WTA Shenzhen Open Quarterfinal Predictions, Including Qiang Wang vs Ekaterina Alexandrova

Ekaterina Alexandrova Shenzhen Open quarterfinals

With just eight players left in the field, the Shenzhen Open is rapidly approaching its denouement and, after the two pre-tournament favourites made early exits, the competition looks to be wide open. But who will advance to the semifinals?

WTA Shenzhen Open Quarterfinal Predictions

Elena Rybakina vs Elise Mertens

Head-to-head: first meeting

At this time last year, Elena Rybakina was ranked 176th in the world. Twelve months, 57 wins and one WTA International title later, the 20-year-old has cracked the world’s top 40, sitting at #36 in the WTA rankings and looks to be in good position to rise further still in 2020. Having said that, the seventh seed has just two top 50 wins so far in her career and one of them came via retirement. That suggests that she could be in for a tough day up against world #17 Elise Mertens.

Particularly because the Belgian has only suffered one loss to a player ranked outside the top 20 since August, with that defeat coming at the hands of former-Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko in Luxembourg. The Latvian went on to win the tournament. According to Tennis Abstract’s forecast, Mertens is the most likely of the eight remaining players to emerge triumphant this week at the Shenzhen Open. Don’t expect Rybakina to spoil the party.

Prediction:  Mertens in 2
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Kateryna Bondarenko vs Kristyna Pliskova

Head-to-head: Bondarenko 1-0 Pliskova

Kateryna Bondarenko may have won this pair’s only previous meeting, but that 6-4 6-1 win in Bratislava in 2010 surely means almost nothing ten years down the line. The Ukrainian has collected 60 valuable rankings points this week that will vault her over 600 places in the WTA rankings, courtesy of impressive straight-sets wins over Misaki Doi and eighth seed Zhang Shuai, but it is hard to see her getting the better of Kristyna Pliskova.

The Czech has perhaps exceeded expectations so far at the Shenzhen Open, playing some superb tennis to advance to the quarterfinals. Her second-round victory over Aryna Sabalenka was particularly impressive, with Pliskova unplayable on serve against the defending champion. She fired down 15 aces and won 87% of the points behind her first delivery. If she can summon anything like that kind of level, she should prove too strong for the returning Bondarenko.

Prediction: Pliskova in 2
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Zarina Diyas vs Garbine Muguruza

Head-to-head: first meeting

Zarina Diyas and Garbine Muguruza both come into this quarterfinal in fine form, although neither will be entirely happy with their performance in the second round. Diyas, who is riding a seven match winning streak after winning an ITF title in Hong Kong last week, won the first set against Anna Blinkova at a canter, dropping just one game, only for the Russian to fightback to take it to a decider. But Diyas, despite dropping her first set of the season, held her nerve to close out a 6-1 6-7 6-4 win.

Muguruza too made a fast start to her round of 32 clash with Shelby Rogers and managed to claim a straight-sets win, withstanding a valiant fightback from the American to advance a 6-1 7-6 victor. This match, like most she plays in, will be on the Spaniard’s racquet. Diyas will likely try to keep the Spaniard off balance by varying the pace and spin she puts on the ball, but whilst that may well earn her a set, Muguruza’s greater power should prove the difference in the end.

Prediction: Muguruza in 3
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Ekaterina Alexandrova vs Wang Qiang

Head-to-head: first meeting

Ekaterina Alexandrova looked to be under the pump in the early going against Peng Shuai in the second round. But after saving set points, she never looked back. Dating back to her triumph in Limoges last month, Alexandrova has won seven consecutive matches and it shows. She trusts her game and that has proved invaluable so far at the Shenzhen Open, where she has played the big points that much better than her opponents and been rewarded with victory.

For her part, Wang Qiang somehow claimed a 6-4 0-6 7-6 victory against Aliaksandra Sasnovich. After a good showing in the first set, the match looked to have escaped Wang when the Belarusian stormed to the second set and into a 4-1 lead in the decider. But Wang hung tough and managed to dig herself out of trouble. But though that may give her confidence heading into this match, her uneven performance is concerning. Particularly because Alexandrova seems unlikely to fade as Sasnovich did.

Prediction: Alexandrova in 3

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