Day 2 at the WTA Qatar Open in Doha saw a few seeded players sent packing. Fifth seed Elina Svitolina lost her opener to American phenom Amanda Anisimova. Anisimova had more than 80% of her first serves in play and broke on 50% of her opportunities. The 17th seed, Donna Vekic fell in straight sets to another young gun, Poland’s Iga Swiatek. Petra Martic couldn’t survive the decider, as Barbora Strycova rallied for the win. Seeded 12th, Marketa Vondrousova came out on the wrong end of a three set clash with Zheng Saisai. The 13th seed Alison Riske was exited by compatriot Jen Brady.
How will the seeded players fare on Day 3? Here’s a look at four intriguing Round of 32 matches. We also have predictions for two other sets of matches. One features Ashleigh Barty vs Laura Siegemund, while the other headlines Dayana Yastremska vs Sofia Kenin.
WTA Doha Day 3 Predictions
Carla Suarez Navarro vs Petra Kvitova
Head to head: Suarez Navarro 6-6 Kvitova
An interest split – Carla Suarez Navarro and Petra Kvitova each own 50% of the wins. Obviously, this rivalry has existed for more than a decade; and, Kvitova has won five of the last six bouts. This will be their first skirmish since 2018. So much has changed over the last two year with Kvitova playing at perhaps her best.
Suarez Navarro had a nice win over Zhang Shuai. After a close first set, the Spaniard took control of the second set not allowing the Chinese a single game. It’s doubtful that will repeat against an elite player like Kvitova. In fact, quite the opposite is likely. Kvitova’s powerful forehand can blow nearly any opponent off the court. Expect a decisive win from the Czech.
Prediction: Kvitova in 2
Vera Zvonareva vs Zheng Saisai
Head to head: First meeting
Vera Zvonareva made a nice start in her Doha campaign. She overcame the crafty Hsieh Su-Wei in a decisive straight sets win. Where Hsieh lacks power and relies on her tricky, unpredictable play, Zheng combines that level of craft with an uncanny ability to retrieve balls and add pace. This will be a much sterner test for the returning Russian, and one she will find difficult to pass.
Prediction: Zheng in 3
Elise Mertens vs Yulia Putintseva
Head to head: Mertens 1-0 Putintseva
Elise Mertens had little resistance from Wang in her opening round. The defending champion tempered her game and added more shape to her balls to negate the windy conditions. It was a clinical performance which allowed Mertens to sail through to a 6-1, 6-2 win. A near repeat of her last encounter with Wang last week in Dubai. Putintseva should be nothing more than a blip on Mertens radar.
Prediction: Mertens in 2
Anett Kontaveit vs Aryna Sabalenka
Head to head: Kontaveit 0-1 Sabalenka
Anett Kontaveit had a nice straight sets win against Sevastova, thanks to six aces and 40 winners. Now comes the task of contending with Aryna Sabalenka’s power. Sabalenka can misfire, creating a sky high error count. However, the World #13 has been controlling the aggression allowing fewer errors. Assuming the Belorussian is playing with control, Sabalenka should make a deep run in Doha.
Prediction: Sabalenka in 2
Main Photo from Getty.