The Tianjin Open moves into the Round of 16 for Wednesday’s matches. Looking for a spot in the last eight, we’ll see some very competitive matches on Day 3. Here’s a look at all four contests and predictions for who’ll move on the the Tianjin Open quarterfinals.
Tianjin Open Day 3 Predictions
Magda Linette vs Kurumi Nara
Head to head: Linette 1-2 Nara
It’s been several years since Magda Linette and Kurumi Nara met. Yet, Nara has chalked up one more win that the Pole. On hard courts, the head to head splits with one each. Linette turned what should have been a contest into a straight sets win against Christina McHale, 6-3, 6-1. Winning 78% behind her first serve and breaking the McHale serve on five of eight opportunities gave the Pole a decisive victory.
Kurumi Nara played three matches in qualifying rounds to gain her main draw spot. It was a difficult opener for the Japanese who required three sets to get past Britain’s Harriet Dart. It’s the Nara serve which is creating opportunities for her opponents. Dart broke on five of seven occasions. Expect Linette to jump all over and punish Nara’s weak delivery.
Prediction: Linette in 2
Heather Watson vs Wang Qiang
Head to head: First meeting
Wang Qiang is the highest seed in Tianjin as a result of Sofia Kenin’s withdrawal. And, the Chinese superstar should like her chances for a run to the finals. The World #22 is on the hunt for her first title of 2019. Her results in China has thus far been disappointing – a first round exit by compatriot Peng Shuai in Guangzhou and retiring in the first round in Beijing. Wang fared better in Wuhan, falling in the Round of 16 to American Alison Riske. I expect Wang will make her first quarterfinal of the Asian swing in Tianjin.
Heather Watson fought through her opener against Kateryna Bondarenko. A low 52% first service needs to rise if she hopes to defeat Wang. The Brit converted on five of 12 break point opportunities, another stat which needs to sharpen. Wang will know exactly what to do to exit Watson and the home soil advantage is evident in Tianjin.
Prediction: Wang in 2
Zheng Saisai vs Veronika Kudermetova
Head to head: First meeting
Zheng Saisai versus Veronika Kudermetova creates an interesting matchup between two very different styles. Look for Zheng to use craft and defense to counteract Kudermetova’s power and precision. The #7 seed’s serve is perhaps her Achilles heel. Yet, it was more than sufficient to see her way through her opener against Duan Ying-Ying. Zheng served at 73% first ball in play and won 71% of those. Even on her weaker second serve, Zheng won 71% behind it. She saved the single break point she faced and prevailed in the first set tiebreak. Zheng is playing with consistency and craft, the hallmarks of her game.
Veronika Kudermetova returned exceptionally well in her first round meetup against Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic. The Russian created four service breaks in seven opportunities. In fact, it was Kudermetova’s receiving game which saw her through the Tomljanovic threat. With a 65% first ball in play, and winning half of her second serves, it’s an aspect which Kudermetova should look to enhance. Yet, Zheng doesn’t offer up the powerful, punishing returns on a weak serve. Rather, Zheng will simply get the Kudermetova serve in play and look to use her crafty play to win the point.
Prediction: Zheng in 3
Peng Shuai vs Dayana Yastremska
Head to head: Peng 0-1 Yastremska
Dayana Yastreska has moved past the Round of 32 for the first time since the US Open. Seems the Ukrainian is finding more success on the doubles side. An exceptional run to the doubles finals alongside Jelena Ostapenko in Beijing was ended by the skilled duo of Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Sofia Kenin. Yet, that experience should serve to improve Yastremska’s confidence and allow her to look to end points at the net.
Peng Shuai is another experienced doubles player who will not shy away from ending points on her terms. The Chinese will offset Yastremska’s power with stealth and craft, putting the Ukrainian in uncomfortable positions. It’s the Peng serve which is a deficit, especially against the #3 seed’s punishing return. Yastremska will power through Peng for a straight sets win.
Prediction: Yastremska in 2
Main Photo from Getty.