WTA Brisbane International Day 4 Predictions Including Naomi Osaka vs Sofia Kenin

Naomi Osaka Brisbane International Day Four

On what promises to be a sensational day of tennis in Queensland, the round of 16 at the WTA Brisbane International will reach its conclusion with five intriguing singles matches on the slate. But who will book their place in the quarterfinals in Brisbane?

Brisbane International Day Four Predictions

Ashleigh Barty vs Jennifer Brady

Head-to-head: Barty 2-0 Brady

If world #1 Ashleigh Barty could have hand-picked a member of the top 50 to start her singles season against she may well have chosen the USA’s Jennifer Brady. They met twice in 2019 and the American won just nine games. Barty will of course be under pressure to perform in front of the Australian crowd after her incredible season in 2019. But she should also be full of confidence as the world #1 and has thrived on pressure thus far in her career.

Brady, meanwhile, should be well-accustomed to the conditions at the Brisbane International after coming through the qualifying in Queensland. And she is clearly enjoying those conditions, having won her three qualifying matches without dropping a set, scoring comprehensive wins over Chloe Paquet, Francesco Di Lorenzo and home hope Storm Sanders, before rallying past former-world #1 Maria Sharapova, 3-6 6-1 7-6, in the first round.

Expect this to be a closer contest than their 2019 matches, with Barty likely to be somewhat rusty, despite having played two doubles matches so far in Brisbane, and Brady in fine form. But whilst Brady will, as ever, give it her all, it would nonetheless be a major shock if Barty’s quality did not ultimately tell in her favour. But Brady may well be able to take a set off the Australian for the first time, particularly if Barty takes some time to find her rhythm.

Prediction: Barty in 3
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Ludmilla Samsonova vs Petra Kvitova

Head-to-head: first meeting

In her first match of the season, fifth seed Petra Kvitova, who last year reached the Australian Open final, dropped the first set to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, but roared back to seal what was ultimately a convincing 2-6 6-1 6-0 victory. Ludmilla Samsonova, meanwhile, is the lowest-ranked player left in the draw and one of just three qualifiers still standing at the Brisbane International. But the Russian young gun has been playing some superb tennis so far this week.

After scraping past Australian Kaylah McPhee in the first round of qualifying, Samsonova hammered Kiki Mladenovic 6-1 6-4 before securing her place in the main draw with a 7-6 6-4 win over Ukrainian teenager Marta Kostyuk. She received a tough first-round assignment in the shape of 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens, but delivered a remarkable performance to upend the American in three, despite hitting 14 double faults and managing to make only 49% of her first serves.

Key to her triumph was how well she played the big points. Samsonova saved nine of the 12 break point opportunities Stephens created, whilst converting three of the five she forced. Kvitova, however, seems likely to be rather more ruthless than Stephens, who endured a difficult 2019. The Czech’s game was firing against Pavlyuchenkova after a slow start and if she can maintain that level, she will almost certainly prove too strong for Samsonova.

Prediction: Kvitova in 2
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Kiki Bertens vs Anett Kontaveit

Head-to-head: Bertens 2-1 Kontaveit

This promises to be a close contest, with little to split the pair on the stats sheet. Looking at the data on hard courts, Bertens has been the more impressive from the line, holding 74% of her service games over the last 12 months. However, Kontaveit has a more impressive record when returning, having broken in 35.5% of her opponents’ service games in the same period. Something will have to give in this match then.

Bertens should have shaken off any off-season rust after negotiating a tricky opening-round test up against Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska, who enjoyed a breakthrough 2019. The Dutchwoman had to go the distance to get the better of the world #22, but eventually emerged a deserved 6-4 1-6 6-3 victor, having displayed commendable determination and mental fortitude. Kontaveit, meanwhile, had a more routine outing, beating the often tricky Su-wei Hsieh in straight-sets, despite only winning six points behind her second delivery.

She will almost certainly need to make a sharp improvement on that figure against Bertens if she is to have any chance of reaching the last eight at the Brisbane International. Bertens may prefer the clay to the Plexicushion hard courts of Australia, but she is an established top-ten star for a reason. Though she lacks the standout strengths of some of her peers, she also has no real weaknesses, whilst Kontaveit remains slightly erratic. Expect it to go the distance, but for Bertens to come out on top.

Prediction: Bertens in 3
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Ajla Tomljanovic vs Karolina Pliskova

Head-to-head: Pliskova 4-1 Tomljanovic

Ajla Tomljanovic is probably sick of the sight of Karolina Pliskova. The pair met on three occasions in 2019 with Pliskova emerging victorious in all three matches. The first instalment of that trilogy came at this very event, with the Czech claiming a seesawing 6-1 1-6 6-1 win in the quarterfinals and going on to win the title. In fact, Pliskova’s recent record in Australia is outstanding, with the world #2 adding a semifinal showing at Melbourne Park to her triumph at the Brisbane International.

It seems that hot high temperatures and the pacey court surfaces Down Under play to the Czech’s strengths, but she will need to guard against rust with this match her first outing in singles in 2020. Tomljanovic, in contrast, already has a tough three-setter under her belt this season, having edged out her compatriot Priscilla Hon in the first round. But she did not help her cause in that match, only landing a woeful 48% of her first serves.

With the greatest of respect due to Hon, little in that performance suggested that Tomljanovic will be able to overcome her poor record against Pliskova. The Czech should be ready for this match physically, having played and won a doubles match partnering with Croatia’s Donna Vekic, and she clearly enjoys playing in Brisbane. Tomljanovic will have the crowd with her, but don’t expect Pliskova to encounter too many problems in starting her title defence.

Prediction: Pliskova in 2
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Naomi Osaka vs Sofia Kenin

Head-to-head: Kenin 2-1 Osaka

The burgeoning rivalry between the USA’s Sofia Kenin and Japan’s Naomi Osaka looks set to provide tennis fans with entertainment for years to come, with both women still very much in the early stages of their careers. Both also should be well-prepared for this clash after coming through tough first-round encounters. Kenin edged past Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova, 7-6 6-4, with her tactical awareness once again coming to the fore.

Osaka, meanwhile, battled past Maria Sakkari of Greece, 6-2 6-7 6-3. What won Osaka the match was her ability to put pressure on Sakkari’s service games by holding in her own thanks to some high-quality serving. That has not always been Osaka’s strongest suit, but she was excellent from the line against the Greek, dropping just one of her fifteen service games and striking 16 aces. That will surely give her real confidence heading into a crucial part of the season.

Of course, the fact that she hasn’t lost a match since her US Open title defence was ended in the fourth round by Belinda Bencic will also help. Kenin, meanwhile, is typically consistent, but has had relatively little joy against the sport’s elite. And although she has had the better of this rivalry, her two wins do come with asterisks. The first was at an ITF clay-court event back in 2014, whilst her second came via an Osaka retirement. She has the quality to push Osaka, make no mistake, but the Japanese’s power should prove the difference here.

Prediction: Osaka in 3
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