Finally, all the players will have been seen on court on Day 3 at the WTA Dubai Duty-Free Championships. There has already been some tremendous matches and shock exits from the tournament in round one.
Round 2 opens on Day 3, and we’re previewing and predicting all eight singles matches. This article contains four matches, and the other four are in a second article.
WTA Dubai Day 3 Predictions
Jennifer Brady vs Marketa Vondrousova
Head-to-Head Record: First meeting
Brady absolutely pulverized two-time Dubai champion Elina Svitolina in the first round. The Ukranian clearly isn’t playing her best at the moment but Brady certainly didn’t give her a chance to find any form.
Vondrousova is also searching for her best form but appears to be much close to it. The Czech served very well against Anastasija Sevastova and saved all breakpoints the Latvian created.
Despite the disparity in ranking between these players they appear to be quite evenly matched, especially on hard courts. Brady has really produced a lot of good performances in 2020 already and this could be a great chance for another. Vondrousova is probably the player with the higher quality game, but Brady has weapons and determination and she could take this in a close encounter.
Prediction: Brady in 3
Veronika Kudermetova vs Garbine Muguruza
Head-to-Head Record: First meeting
The Russian somehow managed to fight off Dayana Yastremska in the first-round. This was despite being 5-2 down in the final set. Kudermetova finally triumphed in the tiebreak and will have breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Muguruza may well have done the same after surviving a fightback by the returning Kim Clijsters. The Belgian look dead and buried at a set and 3-0 down but the sheer quality of shotmaking brought her back and the second set went to a tiebreak. That Muguruza was able to repel Clijsters showed that her own instincts and ability are right on point at the moment as well though.
Both women will bring a fairly similar game to court. Both are tall, with powerful serves and very clean groundstrokes. It is the movement of Muguruza which may swing the tie the Spaniard’s way. Muguruza also has a better return game, which she will need to utilize to get the better of the swiftly improving Russian.
Prediction: Muguruza in 3
Petra Martic vs Barbora Strycova
Head-to-Head Record: Martic 3-1 Strycova
Strycova scored a good victory over American prospect Amanda Anisimova, whilst Martic swept aside Su-Wei Hsieh in straight sets in round one. Neither victory would’ve struck fear into the heart of the rest of the draw, however.
In previous match-ups, the Croatian has had the advantage. In 2018 she won four sets from four, despite being ranked lower than Strycova at the time. Now Martic is riding high inside the top 20 it would be a surprise if she didn’t put in a good performance here.
Strycova took advantage of an Anisimova who is clearly struggling for a bit of momentum and belief at the moment. Neither player played their best and Martic will certainly pose a greater threat. I expect Martic to be stronger on serve than the American and she can certainly be imposing on return to a service as hittable as the Czech’s delivery. Expect the Croatian to advance here.
Prediction: Martic in 2
Kristina Mladenovic vs Karolina Pliskova
Head-to-Head Record: Pliskova 4-2 Mladenovic
There is an interesting dynamic at play in this match. This will be Mladenovic’s fifth match at the tournament, whilst Pliskova is making her bow here. It is difficult to say what effect this may have on the match, perhaps Mladenovic will be sharper early on due to familiarity with conditions. Either way, the Frenchwoman may need a small advantage to help her.
The pair played in the Australian Open first round and, though Mladenovic had her moments, it was the Czech who emerged victorious in straight sets. Pliskova may carry a bit of a mental hangover from the disappointment of that Grand Slam. She must have thought that she had a great opportunity but lost to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova before the tournament entered its second week.
Having said that, nothing much seems to faze Pliskova for too long. She is playing doubles with her twin sister, Krystina, this week and that will be putting a smile on her face, as well as getting her some court time.
It was in this very round three years ago that Mladenovic last defeated Pliskova, so the Frenchwoman will have that to use for inspiration. However, I think I have to go with more modern form and it would be a surprise to me if Mladenovic could find enough extra to turn around that straight-sets defeat in Australia. She may well take a set from the Czech but Pliskova should have the bullets to fire her to victory in the end.
Prediction: Pliskova in 3
Main Photo from Getty.
Disagree with our WTA Dubai Day 3 Predictions? As always, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.