Mar 23, 2021

2021 Miami Open WTA Round One Tuesday Matches

Miami. Privileged idiots wasting their best years. Rampant coronavirus spread. Tanned instagram influencer wannabe’s as far as the eye can see. Braincells optional. Is it spring break? Or is it the ATP? The tour has been a puzzle the past few weeks, but an extremely entertaining one. Even with a few notable withdrawals from Djokovic and Nadal, this should be an interesting event. Jokes aside, running a professional tennis tournament during a quarantine in the city that is also hosting spring break is a bad decision, and I’m crossing my fingers that the tour makes it through this week without any major issues. The women’s matches are starting before the qualifiers are completed, so these are the ones slated for tomorrow. The full slate of ATP & WTA matches will be up late Tuesday night (EST) once all qualifier matches are completed. As usual, kuklachert is running the picking contest (free to enter and some small cash prizes) and we’ve been having some wild finishes the past few weeks. Feel free to join, or to silently judge me for shameless plugs : ) Both are good uses of the ‘ol tiempo.

Miami Open tipping competition
Krejcikova vs Blinkova :

Barbora, or B-Krej as she’s known in the Miami club scene, is one of the most enjoyable players on tour to watch win. Huge yet smooth swings make for a ton of accuracy and the ability to move the ball very well around the court. When she’s on, she’s almost as good as the top 10-20 range players on tour. With these big swings though, it’s possible to take her time away and make her struggle. She’s become a bit of a Fucsovics-like gatekeeper for that reason, as the top players can expose her slightly below average movement and hurry her on the forehand wing.

Blinkova has enjoyed a somewhat successful return to the tour, as most players take a few events to notch wins and she was able to right away, but in the few weeks after that she has struggled to cross the finish line. Currently she’s not in the best shape, and while she’s willing to hang in rallies for as long as it takes, this is a tough match. The good thing is Miami courts are a bit quick so her lack of power won’t leave her as helpless against Krejcikova, but it would be a surprising result if she beat Krejciokova via anything other than a B-Krej implosion. Krejcikova in 2 long sets.

Linette vs Montgomery :

There are times where a tiny bit of extra information is something I’d pay a lot of money for. That info here is Magda Linette’s health. Having not played on tour since October is a strange thing to note, and stranger still is the oddsmakers setting her 16 year old opponent as an even prospect against Linette. Linette’s game (when sharp), boasts a very aggressive serve and first strike game which tends to taper off late in the second, so her having played no tour-level matches in the past 5 months is an issue. Montgomery, on the other hand, has very little tour experience but has been playing tennis nonstop, and winning a number of moderately decent (150-200) level matches. In quick conditions and on home soil, I almost lean towards the player who’s been playing a ton of matches, and the prospect of another junior phenom is a welcome thought. Montgomery in 3.

McHale vs Siegemund :

If you rearrange the letters in Christina McHale you get Cheesy McNibblets, and if you rearrange Laura Siegemund you get Geese Mundo. So why wins? Silly snack cracker, or goose world? Tough question. Working against McHale is her recent record. The American hardcourt swing is usually one of the times where these fringe tour veterans rack up their points, but Laura Siegemund has been able to outwork enough opponents in recent history to get free of that lower-tier struggle. Working against her here is how similar her plan is to McHale’s. Both are very consistent from the baseline and use a lot of shape and depth to kinda bait their opponents into ill-advised counters.

Trends aside, this would be a close match depending on who plays better, and first rounds are minefields for results. Gasparyan’s amazing run last week came after barely winning a match for a few seasons. Kuznetsova struggles most of the year then turns into Superwoman at the St Petersburg event. Conditions and pressure are huge factors, and since these are all exceptional players, all matches are tight. That’s enough hedging in case Siegemund loses though. Siegemund in 3.

Cirstea vs Scott :

I’m ready to look dumb. Sorana Cirstea is one of the brightest offensive talents on tour when she’s in a rhythm. When she isn’t, she’s Pliskova levels of impatient. She’s had some bright points this year, but has looked suspect in spots. Katrina Scott is a player I’ve been excited about since watching her play Anisimova a few seasons ago. Her backhand is great, she redirects the ball great, and she has great lateral speed on the baseline. Her age is listed as 16, which is slightly odd since that was how old I thought the announcers said she was when I watched. Also odd is that she hasn’t really been winning a lot of matches, despite performing at an almost tour level ability in her wild-card appearances in the past. This is one where I can’t call the outright win for Scott as a result of this. I expect her to make at least one set close, as she can hang at this level, but it almost seems like she hasn’t been playing as much tennis as one would expect. Definitely a player to watch, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she caught Cirstea cold, but losing to some of the players she’s lost to recently (Hozumi/Zarazua) is not terribly inspiring. Cirstea in 2.

Peterson vs Wang :

Rebecca Peterson is steady, and Wang is coming off a nice run through qualifying at St. Petersburg. Peterson definitely sits as the favorite here, but she really hasn’t had a lot of convincing victories lately. Peterson in 3.

Podoroska vs Sherif :

Why tho? Podoroska has been overshadowed by a few Swiatek type stories, but she has had an amazing surge onto the tour and her game has a huge upside. She’s managed to get a lot better on hardcourt also, so it’s strange to see Mayar Sherif come in at a trappy +145 against Podoroska. Sherif is largely a player who thrives on outlasting her opponents and using weight of shot to earn errors. She’s coming in with a definite chance since Podoroska has managed to lose a few matches in a row recently, and to players a cut below Sherif, but I think Podoroska will have ample opportunities in the rallies to kinda gain control. Podoroska in 3.

Bouzkova vs Rus :

Bouskova had a good run in Guadalajara before losing to Sorribes Tormo, who really has had a great couple weeks. Rus played a very competitive match with Ann Li, but hasn’t won a lot of matches. Bouzkova isn’t the sort to really serve aces or put a match away quickly, so this should be close, but Rus may not be able to get over the finish line even if she’s close. Bouzkova in 2.

Diyas vs Williams :

Zarina Diyas is having a middling 2021, but a middling 2021 is better than her past few seasons. With a game that looks like it’s based on consistency, she tends to go very low over the net on a lot of her forehand offerings, and errors have cost her matches she had in hand. This should be one of those. A month ago I struggled to watch Venus Williams play injured against Sara Errani, and prior to that I didn’t exactly expect her to make too many more waves on tour. Venus’ mobility issues are something that you just can’t win with in professional tennis, and she’s kinda been able to beat offensive players here and there, and mostly lose to anyone who’s able to push her side to side. Diyas should be able to do that, and the real danger her is that Venus’ power and aggressive shot selection good benefit from the quick courts. Still, I don’t see given Williams’ last few seasons how Diyas won’t have at least a few chances to hit to the open court. Diyas in 2-3.

Kanepi vs Davis :

Davis vs Kanaiath is a famous tale as old as time or something like that. Kanepi should never really lose to Davis, and that’s what scares me most about this matchup. Davis (like so many players really) has struggled to notch wins on tour, but has had a resurgence in the past two weeks. She’s quick, keeps the ball in play, and as long as she isn’t overpowered, she’s adequate against most of the tour. The problem here, despite Kanepi’s “lose first round or wind up in the semis” tendencies, is that Kanepi’s serve is likely to get her a lot of good first-strike opportunities, and her defending is good enough that even if Davis gets off to a quick start Kanepi will have the opportunity to dig in and use her forehand to get further up the court where she can really do damage. Kanepi in 3.

Potapova vs Tomljanovic :

Potapova won their last meeting, and has a few more recent wins. Ajla is a fine player, but just seems a little bit wild during normal baseline rallies. Potapova in 2-3.

Rogers vs Brengle :

Shellllllllllbyyyyyyyyyy. It is getting the the point where Shelby Rogers will hit a career crossroads. Will she keep winning, or is her very linear very single-minded approach to tennis something that can be produced even when players know that’s her plan? A few great months and a chance to compete with the top players can leave you feeling very sharp, and playing on home soil and against a compatriot is a good spot. There has been in the past a huge lapse in concentration after such tour/financial success for players though, so it’s interesting to see how long Rogers keeps up this level of focus. Brengle is scrappy, but it’s likely Rogers in 2.

Teichmann vs Badosa :

This one is a headscratcher and if someone has info on Badosa’s health, that’d be helpful. Teichmann comes into this one as almost a 3:1 favorite, and it’s odd because she’s struggled specifically with consistent baseliners, and that is exactly what Badosa is. Teichmann is a traditional lefty who mainly attacks her opponents backhands and moves to net extremely well. If she’s not getting opportunities to do this, things can start to get a little impatient, and that is the risk here. Barring Badosa carrying a physical malady, I think this one will be close. Teichmann did reverse her result against Gauff which is a great sign for a developing player, but I don’t see this as a straightforward match. Badosa in 3.