French Open 2021: Victoria Azarenka vs Madison Keys Preview, Head-to-Head, Prediction

Published 06/03/2021, 9:35 AM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – May 30, 2021 Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka in action during her first round match against Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova REUTERS/Christian Hartmann


With three of the top 10 already out of French Open 2021 before the third round, the WTA side of the draw is opening up and hence bringing high-stakes matches to the spectators sooner than later. Former World No.1 Victoria Azarenka will now play former US Open finalist Madison Keys in the third round on Friday.

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Victoria Azarenka vs Madison Keys: Preview

Azarenka and Keys have had below-par 2021. Azarenka has just made it through to just a single semifinal in 2021. In 2020, she had reached the US Open 2020 final and since has seen a decline. She was ousted in the opening round of Australian Open 2021 and her best result has been a semifinal appearance at Qatar Open, where she lost to Garbine Muguruza.

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Victoria Azarenka celebrates during her first round match against Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

On clay, she has only played one tournament, the Madrid Open. Unfortunately, she had to deal with a back injury during the tournament and eventually withdrew before the second round. At French Open 2021, Azarenka has had to grind out her victories against Svetlana Kuznetsova and Clara Tauson respectively to reach the third round.

Madison Keys’ 2021 season started much later at Qatar Open. There she upset sixth seed Belinda Bencic, however lost to Maria Sakkari in the second round. Following this, she had early exits in Dubai and Miami, ending her initial hard court season.

Madison Keys of the United States celebrates winning. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Proceeding to the clay-court season, Keys again dealt with an early exit at Madrid Open. She even played at the Italian Open, where she was ousted by the eventual champion, Iga Swiatek. And similar to her Roland Garros match against Azarenka, she dropped a set against Oceane Dodin in the first round and pulled out a straight-set victory over young Canadian Leylah Fernandez in the second round.

Watch this story: SHOCKING: Bianca Andreescu, Dominic Thiem, Andrey Rublev and Others’ First-Round Exits at French Open 2021

Head-to-head

Azarenka and Keys have played against each other once before. That was back in the second round of the 2018 Miami Open, which ended prematurely as Keys withdrew due to injury.

Azarenka vs Keys at French Open 2021: Prediction

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Both Keys and Azarenka don’t quite prefer the clay. However, they have a high-hitting game. They have both raked up winners and unforced errors in their two matches at Roland Garros. Azarenka has looked rusty and defensive at times as she is looking after the injury.

Keys on the other hand has had winners and unforced errors in equal measure. Her service has been good. And after a while, she has been able to forge a good run. Azarenka has had problems with injury whereas Keys has struggled with bad form.

Victoria Azarenka in action during her first round match against Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Azarenka is a faster player and can accelerate faster than Keys. But Keys has had a decent French Open 2021 with some discipline and aggression. The Belarusian has played more this season than Keys and hence that experience triumphed her in the early rounds and could be the factor against Keys as well.

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Prediction: Victoria Azarenka to win in three sets.

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Bhavishya Mittal

1226 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

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