WTA Prague Open Day 4 Predictions including Simona Halep vs Barbora Krejcikova

Simona Halep in action at the WTA Prague Open

After an intriguing start to the WTA Prague Open, day four in the Czech capital sees five second-round matches on the slate, with the world #2 amongst those in action. But who will book their place in the quarterfinals in Prague?

WTA Prague Open Day Four Predictions

Irina-Camelia Begu vs Leonie Kung

Head-to-head: first meeting

Irina-Camelia Begu produced an excellent performance to see off ninth seed Anastasija Sevastova in comfortable fashion in the first round. She broke the Latvian, who reached the semifinals at the US Open in 2018, six times in the first set and twice more in the second en route to a 6-2 6-2 win. If Begu returns as well against the 19-year-old Leonie Kung in the second round, then it looks likely to be a difficult day at the office for the young gun.

The Swiss lost in the final round of qualifying to Mayar Sherif in three sets, but was given a reprieve as a lucky loser and she took full advantage of that good fortune by beating Aliona Bolsova. It was another disappointing outing for Bolsova, with the Spaniard having been in poor form and managing just seven games in a 4-6 3-6 loss. But it was nonetheless a fine win for Kung, who earlier this season reached the final at the Hua Hin Championships.

But it seems unlikely that she will manage of repeat of that run at the WTA Prague Open. Kung is making impressive progress and her record of 22-9 in 2020 is a testament to that. But Begu has enough experience and quality, particularly in her return game, to put the Swiss under pressure from early on in the match. Expect Begu to pounce on the Kung serve and to secure her passage in to the quarterfinals in what is this pair’s first meeting.

Prediction: Begu in 2
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Magdalena Frech vs Arantxa Rus

Head-to-head: Rus 1-0 Frech

Magdalena Frech is another lucky loser to have taken advantage of being handed a place in the main draw as a lucky loser. After being defeated in the third round of qualifying by the veteran Lesia Tsurenko, the Pole rebounded to beat Elena-Gabriela Ruse in straight sets. In the first set, Frech showed commendable fighting spirit. She recovered from spurning several set points, before saving Ruse set points in the ensuing tiebreak and eventually winning it.

That proved to be decisive, with Frech wrapping up a straight-sets victory by taking the second 6-3. That was a continuation of her good form, with Frech winning two exhibitions in her native Poland whilst the season was suspended. She will next face Arantxa Rus, who took advantage of some poor errors from Anastasia in a first-round. Rus was particularly impressive when under pressure, saving nine of the 11 break points forced by her opponent.

She may well need to repeat that in what looks likely to be a very close match. Their only previous contest came on the grass courts at Wimbledon last season, with Rus recording a comprehensive 6-2 6-4 win. But in the slower conditions at the WTA Prague Open, expect Frech to be more competitive. Nonetheless, Rus, who produced an excellent serving performance against the power Pavlyuchenkova, should have enough to reach the quarterfinals.

Prediction: Rus in 3
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Laura Siegemund vs Sara Sorribes Tormo

Head-to-head: Sorribes Tormo 1-0 Siegemund

Laura Siegemund came from a set down to defeat the Egyptian qualifier Mayar Sherif, ultimately claiming a relatively comfortable 4-6 6-0 6-1 win. Sherif, despite a spirited start, proved unable to contend with the power, accuracy and depth of the German’s groundstrokes. But Sara Sorribes Tormo was equally impressive in her first-round win over the experienced Barbora Strycova, with the Spaniard laying down a marker with a 7-6 6-1 win.

This will be the second meeting between the pair. Siegemund will be hoping for a very different outcome this time, with Sorribes Tormo having thrashed her for the loss of only one game when they last faced off. But with that match having been played in similar conditions on European clay at the Croatia Open, it is difficult to find reasons to expect a markedly different result. All the more so after Sorribes Tormo’s performance in the first round. Expect the Spaniard to reach the quarterfinals.

Prediction: Sorribes Tormo in 2
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Eugenie Bouchard vs Tamara Zidansek

Head-to-head: Zidansek 1-0 Bouchard

It appears that the stories of Bouchard using the extended break in the season caused by the coronavirus pandemic to work on her game were well-founded. Despite having fallen outside the top 300 after a terrible run of form over the past 18 months, the Canadian dominated Veronika Kudermetova in the first round at the WTA Prague Open. Her serve and groundstrokes were working well and she seemed to have real faith in her game.

Tamara Zidansek, meanwhile, saw her first-round clash with the Czech Katerina Siniakova stretch over two days. But the Slovenian finished with a flourish, winning the decider to love to complete a 6-3 3-6 6-0 win. That will surely give her real confidence heading into the last 16. As will her victory over Bouchard in their only previous meeting, which came in three hard-fought sets in the first round at the All England Club in 2019.

Recently, Bouchard has struggled to string together good performances, which does much to explain her rather ignominious slide down the WTA rankings. But it should not be forgotten that the Canadian is a Grand Slam finalist who has been ranked as high as 5th in the world. Zidansek may currently be ranked above her, but Bouchard arguably has the higher ceiling of the two. If she can find something approaching her best, as she did in the first round, expect her to battle into the last eight.

Prediction: Bouchard in 3
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Simona Halep vs Barbora Krejcikova

Head-to-head: Halep 1-0 Krejcikova

Simona Halep was taken to the brink in the first round against Polona Hercog. It took a third-set tiebreak to settle the contest, with Halep sealing the match at the seventh attempt. Having not played since February, rustiness perhaps contributed to the world #2’s struggles, but Hercog is a player who has troubled Halep throughout her career. What may be concerning to the rest of the field is just how determined Halep was in battling past the Slovenian.

Barbora Krejcikova, meanwhile, played well against Patricia Maria Tig, beating the Romanian in straight sets. It was certainly a good day on serve for Krejcikova, with the Czech making 67% of her first serves and winning 73% of the points behind her first deliveries. But against a player of Halep’s quality, even if the reigning Wimbledon champion is still finding her feet after a long layoff, Krejcikova may need to improve those numbers.

She did take a set off Halep on clay in Bucharest, however, with that match their only previous meeting. It was a particularly impressive effort from Krejcikova with Halep playing in front of her home crowd. And with Krejcikova now on home turf, albeit without a Czech crowd, it would not be a surprise to see her take Halep the distance again. But in Bucharest, Halep was eventually able to get the better of the Czech and she should manage to repeat that at the WTA Prague Open.

Prediction: Halep in 3

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