Following their first two meetings last season, world No. 2 Li Na and American youngster Madison Keys will meet once again on the professional circuit, this time in a rubber match at the Sony Open in Miami. The Na Li vs Keys Head to Head series is currently tied at 1-1, with Keys winning the most recent contest on clay.
Following her semi-final showing at Indian Wells last week, Chinese No. 1 Li Na was handed a walkover into the second round when Alisa Kleybanova withdrew from their match-up on Friday. Li has reached the quarter-finals in Miami on four different occasions, including the past two years, yet has never gone past that stage of the event. Having already won two titles this season, including a second Grand Slam title, Li is one of the favourites to reach the later stages of the event this season.
Boca Raton native Madison Keys worked her way into the Top 40 last season, yet has since plateaued considerably, losing in the first round in Acapulco and the second round at Indian Wells to drop back down to No. 38. She appears to be in better form this week, as the local favourite beat Kontaveit in her opening round match-up, then followed up with an upset over Daniela Hantuchova to set up the third round clash with Li.
The Li-Keys head-to-head series is currently tied at 1-1, with both competitors each winning a match-up last season. While Keys holds the more recent win, Li was victorious in their hard court encounter – closing out the match in three sets in Sydney. The stats add intrigue to this already exciting contest, as Keys has the power and youth to trouble the more-experienced Li. While this contest could potentially go to a deciding set, it is unlikely that we will see an upset so early in the draw for Li.
Predictions: Li Na in Three Sets