Miami Open, ????? R1 Prediction
?? Naomi Osaka vs. ?? (wc) Serena Williams
I’m going to side with Serena here despite all data seemingly pointing to an Osaka victory. Osaka is the hottest player heading into this tournament having won Indian Wells, however she has been dealt the toughest opening round match-up, drawn against the greatest of all time and an 8-time former champion in Miami.
Serena’s level was good in Indian Wells in her first tournament back after giving birth. Historically, Serena has done well in match-ups against big hitters, coming up against Osaka will not be intimidating for Serena at all, she knows how to handle these types of matches. Conversely, Osaka will be playing Serena for the first time which is always tough for anyone and she is bound to be nervous and perhaps tired or distracted after her big couple of weeks in Indian Wells.
I think Serena is the perfect match for Osaka, Serena is mentally tougher, more experienced and stronger version of Osaka.
Serena is the type of player that has always rebounded very strongly after a loss, every loss is a major disappointment for Serena. I suspect Serena is working extremely hard right now and will relish the opportunity to play Osaka in the opening round. I just don’t see Serena losing this match, she simply does not lose two matches in a row, it has not happened in recent history. Serena also has added motivation in this match-up given Osaka is coached by her long time former hitting partner and friend. I can’t go against Serena here, she is too motivated and too strong for Osaka.