WTA Dubai Quarterfinal Predictions including Simona Halep vs Aryna Sabalenka

Day 4 is quarterfinal day at the WTA Dubai Duty-Free Championships. The heat turns up another few notches as the quarterfinals are all played on the same day, and it looks like a real extravaganza of tennis for the fans.
We have previews and predictions of all four quarterfinals.

WTA Dubai Quarterfinal Predictions

Jennifer Brady vs Garbine Muguruza

Head-to-Head Record: First meeting

As the only quarterfinalist ranked outside the top 50 in the world, it would be easy to rule out Brady’s chances. However, the American is nothing if not determined and tenacious and probably wants people to count her out.

Brady lost her first set in her five matches in Dubai last time out against Marketa Vondrousova but by the end of the match, Brady was again dominant. Muguruza, meanwhile, had to battle really hard against Veronika Kudermetova to progress in three sets.

The players’ respective records on hard court over a calendar year is actually very similar. Both have won 71% of their matches, but they go about it in very different ways. Brady holds serve 75% of her service games whereas Muguruza doesn’t hold serve as frequently but breaks her opponents more often.

If Muguruza can get a handle on Brady’s serve then she should win this match in straight sets, but I believe it’s more likely that we will see a three-set encounter. Brady’s stamina is going to start to be called into question soon, as this is her sixth match of the tournament and a third set here might just be her limit. Muguruza could just outlast the American and capitalise late on.
Prediction: Muguruza in 3

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Petra Martic vs Anett Kontaveit

Head-to-Head Record: First meeting

Both players have gotten to this stage of the tournament without dropping a set. Martic probably had the easier time of it in the previous round, beating Barbora Strycova comfortably. Kontaveit had to really battle against the attacking Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

The Estonian went a break down three times in the first set and still won it. That was impressive but she outdid that in the second set, going a break down, then saving two set points before breaking back twice in succession to win the match. Ruthless.

On that form, Kontaveit may have a slight edge, which is also backed up statistically. She has won 12% more matches than Martic on a hard court this year. The Croatian has excellent serving statistics but really struggles on return, whereas Kontaveit is far more consistent. Expect Kontaveit to progress here, but probably in a similarly dramatic fashion to last time.
Prediction: Kontaveit in 2

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Elena Rybakina vs Karolina Pliskova

Head-to-Head Record: First meeting

The runaway train from Kazakhstan shows no sign of slowing. Rybakina beat Katerina Siniakova mainly by virtue of being excellent in breakpoint situations. She saved six out of eight on her own delivery and took five from seven that she created.

Pliskova was controlled and easy in her first match of the tournament against Kristina Mladenovic. She lost only three games and didn’t face a breakpoint. Winning 22 out of 26 on her first delivery certainly helped, as did dominating the Frenchwoman’s second delivery, winning 62% of points.

Rybakina faced a big serve in the final of St. Petersburg last week in Kiki Bertens and failed to create anything against it, this would be a concern ahead of this match. However, Bertens was also able to get into rallies and chase down Rybakina’s groundstrokes, Pliskova won’t be able to do that. The Kazakh certainly showed grit and fighting spirit and patience in her win over Sofia Kenin but this quarterfinal may just be a leap too far for her this time.

Pliskova should be too strong on serve for the youngster and be able to use that to create pressure points on the Rybakina serve. If the Kazakh comes through the test then so be it, but Pliskova gets the nod here.
Prediction: Pliskova in 2

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Simona Halep vs Aryna Sabalenka

Head-to-Head Record: Halep 2-1 Sabalenka

Halep put in an excellent effort to come back against Ons Jabeur. She rode her luck somewhat but also demonstrated her champion qualities in battling it out. She was far from her best though, and that is a worry for this match.

I predicted Sabalenka to have trouble against Elise Mertens, but in reality the Belarusian looked comfortable in most of the match. Mertens did trouble Sabalenka on serve, breaking three times. But Sabalenka attacked Mertens really hard at every chance she had and dominated Mertens’ second serve, winning a massive 73% of points there.

Halep has a similarly attackable second delivery when she isn’t totally on form and Sabalenka certainly got her eye in for that. Sabalenka won their last meeting earlier this year in straight sets, though Halep probably wasn’t 100% tuned up then and felt she had done enough to prepare for the Australian Open. Halep beat Sabalenka twice on hard courts before that but that was when Sabalenka was ranked much lower than she currently is.

Sabalenka should be favourite for this match and I can see her winning it in straight sets. It may well go similarly to the Mertens match with Sabalenka threatening Halep on her serve consistently. It will then be down to Halep to get into Sabalenka’s serve, which may not be so easy.
Prediction: Sabalenka in 2

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Disagree with our WTA Dubai Quarterfinal Predictions? As always, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

(Comments, if enabled, are below this video.)

2 Responses You are logged in as Test

    1. I know right! In my defence, Pliskova took 1/10 BPs, Muguruza 1/10 BP, Kontaveit 1/7 BPs. Not good enough but still, pretty bad variance! Thanks for paying attention though 🙂

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