World number 83 Nao Hibino will be up against Mexican qualifier and 147th-ranked Renata Zarazua in the first round of the 2021 Miami Open on Wednesday, March 24. Get the live streaming options of this Nao Hibino v Renata Zarazua match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Nao Hibino v Renata Zarazua Head to Head
There have been no previous matches played between Hibino and Zarazua.
Hibino on a Four-Match Losing Streak
After ending the previous season on a high with a semifinal appearance at the Strasbourg Open and then winning a match at the French Open, Hibino would have expected herself to get going early this year. Especially for a player who has done well on hard court surfaces as compared to the clays of Roland-Garros and Strasbourg.
That’s not how the script has gone for Hibino though.
She started off the year with a win over Astra Sharma at the Australian Open but things have all gone downhill since. Hibino lost in the second round at the year’s first major, going down in straight sets to Kristina Mladenovic and then followed it up with first round losses at the Phillip Island Trophy, Guadalajara Open and Monterrey Open where Varvara Lepchenko, Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and Jasmine Paolini got the better of her in as many matches.
Hibino would still back herself to do well on the hard court surfaces of Miami, especially starting out against a qualifier who has never been ranked in the top 140 but would do well to not think the work’s already done.
Zarazua Mixing Between ITF and WTA Tours
When you are ranked as low as Zarazua is, at 147th in the world, you have to find yourself a path of least resistance to try and break into the top 100 and make qualification for Grand Slams easier. Zarazua looks to have found her way to break into the top 150, having hit a season low of 271 last year, but the question is if she can plough through to make that top 100.
A win in the main draw of the Guadalajara Open would have helped but with no other WTA performance to write home about, it does seem like Zarazua will need to find those answers quickly enough.
A qualification for this Miami Open main draw could be a starting point, especially because it is a first time for her, but more so because it came after wins over the likes of Astra Sharma and Viktoria Kuzmova, both players ranked higher than her.
Can she now usurp a top-100 player in her quest to add vital ranking points?
Hibino v Zarazua Prediction and Tip
This is an interesting one with Hibino starting out a second favourite at 11/8. Her form might not be the brightest but her preference for hard court surfaces makes her a tough opponent in this one, and a games handicap looks like a good option in her favour.
Tip: Games Handicap Hibino +3.5: 4/5 (bet365)