The tennis continues at the WTA Cincinnati Premier Western & Southern Open on Wednesday, and we have some juicy matches to assess. Here’s who we think will move on to the Round of 16. We also have predictions for Wednesday’s other women’s matches.
WTA Cincinnati Day 3 Predictions
Iga Swiatek vs Anett Kontaveit
No previous meetings
Two young stars who are starting to make themselves known at the top level of the WTA Tour clash.
Swiatek dealt Caroline Garcia a real bruising in the first round, whilst Kontaveit put Angelique Kerber out in straight sets. Both players will come into this match with sky-high confidence.
The 18-year-old Pole Swiatek is the real deal as a prospect on the tour. It is only a matter of time before she is winning tournaments regularly and in contention for Grand Slams. In the last twelve months, she has held serve on hard-court over 70% of the time, which for such a young person is an outstanding attribute to rely upon.
The Estonian #1 Kontaveit does have a good serve of her own and does break her opponents more regularly than Swiatek, but her recent form isn’t quite as impressive.
This is a tricky match to predict, but I am leaning towards the exciting potential of the teenager to edge out the improving Estonian in three sets.
Prediction: Swiatek in 3
Elina Svitolina vs Elise Mertens
Head-to-Head Record: 2-1
Viewers of this match will be expecting a lot of high-quality rallies and excellent groundstrokes. It is certainly a match I will be seeking out to watch as they both play the game in an aesthetically pleasing way and also both have a supremely competitive streak.
It’s been pleasing to see Svitolina return to good form, as there was a concern that her star was falling and her top 10 position was under threat. Her run at Wimbledon seems to have restored her confidence. She has had a reasonable hard court swing so far but will be looking for a strong run here.
Elise Mertens put local youngster Caty McNally in her place in Round 1, treating her to a delicious bagel in the second set of that match. Though her white-hot streak of climbing the rankings has faded over the last few months, the Belgian remains a solid member of the top 32 and is likely to be very competitive here.
All three of the previous meetings have been quite one-sided, all finishing in straight sets. This, I predict, will be the first to go the distance, and I just about favor the Ukrainian in this match-up.
Prediction: Svitolina in 3
Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Dayana Yastremska
No previous meetings
Two players at the opposite ends of their careers meet here in what should be an intriguing match up.
Kuznetsova certainly seems to be enjoying the switch to hard courts. She has won three of her five matches on this hard court swing having lost four in a row before that. She is down at #198 in the world following a struggle with fitness and some poor form in the first half of the year. But as a former US Open champion, she can never be ruled out in this part of the world and on this surface.
The young Ukranian, though, is building an incredibly exciting reputation in the game. She has played an impressive 60 matches in the last year, winning 40 of those and winning tournaments along the way. She will not be intimidated by taking to the court against Kuznetsova and I would back her to impose her game on the experienced Russian and end up dominating with her major groundstrokes.
Prediction: Yastremska in 2
Jennifer Brady vs Su-Wei Hsieh
No previous meetings
A matchup between two players I would describe as hard court specialists here.
Brady is quite regularly underrated on the tour, but what holds her back from achieving a greater level of success is her inability to adapt to other surfaces on the circuit. On an American hard court, she can be very tough to beat and has a tough attitude on the court.
Hsieh produced a hard-fought win over Qiang Wang in Round 1, but that was her first victory at this tournament for several years. She may find it more difficult to work around the bigger weapons of the American in this matchup. I would give Brady the edge here.
Prediction: Brady in 3
Ashleigh Barty vs Maria Sharapova
Head-to-Head Record: 1-2
The current World #1 against a former #1 and multiple Grand Slam champion.
Sharapova is still a very big name in the game, but it would be fair to say that her current condition leaves her quite a long way from the player who had spells of dominating the game. Her win/loss record in the last twelve months stands at 11-7, which a) isn’t a lot of tennis and b) isn’t a high win percentage.
Meanwhile, across the court, Ashleigh Barty is having the season of her career so far. She has a superb win percentage this year (80% over twelve months) but her long run of successive wins was broken by Alison Riske at Wimbledon, and then her first hardcourt match of the swing ended in defeat to Sofia Kenin last week in Toronto.
The Australian will be hungry to get that winning feeling back again and build up some momentum towards the US Open. I firmly believe that she is a better player than this current version of Sharapova.
It will be interesting to see if Sharapova can step up to the big match challenge in the way that we would expect from a great champion like her. The match may well be decided by who serves the best, and Barty has the more consistent, and also, more accurate serve on all known data. Barty should have more break-point chances and I would back her to pressure the Sharapova game enough to win.
Prediction: Barty in 2
Main Photo from Getty
Disagree with our WTA Cincinnati predictions? Feel free to leave your WTA Cincinnati thoughts in the comments.