TennisSection previews the 2021 Miami Open as Naomi Osaka (2) meets Elise Mertens (16) in the Round of 16 on Monday March 29th, 2021.
An exciting Round of 16 match awaits us in the 2021 Miami Open on Monday March 29th, 2021. Second seed Naomi Osaka of Japan will face Belgian sixteenth seed Elise Mertens in what is sure to be an entertaining match for the fans. Both ladies have been in fine form so far here in Miami and will be looking to extend their stay in the tournament. Will it be the Japanese superstar Osaka getting the win? Or can the solid play of Elise Mertens get the upset here and advance to the Quarter-Finals?
Naomi Osaka is currently ranked #2 in the WTA world rankings but has clearly shown that she is the best player in the world. The heavy favorite to lift the title here at the 2021 Miami Open, she has continued her fine form all season and is seemingly playing unstoppable tennis. She won her Second Round match over Ajla Tomljanovic in straight sets before receiving a walkover in the Third, when Nina Stojanovic withdrew due to injury. Osaka looked a bit rusty in her win over Tomljanovic but that was to be expected as this is her first tournament since her successful Australian Open campaign. As the tournament progresses she is sure to improve and enters this match as the firm favorite against Elise Mertens.
Elise Mertens is one of the most solid and consistent players on the WTA Tour. She is always a safe bet to reach deep into tournaments, and very rarely has bad days. Currently ranked #17, she will be hoping to break into the top 10 with a strong 2021 season. The Belgian has been impressive so far here at the 2021 Miami Open, with a routine win over Katie Boulter in the Second Round and a tough three set win over the solid Annet Kontaveit in the Third Round. Mertens is a very aggressive baseline player who gives little away. She is able to control her aggression very well, and can be very tough to beat when she is in form. While she enters this match against Naomi Osaka as the underdog, she will be quietly confident of causing the upset.
Naomi Osaka and Elise Mertens have faced each other on three prior occasions, with Osaka leading the head to head series 2-1. The last time they were scheduled to meet, Osaka withdrew in the Semi-Finals of the 2021 Gippsland Trophy. This is sure to be a very exciting match here at the 2021 Miami Open and I am going with the Japanese star to win here and advance to the Quarter-Finals. She has simply been unstoppable this year, and while Mertens is a very solid player, she does not have the tools required to defeat her opponent when she is in form. The Belgian is exactly the type of player that can cause Osaka issues due to her elite movement and consistency, but expect Naomi Osaka to power through her opponent and dominate from the baseline. Naomi Osaka will win in two close sets and advance here in Miami.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Naomi Osaka to win