The 13th-ranked Victoria Azarenka will have a tough challenge in the form of USA’s Jessica Pegula in front of her in the first round of the 2021 Australian Open on Monday, February 8, with the match likely to begin at around 10 am local time (11 pm BST or 6 pm Eastern Time previous day). Get the live streaming options of this Victoria Azarenka v Jessica Pegula match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Victoria Azarenka v Jessica Pegula Head to Head
No previous competitive matches have been played between these two players.
Azarenka Hoping to Continue 2020 Form
The former world number one went through a batallion of off-court issues between 2016, when she last won a WTA title and 2020, when she finally looked more at peace on the court than she ever had in that time-frame.
And that translated into a solid 2020 season in which she won 18 and lost just six matches, finally clinching a title after four years of wilderness. That came as a surprise to most because just prior to that tournament, Azarenka hadn’t won a single match all year – losing in the first round of the two WTA tournaments she had played.
That title in the Cincinnati Open was followed by another solid run till the the final of the US Open where she defeated Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek, Karolina Muchova, Elise Mertens and Serena Williams to reach the title-decider.
A final at the Ostrava Open nicely wrapped up her season and with a fighting second round win over the tricky Yulia Putintseva in the second round in the Grampains Trophy in Melbourne, Azarenka looks like she has pushed the quarantine-related issues out of her system.
She does start off with a stiff opponent against her first but has shown to be up to most challenges in recent times.
Pegula Putting up Decent Shows Recently
Not so long ago, in 2018, Pegula was ranked 624th in the world. A consistent run all of that season – while not winning a single title – helped the American end the year on 111th on the WTA rankings, and from there, she broke into the top 100 when she won her maiden, and only tournament victory in Washington.
Pegula began the 2020 season with a final at the Auckland Open to boot and later, post the pandemic break, the American also pulled through to the quarterfinals of the Cincinnati Open after starting out as a qualifier. A third round appearance at the 2020 US Open was her career best ever, having only made it past the first round of a Grand Slam once before this.
The world number 64th started out with a first round loss at the hands of Elina Svitolina at the Abu Dhabi Open and the made it to the third round at the Yarra Valley Classic before losing to Sofia Kenin.
While Pegula isn’t a pushover, overcoming the world number 13 will need her to overcome top odds and that might be rather difficult.
Azarenka v Pegula Prediction and Tip
Azarenka is 4/11 to win this and 5/6 to do that in straight sets. Backing the in-form Belarusian to clinch it in two.
Tip: Azarenka to win in straight sets: 5/6 (bet365)