WTA Premier: Round of 16 Selected Matches Preview

Tennis player stands with racquet in hand

We preview selected matches from the Round of 16 at the WTA Miami Masters set to take place on 26 and 27 March. 

Venus Williams 27/20 | Johanna Konta 11/20
Defending champion Johanna Konta hasn’t exactly set the world on fire this season, having only reached one quarterfinal thus far this season: she had to retire hurt in the Brisbane quarterfinal. But she appears quite confident on the slower Miami surface, where her tenacious style has found rich rewards. She comfortably disposed of Belgium duo Flipkens and Mertens in her opening matches, taking advantage of a poor service performance by Mertens in the Round of 32. She claimed the biggest title of her career in Miami last year and will be feeling confident going up against the 37 year-old American, Venus Williams.

Williams had to rally in her Round of 32 match, saving three match points against Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens. Williams is currently enjoying a strong ‘Sunshine Double’, having reached the semi-finals in Indian Wells last week, losing to an inspired performance from Russian Daria Kasatkina. She clearly seems to be back to her old self following what was a dismal first round exit to Belinda Bencic at Melbourne. One thing that always has to be taking into consideration with Venus is her physical state. One might expect the exertions of that grueling Bertens match may be a hindrance here. 

These two are quite familiar, having played each other on six occasions. The head-to-head is split 3-3, with Venus Williams winning the last two matches- the last one being at Wimbledon last season. But Konta did manage to beat Venus in this very event in the semi-final stage last season, which was also the last time they met on hardcourts. 

But I’m looking at that prove and I just think that Venus represents terrific value at 27/20, particularly when you look at the season that Konta has had thus far. Those two comfortable victories over Flipkens and Mertens seem to have shortened her price disproportionately. 

Jelena Ostapenko 21/10 | Petra Kvitova 3/10
Latvian Number 1 Jelena Ostapenko has really had a nothing year thus far, struggling to build on that surprise victory at Roland Garros last season. She suffered yet another ignominious defeat to Petra Martic in Indian Wells last week. Who knows, perhaps Roland Garros will be the only title that the Latvian ever wins. Having said all that, she is yet to drop a set thus far, beating Babos in her opening match before disposing of Haddad Maia, but there just seems to be something extremely unconvincing about her in general. And her opponent- Petra Kvitova- has been in resurgent form of late. 

Former two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova has had a wonderful year following that horrendous knife attack that threatened to cut short her career. She looked to be struggling following that first round defeat at the Aussie Open, only to bounce back with back-to-back titles in St Petersburg and Qatar. She was knocked out early in Indian Wells but seems to be more at ease in Miami. True, she needed three sets to beat both Sabalenka and Kenin, but she will feel confident going into this encounter. 

Petra Kvitova leads the head-to-head between the two players, 3-2. More importantly, perhaps, is the fact that Kvitova has won the last three consecutive matches. On top of that, all three of those matches have been straight set victories on hardcourts. Petra Kvitova is the only option here for me. 

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.net

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