TennisSection previews the 2021 WTA Miami Open as Ashleigh Barty (1) meets Kristina Kucova (Q) in the Second Round on Thursday, March 25th 2021.
Will the qualifier Kristina Kucova be able to cause an extremely shocking upset in the second round in Miami? Will Ashleigh Barty come out very strongly in her campaign to defend her 2019 Miami Open Trophy? Both players can definitely cause some trouble in this Second Round encounter, but only one will make their way to the third round. Who will it be?
Ashleigh Barty will be very determined to get herself on track in her first tournament back on the WTA Tour outside of Australia. Barty has not played any tennis in over a year, other than the two tournaments in Australia earlier this year. However, Barty remains as the World No.1 due to the points freeze in the rankings. Ashleigh Barty will now have to begin actually defending her points if she wants to remain at the top of the game, and she has decided to begin her campaign here in Miami. Barty won the last Miami Open tournament in 2019, beating Karolina Pliskova in the Final and finally getting her breakthrough. Since then, Barty has never looked back. Barty now meets a qualifier in Kristina Kucova, and she will have to be wary as Kucova will have had more competitive minutes in these conditions. Will Barty be able to win?
Kristina Kucova was able to come through qualifying here in Miami in a strong fashion, and she was also able to beat Hailey Baptiste in the first round in 3 sets, 6-4/2-6/7-5. Kucova is a very underrated player on the WTA Tour, and when she is on top of her game, she can definitely ruffle some feathers against some very highly-rated opponents if taken too lightly. Kucova will have to ensure that she is on top of her game here if she wants to get anything out of this match, but she should know that if she is on top, she will be able to hurt Ashleigh Barty. Kristina Kucova has spent many more minutes on court here in competition, and this will help her get off to a faster start in this match as she is used to these conditions. Can Kucova use this slight edge to advance in Miami?
This is going to be the first meeting between both players, and we are definitely in for a very exciting encounter. Ashleigh Barty and Kristina Kucova are two players on opposite ends of the rankings and popularity, however, Barty should be wary. Kucova has gotten used to the conditions and she will be confident that she can cause Barty some trouble. This will be a tight opening match for Barty, but at the end of the day, I would be completely shocked if the World No.1 did not make her way through to the Third Round here in Miami. Ashleigh Barty will get the victory here in order to continue her title defence at the 2021 WTA Miami Open.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Ashleigh Barty in Two Sets.