Angelique Kerber benefitted from Simona Halep’s retirement to set up a meeting against Jelena Ostapenko in the third round of the 2021 Italian Open on Thursday, May 13. Get the live streaming options of this Angelique Kerber v Jelena Ostapenko match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Angelique Kerber v Jelena Ostapenko Head to Head
Kerber won the pair’s only meeting before this, at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships. The German beat Ostapenko in the semifinals in straight sets en route to her third Grand Slam title.
Kerber Advances after Halep Retirement
In a second-round meeting fit to be the showpiece in any previous Grand Slam final, Simona Halep appeared on course to win the duel of the former Major winners in a blockbuster early opener.
The Romanian was imperious from the get-go as Kerber’s serve faltered badly. Halep broke the German three times in a 27-minute first set to win it 6-1. Halep – the defending Rome champion – continued to make life extremely difficult for Kerber whose penchant for clay has diminished in recent years.
The German hauled herself back into the contest after exchanging a pair of breaks in the second set with the Romanian. With the score at 3-3, Halep appeared to pull a calf muscle which caused her severe pain. She had to be escorted to her chair where a huge bag of ice was placed under her leg.
We are still not quite sure about the nature of the injury and the extent of it, given Halep had looked comfortable with her movement throughout the evening. Lady luck strikes for Kerber, and a place in the third round beckons.
Ostapenko Record Back-to-back Wins
Back-to-back wins for Jelena Ostapenko are as rare as a hen’s teeth. The Italian Open is the third tournament in 2021 that the big-hitting Latvian has managed to register two straight wins (the other coming at Gippsland Trophy and Miami Open).
Victories over Johanna Konta and Ajla Tomljanovic, both in straight sets, earned Ostapenko a place in the third round in Rome for the first time since 2018.
Ostapenko’s latest win over Tomljanovic was mastered with easy efficiency. She fired five aces, converted five out of nine breakpoints, and won 64% of first-serve points. The Australian managed to edge ahead in the receiving points won department, but she barely threatened to snatch the match under Ostapenko’s clutches.
Can she avenge defeat to Kerber at the Wimbledon Championships three years ago and reach the quarterfinals?
Kerber v Ostapenko Prediction and Tip
Regardless of Kerber’s form in recent weeks, this is a very good matchup for her. The German may not have the legs to cover the court in fewer steps as in recent years, but she does possess the willingness and a certain level of restraint that should worry Ostapenko. We reckon the German could have her way in this one.