World number two Naomi Osaka will take on the 17th-ranked Elise Mertens in what will be a repeat of the Gippsland Trophy match from earlier this season which wasn’t played in the end because of the Japanese player withdrawal. The match will be played in the fourth round of the 2021 Miami Open on Tuesday, March 30. Get the live streaming options of this Naomi Osaka v Elise Mertens match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Naomi Osaka v Elise Mertens Head to Head
Other than the aforementioned encounter at the Gippsland Trophy which was cancelled because Osaka withdrew from that encounter as she prepared for the Australian Open, these two players have been involved in three matches and Osaka leads 2-1.
Mertens had won in their very first encounter in Wuhan in 2017 but since then in the two matches they played at the 2019 Osaka Open and 2020 Cincinnati Open, the world number two came out trumps in straight sets.
Their previous match at the Cincinnati Open was a special one where Osaka first withdrew from the match to protest for social justice but was then convinced to play on and she went on to beat Mertens to get to the final. In the final, Osaka had to again withdraw from the match against Victoria Azarenka due to fitness issues.
Osaka Doesn’t Need to Take to Court
Nina Stojanovic might not have had too much of a chance against Osaka but it became all too easy for the Japanese world number two when her potential Serbian opponent withdrew from their third round match because of a thigh injury.
What it means is Osaka comes into her fourth round match against an in-form opponent having played just one match over the last five or so weeks. That came in the form of her second round win over Ajla Tomljanovic, where she looked slightly rusty to begin with but came through 7-6 (3), 6-4 to advance.
Osaka broke her opponent thrice but faced nine break-points of her and was broken twice among those.
Will she find it a touch difficult to find the rhythm that has served her so well in recent times or would she continue with her winning run that has seen her not lose a single match since the 2020 Australian Open?
Mertens Overturns Kontaveit Bagel
Mertens needed three sets and nearly two hours to get past Anett Kontaveit in her third round match but more vitally she needed to overturn a second set disaster to win the encounter.
Having taken a two-break advantage very early in the first set, Mertens maintained that for the rest of the set to take the lead, but then fell away dramatically in the second set. Despite earning herself a break-point early in the set, she then proceeded to lose the next three games on her own serve to be bagelled and suddenly looked out of sorts.
A hold to love for Kontaveit continued the momentum but what turned things around was Mertens then winning her first game after seven successive losses, before she used that confidence to break her opponent twice in a row.
With Kontaveit showing no response, her opponent ran away with the match, registering a 6-2, 0-6, 6-2 win.
Osaka v Mertens Prediction and Tip
Mertens looks a good bet at 12/5 to win this but a slightly less risky option for a player who is 13-2 this season on win-loss is winning at least one set.
Tip: Osaka to win a set – Yes: 5/6 (bet365)