svitolina, fifth in the WTA Tour rankings, beat No. 9 Petra Kvitova 6-2, 7-5, 7-5 on Monday to reach the quarters before smacking Anastasija Sevastova around in straight sets 6-3, 6-2 on Tuesday just as I predicted.
Tied at 3-3 in the first set, Svitolina caught fire to win seven straight games to finish off her opponent. The Ukrainian recorded 19 winners and converted six of seven break points in the match. Now, Svitolina will look to extract some revenge against Barty to extend her dominance over the World No. 1.
Svitolina Is The Upset Special
While I’m disappointed that Elina Svitolina has yet to win a major, I’m taking the 26-year-old to get the ‘upset special’ win as a value-packed +165 underdog.
These two WTA Tour superstars have met six times with Svitolina winning the first five matchups, including a straight-sets win in the Round of 16 in the 2018 Miami Open. Barty managed to get her first win by beating Svitolina 6-4, 6-3 in the WTA Tour Finals in Shenzhen in 2019.
“For sure the match in Shenzhen was extremely tough for me,” Svitolina said after beating Anastasija Sevastova to advance. “I hate losing finals, and especially Shenzhen Finals, it’s a huge event. I wanted to defend my title. So it was extremely tough for me to lose that one, and hopefully, I can play better and get the revenge.
This is a matchup where Elina Svitolina won’t be nervous one iota and knows just what to do in order to beat her opponent. I know Ash Barty is not the same player she was when these two met three times in 2017, but Elina Svitolina has plenty of games and I believe she still has time to win a major. I’m going with the underdog Svitolina to get the huge win.
Pick: Elina Svitolina +170