Will Miami follow the trend of Indian Wells and produce another breakthrough winner? This time last year, the now 17-year-old American Amanda Anisimova announced her arrival by upsetting Petra Kvitova in Indian Wells and making the 2nd round in Miami, the place she moved to live when she was 3 years old. Bianca Andreescu has taken over and is currently the breakthrough queen. 17-year-old Xiyu Wang and 18-year-old Dayana Yastremska are also hoping to be the next breakthrough players. Anisimova will hope that home support will galvanize her to a great tournament. She takes on the wily Andrea Petkovic on Day 1, alongside other tasty match-ups including other potential breakthrough starlets.
Evgeniya Rodina vs Sam Stosur
Head-to-head: Rodina 0-2 Stosur
Both the crisp baseliner ball-striking Russian Evginiya Rodina and the gritty Sam Stosur are struggling for form. Rodina had been galvanized since making the 4th round of Wimbledon last year and is not too far off returning to that form. She should come to life in this one.
Prediction: Rodina in 2
Dayana Yastremska vs Ekaterina Alexandrova
Head-to-head: Alexandrova 1-2 Yastremska
18-year0old Ukrainian prospect Dayana Yastremska made her breakthrough this season by winning a WTA title in Hua Hin. Two close losses against Muguruza and Gavrilova have brought her down to earth a little, but her game is still in shape. The 24 year old Russian world #57 is 7-3 in terms of recent win/loss form. This will be a tough and tense match up. However, Yastremska should confirm her promise as one to watch out for this season.
Prediction: Yastremska in 3
Xiyu Wang vs Monica Puig
Another potential breakthrough star lines up on day one of Miami. 17-year-old Chinese starlet Xiyu Wang is a blistering long-term prospect, who displays maturity and poise beyond her tender years on court. Puig will attempt to powerhouse her off the court, but Wang is too wily for that.
Prediction: Wang in 3
Mari Osaka vs Whitney Osuigwe
Naomi Osaka’s older sister and world #335 Mari Osaka has been controversially given a wild card into the main draw in Miami.
Enough about that thorny topic. This is a great chance to another potential breakthrough star 16 year old Whitney Osuigwe to get Premiere Mandatory main draw experience. The American is a tasty prospect, she is still raw and can over-hit the ball without being put under too much pressure, but it makes her exciting to watch. The World #203 should not have too many problems against her privileged opponent.
Prediction: Osuigwe in 2
Andrea Petkovic vs Amanda Anisimova
Petkovic will be like a caged tiger eager to get back on court and put behind her the shenanigans of outplaying Venus to force a third set in Indian Wells and throwing it away. Venus was struggling, but Petkovic did not show any of the ruthlessness she was known for in her a few years ago. Anisimova is hot and cold this year, thumping Aryna Sabalenka in Melbourne, then winning only three games against Kvitova in the next round. She struggled to cause Mertens any issues in Indian Wells last week. Anisimova should take this one, but it will be tight.
Prediction: Anisimova in 3
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