Ashleigh Barty with the Venus Rosewater Dish after winning Wimbledon 2021
Fixture: (1) Ashleigh Barty vs Vera Zvonareva
Tournament: US Open 2021
Round: First round (Round of 128)
Venue: New York, United States
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $40,560,000
Live telecast: USA – Tennis Channel & ESPN | UK – BBC TV & Radio | India – Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP
Ashleigh Barty vs Vera Zvonareva preview
It has been an incredible season so far for Barty, to say the least. After returning to the tour following a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Australian has looked unstoppable.
She has collected five titles this season, with the biggest of them all coming on the lush green lawns of SW19. A subsequent first-round loss at the Tokyo Olympics was only a minor blip; Barty immediately bounced back with a title-winning run at Cincinnati.
The 25-year-old is coming into New York riding a wave of confidence. She has never made it past the fourth round here, but this will be the ideal time to correct that record.
Vera Zvonareva in action at the Internazionali BNL D’Italia 2021
Meanwhile Vera Zvonareva, a former US Open runner-up, made a comeback to the tour in 2016 following the birth of her daughter. The Russian hasn’t managed to match the high of her first career on her return, but can still pack a punch once in a while.
That was evident when she knocked out two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova on her way to reaching the Round of 16 at Rome. Zvonareva’s best performances of the year so far are a couple of semifinal finishes – at St. Petersburg and the WTA 125 event in Concord.
Ashleigh Barty vs Vera Zvonareva head-to-head
Ashleigh Barty and Vera Zvonareva have never crossed paths on the tour before, so their head-to-head currently stands at a 0-0 deadlock.
Ashleigh Barty vs Vera Zvonareva prediction
Ashleigh Barty in action at the Western & Southern Open
Vera Zvonareva gave a walkover to Sara Sorribes Tormo in the Round of 16 at Cleveland earlier this week, so there are some concerns over her health. At 36, the Russian might find it a challenge to regain full fitness in such a short turnaround time.
If Zvonareva isn’t at her 100%, it is unlikely that she will be able to offer any kind of resistance against the in-form Ashleigh Barty.
Barty’s serve has been a weapon all year, and she has backed it up with solid play from the ground. The Aussie will look to use her speed and variety to throw Zvonareva off her rhythm, especially with the backhand slice.
If the Russian is healthy, she could possibly stay toe-to-toe with the World No. 1 in some of the rallies early on. But Barty’s pinpoint serve, solid groundstrokes and excellent anticipation skills will likely prove too difficult to overcome eventually.
Prediction: Ashleigh Barty to win in straight sets.