Elena Rybakina’s winning streak continued in Miami as she sealed a tenth consecutive victory with a win over Paula Badosa. However it was far from easy for Rybakina as she had to save match point against a very stern test from an aggressive Badosa. This match proved that although Rybakina has weaknesses in her game, the Kazakh has the confidence and belief to turn the match around as she continues to maintain a winning mentality. The question is will this method be sustainable enough to win a second consecutive WTA 1000 event?
Next up for Rybakina will be Elise Mertens with the Belgian having an impressive tournament so far. The world number 39 has once again shown how consistent she can be having beaten the likes of Daria Kasatkina and Petra Martic in Miami. Mertens has proven that she can show an aggressive and proactive side to her game as well as displaying stubborn defence as she looks for a place in the last eight in Florida.
Rybakina will look to show more consistency on serve than she did against Badosa against the consistent and powerful returning of Mertens. Mertens will need to be aggressive from the backhand side as she looks to test Rybakina’s physicality and defensive skillset. This will be a competitive match with Rybakina’s stamina expected to be tested here. However Rybakina should have enough consistent power to edge through another tight match and advance to the quarter-finals.
Prediction: Rybakina in three sets.
Karen Khachanov  v Jiri Lehecka H2H & Match Fundamentals
Karen Khachanov had a great start to the year as he reached his second consecutive Grand Slam semi-final at the Australian Open. However the form that he has shown since then has been a theme of his career as he has failed to be consistent and show he can be a reliable top ten player. Khachanov will be hoping that he can put a run of results together in Miami as the clay court season approaches.
Khachanov’s quest for consistency will have to go through the in-form Jiri Lehecka with the Czech Republican breaking new ground this season. Lehecka has shown his quality this season having beaten Cameron Norrie, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Andrey Rublev already this season with the lefty serve continuing to do damage this season. Now Lehecka will look to overcome a recent dip in form and make his breakthrough at Masters 1000 level in Miami.
Khachanov will look to defend Lehecka’s attacking play with the backhand and then transition his attacking play onto the forehand. Meanwhile Lehecka will look to panic Khachanov by rushing to the net and forcing the 14th seed behind the baseline with consistent depth. In faster conditions, Lehecka should come out on top with the Czech Republican’s power proving too much for an erratic Khachanov.
Prediction: Lehecka in three sets.
Jessica Pegula  v Magda Linette  H2H & Match Fundamentals
Jessica Pegula is determined to take advantage of a favourable draw as she seeks another WTA quarter-final. The third seed survived a tough second set against Danielle Collins to reach the fourth round and will be hoping to avoid the same fate as Indian Wells. Pegula knows that winning the title in Miami will legitimise her hopes of winning a Grand Slam in the near future as she continues to be come a reliable threat to Iga Swiatek at the top of the WTA rankings.
Next up for Pegula is Australian Open semi-finalist Magda Linette. Since reaching the last four in Melbourne, Linette has struggled to match the expectation that is placed on her shoulders after her run in Australia. However a three set win over Victoria Azarenka has seen the Pole regain her confidence as she now looks to prove that her run in Melbourne wasn’t a fluke and will look to power her way to another statement victory in Miami.
Linette will look to be aggressive and put pressure on Pegula with attacking forehands and consistent serving. Meanwhile the American will look to play on the counter-attack and use depth and variety to catch Linette off guard. This will be an entertaining match but Pegula’s consistency from the baseline should be too strong for an erratic Linette with a quarter-final place on the line.
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