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via Reuters

Jelena Ostapenko is all set to take on the experienced German, Angelique Kerber in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open on Friday. While the 26-year-old Latvian has performed at a high level this year, the 36-year-old German looked a little off-color this season. Kerber is yet to make her mark on the tour after her comeback earlier this year.

Angelique Kerber returned to the tour in January after her 18-month-long absence from competitive tennis due to her maternity leave. However, her recent win against Croatia’s Petra Martic will surely give her a bit of confidence before facing the number 10. Can Ostapenko topple the 3 time Grand Slam champion?

Jelena Ostapenko vs Angelique Kerber: Preview

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Jelena Ostapenko made a stellar start to her campaign in 2024, winning 16 out of her last 20 matches. She has already won two titles this year. The first was at the Adelaide International, where she defeated Daria Kasatkina by 6-3,6-2. Her second triumph came at the Linz Open, where she defeated another Russian, Ekaterina Alexandrova, by 6-2, 6-3. Ostapenko has also reached the QF of Brisbane International this year. But Victoria Azarenka has been a major blockade to her incredible on three occasions this season.

Thankfully for her, she faces a different opponent in her next match, but she is also a former world number one. Jelena Ostpenko is entering the Indian Wells after facing a third-round exit from the Dubai Tennis Championships a few weeks ago. Can she get back to her winning ways? Well, Angelique Kerber may give this answer a few hours later.

Kerber on the other hand, won the United Cup for Germany this year. But after that, nothing has gone well for the Germans. After suffering a couple of first-round exits, she finally managed to clinch an emphatic victory against Italy’s Lucia Bronzetti in her first match at the Indian Wells. 

READ MORE: Indian Wells 2024: Director Forced to Refund Tickets Upon Rafael Nadal’s Untimely Withdrawal

The 36-year-old German tennis star will now look forward to capitalizing on this result and carrying forward her momentum for the rest of the match. Have Ostapenko and Kerber faced each other earlier?

Ostapenko vs Kerber: Head-to-Head

Well, yes they have met each other on Tour on three occasions earlier and interestingly all three of their meetings have been on different courts. Angelique Kerber currently enjoys a lead over Jelena Ostapenko by 2-1 in their H2H. She defeated the Latvian first in the 2018 Wimbledon Championships, then Ostapenko snatched victory in their next meeting at the Italian Open. The same year, the former world number took the lead by defeating Ostapenko at the Cincinnati Open.

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Both Kerber and Ostapenko have squared off in 59 total games, where the German took 30 and the Latvian the rest of 29 games in their faceoffs. Jelena Ostapenko has a record of 30-14 on hard courts over the past years and has even won two tournaments. On hard courts, she has won 39.5% of her return games and 68.5% of her serve games with 46.0% conversion rates of her break point opportunities in the last 12 months.

Whereas, Angelique Kerber hasn’t won a title on hard courts over the last few months. She has 8 wins in 20 service games while playing on hard courts(40%) and 5 wins in 20 returns (25%). Kerber has won 45.5% of breakpoints on hard courts. Can her experience on the court outclass the current world no.10?

Prediction: Ostapenko to have the last laugh in this intriguing encounter

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Despite leading the head-to-head and winning her latest match in the BNP Paribas Open, it’ll be really a tough ask for the 36YO to outclass the in-form Jelena Ostapenko. Ostapenko has been on a different level this year and she’d look forward to bringing her A-game against the experienced campaigner on Friday.

Kerber surely has the experience of performing in big matches, her decision-making skills and tactics are always spot on in her matches. But Ostapenko’s recent form will always make her one to watch out for in this tournament. What do you think?