The Nature Valley International in Eastbourne is approaching its deciding stages. Five top 10 talents and three outsiders remain in competition. With defending champion Caroline Wozniacki out of the picture, who is the best positioned to win it all? Up next, our quarterfinal picks.
WTA Eastbourne Quartefinal Predictions
Ons Jabeur vs Alize Cornet
Head to Head: first meeting
Cornet has looked impressive so far, having yet to drop a set all week. Unexpected breakthrough for a player whose winning rate on grass hovers around the 40% mark. This is only the second time in her 13-year career that Cornet collects three straight victories on grass. In turn, as mentioned on yesterday’s predictions piece, Jabeur has three ITF titles on the surface, but this will be her first tour level quarterfinal. In the round of 16, the Tunisian annihilated local favorite Johanna Konta 6-3 6-2, flashing a rock-solid 1.45 dominance ratio. If Jabeur manages to replicate that performance, her odds of advancing are high. While she might be due for some regression, Jabeur’s has the better tools on grass.
Prediction: Jabeur in 3
Karolina Pliskova vs Ekaterina Alexandrova
Head to Head: Pliskova 1-0 Alexandrova
On paper, the most lopsided match among the four quarterfinals. Pliskova produced a masterpiece against Elise Mertens in the Round of 16, winning an unsustainable 81 per cent of the second serve return points. World No. 52 Alexandrova upset Alja Tomljanovic, Belinda Bencic, and Jelena Ostapenko on consecutive days, so her confidence is probably at the highest point of the season. Still, upending Pliskova seems like a reach for someone who lost seven straight matches from Indian Wells to Rome. The Russian will struggle to withstand Pliskova’s cannonballs on a regular basis. Expect the Czech to advance unless she has an off day at work.
Prediction: Pliskova in 2
Kiki Bertens vs Aryna Sabalenka
Head to Head: Bertens 3-0 Sabalenka
In a tour full of volatile players, Bertens stands out for her reliability. She rarely appears on the wrong side of an upset and most of her losses are hard fought. The Dutch has really matured as a player and should be considered a contender in any event she enters. Meanwhile, Sabalenka might have found the season-changing win she craved against Wozniacki. The Minsk native, who saved one match point, capped her 2-6 6-4 7-6 victory over the Danish star with a huge cross court forehand passing shot. The way she celebrated while lying on the lawn was very emotional. Watch out WTA, Daenerys Sabalenka is back at full throttle.
Prediction: Sabalenka in 3
Angelique Kerber vs Simona Halep
Head to Head: Halep 6-4 Kerber
The Nature Valley International attendants are really getting the best bang for their buck. How crazy is that fans are getting to see two quarterfinals between top 10 players? I mean, the Wimbledon crowd would sign up for this in a heartbeat. All of Kerber’s four wins over Halep happened back in 2016, while the Romanian has always emerged victorious whenever they have split sets. Nevertheless, Halep is 1-4 against top 10 foes on grass, which is clearly her least preferred surface. Kerber, the highest rated grass player on tour according to Tennis Abstract, consistently makes severe damage as a returner in these conditions. The reigning Wimbledon champion is 15-0 since 2018 Eastbourne on grass court matches when she wins more than 41 per cent of her receiving points. Halep must serve lights out in order to qualify for the penultimate round.
Prediction: Kerber in 2
Embed from Getty Images