After a run to the semifinals in Osaka, Japan, Angelique Kerber looked ready for a deep run at the Wuhan Open. The German’s run was cut short thanks to Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig, who outlasted Kerber in a three set battle. Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka commanded in her win against American Danielle Collins, moving on to the third round and dropping just a single game. Sofia Kenin eliminated Osaka finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets. Another Chinese woman fell on home soil as Garbine Muguruza exited Peng Shuai.
Day 3 at the Wuhan Open has some great matches in store. Here’s a look at four matches and predictions for who’s moving on to the next round. Don’t worry, we also have predictions for four more matches.
Wuhan Open Day 3 Predictions
Simona Halep vs Barbora Strycova
Head to head: Halep 5-0 Strycova
In five meetings, Barbora Strycova has yet to grab a set off Simona Halep. Each outing went in favor of the Romanian in straight sets. It’s a bit concerning that Halep hasn’t played a tournament since her second round exit at the US Open. It was a rare, error laden performance from Halep. And, I doubt we’ll see that from the #4 seed in Wuhan. Halep will quickly shake off the rust
Strycova had a solid opening round against Wang Xiyu. The Czech served well and was able to save five of six break opportunities. Against anyone other than an elite player, Strycova could have a deep run. But, the head to head really tells the story here. Strycova just doesn’t have the weapons to win this one.
Prediction: Halep in 2
Rebecca Peterson vs Petra Martic
Head to head: First meeting
Petra Martic has been dominant in Wuhan. The Croat easily eliminated France’s Kristina Maldenovic, 6-2 6-2. Easy power and shot variety will prove a challenge for Rebecca Peterson. The Swede has spent ample time on the court through qualifiers. After losing to Kateryna Kozlova in qualifiers, Peterson received a main draw spot as a Lucky Loser. Peterson’s first round win came as a result of Camila Giorgi retiring. It’s been an interesting path for Peterson. But, I suspect it will end here. This should be an easy day at the office for Martic, who is in exceptional form.
Prediction: Martic in 2
Wang Yafan vs Sloane Stephens
Head to head: Wang 0-1 Stephens
Perhaps Sloane Stephens is starting to find some form and can turn around what has been a dismal season. The struggling American had a sharp return game, allowing her to take advantage of five service breaks. The serve continues to prove a problem as the Stephens serve was broke three times. The number 10 seed hung on for the win but will need to improve if she wants to go deep in Wuhan.
Wang Yafan battled back from a set down to level her opening match against Lauren Davis. In the third set, Davis retired, securing the win for Wang. It was a capable performance from Wang, but she lacks the weapons to challenge Stephens when she’s playing well.
Prediction: Stephens in 2
Alison Riske vs Monica Puig
Head to head: Riske 0-1 Puig
It seems Monica Puig has recovered nicely from her coaching change. What was perhaps a low point in the Puerto Rican’s season seems to have turned around with the addition of Philippe DeHaes. The Olympic Gold Medalist showed her fight, battling through a three set bout against Angelique Kerber. By the decider, Puig was controlling the court en route to upsetting the #11 seed.
Alison Riske battled back after dropping the first set to Kateryna Kozlova. The American struggled with her service as six aces were offset by eight double faults. Riske will need to sharpen up her serve or she’ll see Puig take advantage. I suspect Riske will play another three setter but it will be Puig with the win.
Prediction: Puig in 3