Miami Open, ????? Final ? Prediction
?? (5) Jelena Ostapenko vs. ?? (13) Sloane Stephens
To view my preview for this match: Click here
This looks like a very tough match to pick a winner. Ostapenko and Stephens have both had similar pathways to the final, both have been equally impressive. Ostapenko is yet to drop a set in Miami and has beaten a couple of top 10 opponents, Stephens has dropped just a couple of sets and has also beaten a pair of top 10 opponents as well as a big win over 3-time former champion Victoria Azarenka. Both bring great form into Saturday’s final.
I’m going to side with Ostapenko. I think the Latvian’s best is better than that of Stephens and I have been more impressed by what I think have seen from Ostapenko on route to the final. Most notably it is Ostapenko who has consistently come through tough moments, the Latvian has amassed a perfect 5-0 record in tiebreak sets in Miami, showing that she is extremely clutch in critical moments at the moment. Conversely, Stephens has not really come under the same pressure and therefore her ability to stand up under pressure in the final is less clear.
Ostapenko is the more aggressive player and is braver under pressure. There is no doubt that Ostapenko will go for her shots under pressure while I still think that Stephens has a tendency to rely on her defensive abilities when things get tight, especially against a bit hitter such as Ostapenko where Stephens may fall into the trap of waiting for her opponent to make mistakes.
This biggest concern for Ostapenko heading into this match is her serve. However, Ostapenko has actually served well in Miami, given the Latvian’s biggest weakness is actually working quite well, she is seemingly in good shape heading into Saturday’s final. Overall, it is Ostapenko who is seemingly player at a higher level right now and is the braver of the pair, giving her the edge here.