Naomi Osaka vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova - 2021 Australian Open Women's Singles First Round
Sunday February 7th, 2021 / 08:00pm EST
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Third seeded Naomi Osaka of Japan faces unseeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the First Round of the 2021 Australian Open in Melbourne. The match is scheduled to be played on Sunday February 7th, 2021 at approximately 8:00pm EST. They have played twice before, splitting the matches. Osaka won the last time they played in straight sets on hard court. Will be stroll into the Second Round as expected, or can the Russian defeat her again and cause the upset?
Naomi Osaka is a global tennis superstar and is one of the top favorites for the title here this week in Melbourne, a Grand Slam that she has won before. She has been given a very tough draw however, with six Grand Slam winners in her half. She looked in good form in the few matches she has played this year, performing well at the Gippsland Trophy here last week before withdrawing against eventual champion Elise Mertens. She is a very powerful player, capable of dominating anyone from the baseline with her penetrating groundstrokes on both sides. She tends to struggle with her serve and focus at times, but if those are both clicking then she will be very tough to stop here.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is currently ranked number 38 in the world rankings but has been as high as #13. She has had success here at the Australian Open before, with Quarter-Final showings in 2019 and 2020. She will be hoping to replicate those performances but knows that it will be incredibly difficult to win here, against an opponent that has not lost a match since the WTA Tour restarted last year. She is also a powerful baseline player and will be looking to take the ball early, reducing the amount of time Osaka has to prepare and making her rush. She enters this match as the firm underdog but will take confidence in knowing that she has beaten her before.
This is quite a difficult First Round matchup for Osaka, but I expect her to pull through. She has been in incredible form since last year and should be able to come out and dominate her opponent from the baseline. This match is sure to have a lot of very short rallies as they both play a very attacking style, but expect the Japanese superstar to come out on top. Naomi Osaka to win.