WTA Miami Open Day 5 Predictions Including Angelique Kerber vs Victoria Azarenka

Belinda Bencic in action at the WTA Miami Open.

There should be plenty of entertaining action on day five at the WTA Miami Open, with a number of star names set to take to the court in Florida. As ever, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for every match on the slate, including Ashleigh Barty vs Jelena Ostapenko. But who will reach the round of 16?

WTA Miami Open Day Five Predictions

Ana Konjuh vs Iga Swiatek

Head-to-head: first meeting

Ana Konjuh’s road back towards the top of the professional game has been a difficult one, with the Croatian having already had to battle serious injury problems in her career. But she has been making impressive strides in recent weeks. She qualified into the main draw in Dubai, only to fall short against Amanda Anisimova in the first round, and Konjuh has been quite superb so far at the WTA Miami Open, beating Katerina Siniakova and Madison Keys, both in straight sets.

But she faces what looks like a daunting challenge in Iga Swiatek. The Pole is still mastering her trade on hard courts, but she is learning fast and proved far too strong for the in-form Barbora Krejcikova in the second round in Miami, having received a bye in the first. It would be a surprise were she not also able to account for Konjuh. The Croatian is playing well, but Swiatek is one of the very best in the world and a Grand Slam champion for a reason.

Prediction: Swiatek in 2
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Angelique Kerber vs Victoria Azarenka

Head-to-head: Azarenka 8-1 Kerber

Angelique Kerber is not the force she once was and, realistically, it is hard to see her becoming a contender at the highest level again. But she has showed that she can still pack a punch so far at the WTA Miami Open. After a first-round bye, the German hammered Renata Zarazua of Mexico 6-0 6-0 to open her campaign in the Sunshine State. That is a win that will surely have given her real confidence. Confidence she will need up against Victoria Azarenka.

The Belarusian has not played competitively since withdrawing ahead of her semifinal against Garbine Muguruza in Qatar. In Miami, she has received a first-round bye and a walkover in the second round. But Azarenka has dominated this rivalry, winning eight of her nine encounters with Kerber. She also has an excellent record in Miami, having won the event three times. It is hard to ignore such a considerable weight of history. Expect Azarenka to further extend her head-to-head advantage, but after a battle.

Prediction: Azarenka in 3
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Veronika Kudermetova vs Aryna Sabalenka

Head-to-head: Sabalenka 2-0 Kudermetova

After such an impressive end to 2020, not to mention winning a title in the first week of 2021, Aryna Sabalenka will surely be bitterly disappointed by her recent run of results. Narrow losses in the fourth round at the Australian Open, to Serena Williams, and in Qatar and Dubai, to Garbine Muguruza, have gone some way to checking the momentum she had been building. But she deserves credit for digging out a hard-fought win over Tsvetana Pironkova in her opener in Miami, particularly after losing the first set to love.

That victory has earned her what should be a relatively straightforward match against Veronika Kudermetova. The Russian has been in fine form recently, notably reaching the final in Abu Dhabi, and dismissed the challenge of Danielle Collins in the second round at the WTA Miami Open. But she was hammered by Sabalenka in the final in Abu Dhabi, and also lost their only other encounter, in Antalya in 2015, in very one-sided fashion. Expect Sabalenka, who should enjoy the conditions in Miami, to win once again.

Prediction: Sabalenka in 3
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Belinda Bencic vs Marketa Vondrousova

Head-to-head: first meeting

This may not be the headline match of day five at the WTA Miami Open, but it is certainly amongst the most intriguing. Marketa Vondrousova made her name with a thrilling run to the final at Roland Garros in 2019, but the Czech has struggled to back that effort up since. She did reach the fourth round at the Australian Open in February, but was beaten convincingly there by Hsieh Su-wei and in her last outing, Vondrousova was dumped out of the WTA Dubai Tennis Championships in the round of 32.

Belinda Bencic has been in similarly indifferent form of late. The Swiss’ best showing so far this year remains a run to the semifinals in Adelaide and she was less than impressive in Qatar and Dubai. But she did look sharp in beating Zarina Diyas 6-2 6-1 in her opener in Miami. However, the relatively slow, high-bouncing courts look more likely to favour Vondrousova, particularly if she can bring her forehand into play early in the rally. A close contest may be in the offing, but expect Vondrousova to edge it.

Prediction: Vondrousova in 3

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