Is world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty set to go back-to-back in South Beach?
Will the feisty Australian make it to the semifinals?
Could an unheralded but dangerous contender like Maria Sakkari upset the entire apple cart or will the face of the women’s game today, 2021 Australian Open champion. Naomi Osaka get the big Premier 1000 win?
With the WTA Tour portion of the 2021 Miami Open rolling into the second round, let’s take a look at what lies ahead as we get set for the semifinal round.
Big-Time Battle Brewing
No. 1 Ashley Barty vs. No. 7 Aryna Sabalenka
When: Tuesday, March 30 at 1 p.m. ET
Ashley Barty -110
Aryna Sabalenka -110
The defending champ in Miami and world No. 1 is looking great right now. 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.
No. 7 seed Aryna Sabalenka presents a real challenge. The Belarusian got past veteran Tsvetana Pironkova in a marathon three-setter that went 7-6 (11) in the third set. Sabalenka, eighth in the WTA Tour rankings, beat Veronika Kudermetova 6 and 4 before getting past Marketa Vondrousova 6-1, 6-2 on Monday.
Sabalenka is up 3-2 in five head-to-head meetings. Sabalenka won the last meeting 7-5, 6-4 in Wuhan in 2019. The first seven sets over three matches featured two tie-breakers and five identical 6-4 scores. This one will be another street brawl, but I’m going with Barty, who has the edge when it comes to keeping composure.
Pick: Ash Barty in 3 Sets
If you love the men’s game and you’re fired up as the ATP Portion heads into its finals, check out these Miami Open odds.
Anastasija Sevastova vs. No. 5 Elina Svitolina
Svitolina Looks Like Value-Packed Pick
When: Tuesday, March 30 at 6 p.m. ET
Anastasija Sevastova +210
Elina Svitolina -250
Total: 20 1/2
Anastasija Sevastova needed three sets to win both of her first two matches in Miami before getting a fortunate walkover against No. 3 seed Simona Halep in the Round of 32 on Saturday. Sevastova got past the unheralded Ana Konjuh 6-1, 7-5 on Monday.
I believe the WTA Tour Props Odds for this match are offering a ton of value.
Elina Svitolina took out Shelby Rogers in three sets in her opener before dispatching 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 Mn=Monday to reach the quarters.
Svitolina owns a 2-1 career edge against Sevastova, winning the last meeting in three sets in Beijing in 2019. I’m going with the world No. 5 to get it done again, seeing as how she’s hungry and is easily the more experienced player in this matchup. Svitolina already has four wins in WTA Premier events and looks like a legit challenger to claim the crown in Miami.
More In Store – Including Osaka
On Wednesday, March 31, No. 23 Maria Sakkari takes on Osaka and Bianca Andreescu battles the unheralded Sara Sorribes Tormo. Osaka is a -400 favorite to get the win, but Sakkari is a player that I love. She might go down, the Over 20 games could be a great pick. I have no idea why Bianca Andreescu is a modest -270 pick to win, but she is undoubtedly the right pick. Stay tuned as we get set for Saturday’s finals.