WTA Brisbane International 2019: Preview & Predictions Including Sloane Stephens vs Johanna Konta

The brand new tennis season is well under way. Day 2 at the WTA Brisbane International 2019 will see the conclusion of the remaining first round matches, and a number of Round 2 matches featuring the best players in the world.

The biggest upset of Day 1 was served up by the Australian Wildcard Kimberly Birrell, who produced fearless tennis for three hours to knock out World No.1 0 Daria Kasatkina. There were also wins for Destanee Aiava (another promising Aussie youngster), Karolina Pliskova, Lesia Tsurenko, and Kiki Bertens.

Day 2 will feature the current and former US Open champions in an action-packed event. Here are the notable matches to look forward to on Day 2, and predictions.

Sloane Stephens vs Johanna Konta

The beauty of WTA is that you are due to get these of kind of matches as early as the first round. Sloane Stephens failed to win a Major in 2018 after her heroics at the 2017 US Open, but it was still a very good season for her. The American reached the finals of both the French Open, and WTA Finals in Singapore. But as much as Stephens finished the year strongly, I doubt she would have wanted this first round encounter when the draw was thrown up. Johanna Konta can be hot and cold, but she does like to take control from the back of the court. This is their first ever meeting, and it is a hard one to call. I am going to lean slightly on Stephens due to her strong finish to the year, and I am sure she will want to keep that going in 2019.

Prediction: Stephens in 3
Embed from Getty Images

Danielle Collins vs Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova made an incredibly impressive start in 2018, but surprisingly she lost very early during the Australian events. She was forced to withdraw from the Brisbane tournament in 2018, and lost in the second round in Sydney and the first round in the Australian Open. But she played some excellent tennis after that, and won four titles during the first half of the season. That seemed to have taken toll on her performances after that. She lost all her round robin matches in Singapore. She is playing against a tricky first round opponent in Danielle Collins, but you’ve got to give Kvitova the edge in this one. Collins was still very raw on tour tennis up until last year in Miami when she won her first main draw match. I would not be surprised if this goes the distance since it is a first match of the season for both, but Kvitova should win this.

Prediction: Kvitova in 3
Embed from Getty Images

Kimberly Birrell vs Lesia Tsurenko

I am going to be very honest here. I’ve heard the name Kimberly Birrell, but I had never seen her play before. Kasatkina should have closed the match out in two, but take nothing away from Birrell who was brilliant. I am not sure how the Australian’s feet look like this morning after three hours of riveting tennis. It would be amazing if she keeps her run going, because she is very clever player for somebody who is only 20.

Birrell will need to play even better if she is to beat her next opponent, Lesia Tsurenko. The Ukrainian is the more experienced (which was the same case I said of Kasatkina), but is fresher and certainly very decisive on baseline rallies. Birrell is once again at astronomical odds to cause the upset, and given Tsurenko’s fitness concerns in the past, she could be vulnerable. Tsurenko would probably win this on any day, but Birrell’s confidence is sky high at the moment.

Prediction: Birrell in 3
Embed from Getty Images

Naomi Osaka vs Destanee Aiava

Destanee Aiava is another promising Australian talent. She never lost serve in her win over Mladenovic in the first round. She got through the qualifiers beating Mandy Minella and Christina McHale. The 18-year-old is going to have a tough assignment if she is to progress any further. She will face the reigning US Open champion Naomi Osaka, who is a significant upgrade to any player Aiava has played during the last month.

Prediction: Osaka in 2

Main Photo from Getty