Day 4 of the US Open means that we’re wrapping up the second round. There are 16 matches on Thursday, and we at LWOT are here to predict all of them. Who will move on to the third round? We share our thoughts. In addition to this set of predictions, we also have three more groups. One features Serena Williams vs Margarita Gasparyan, the next headlines Amanda Anisimova vs Katrina Scott, and the final group features Johanna Konta vs Sorana Cirstea. Predicting this set of matches are Tracey Essex, Damian Kust, and myself (Yesh Ginsburg).
US Open Day 4 Predictions
Sofia Kenin vs Leylah Fernandez
It looks like the reigning Australian Open champion has shaken off the pandemic induced rust and has come to the US Open with winning on her mind. Dispatching Yanina Wickmayer in just over an hour with the loss of just four games clearly demonstrates that Kenin is focused and on point. The danger in this match-up with Leylah Fernandez will be the Canadian’s nothing-to-lose mentality. Expect the teen to push Kenin in the first set. When Kenin figures out the Fernandez game, the second set will be smooth sailing for the second seed.
Prediction: Kenin in 2
Kenin has not stayed at the form that won her the Australian Open back in January, but she is always capable of it. Her game can frustrate any opponent. The Canadian is a rising star who will surely take her place among the elites shortly, but she is also young and susceptible to Kenin’s variety.
Prediction: Kenin in 3
Perhaps one of the best clashes of the second round. Kenin is far from her Australian Open disposition and she will almost surely get tested here. The 17-year-old Leylah Fernandez is an excellent prospect and already has a game that can threaten the very creme de la creme of the women’s game. This will be the biggest game of her life and it will be interesting to see whether she’ll be able to take it mentally. Based on what we’ve seen from her, it’s possible.
Prediction: Fernandez in 3
Sloane Stephens vs Olga Govortsova
It was a rare opening round win for the struggling Sloane Stephens. Even in victory, she was broken twice and had more unforced errors than winners. Definitely not the stats she’ll need for a deep run in Flushing Meadows. While Govortsova hasn’t gone deep in a tournament post-pandemic, she’s showing much more promise than the American. While oddsmakers are giving a slight edge to Stephens, I’m picking Govortsova in three tight sets.
Prediction: Govortsova in 3
This match, like almost every match she plays nowadays, will be on the Stephens racket. If she shows up and plays well, she’ll win, and probably pretty easily. If she can’t find her form, which happens so often, she could lose to anyone. How do you predict this? I have no idea.
Prediction: Stephens in 3
The 2017 champion hasn’t been quite herself in a long time and is extremely vulnerable to prolonged periods of terrible play. Still, a certain level is required if you want to get through her counterpunching and I’m not convinced Govortsova has it. Stephens played some of her best tennis in a while against Mihaela Buzarnescu and while she’s far from a title favorite, she should have more than enough to get through here.
Prediction: Stephens in 3
Maria Sakkari vs Bernarda Pera
Nearly identical game styles and similar strengths will make this one close. I expect Pera’s lefty spin to give Sakkari a bit of trouble. Where Sakkari will find a pain point is the Pera serve which will move away from the Grecian’s backhand. Also, Pera seems to have a bit more variety and a stronger net game – both of which will frustrate the #15 seed. With athleticism on full display, this one will go the distance and the winner decided by who plays the cleaner game.
Prediction: Pera in 3
Sakkari didn’t look great last round, but she has looked very good all month. Assuming she finds her form again, she should win this pretty easily.
Prediction: Sakkari in 2
Maria Sakkari struggled mightily against Stefanie Voegele in the opening round, which came as a surprise given her good form after the restart. Still, I’ll trust that it was just a small dip and she’ll be back to playing well in no time. Bernarda Pera is a pretty solid opponent, but one that should allow her enough time to find her shots.
Prediction: Sakkari in 3
Victoria Azarenka vs Aryna Sabalenka
This is definitely the most intriguing match of the day. Sabalenka and Azarenka know each other’s games well. As Fed Cup teammates, there won’t be any secrets. Yet, it’s Azarenka who’s on an upward trajectory. The elder Belorusian is one of the best returners on the WTA. Expect Azarenka to easily transition from defense to attack, redirecting Sabalenka’s power into down-the-line winners. It won’t be quite that straightforward in what should be an epic three-set battle. But, I do expect Azarenka to emerge victorious in this one.
This should be one of the best matches of the tournament, and it’s an absolute shame that we get it in the second round. Azarenka is in form we haven’t seen from her in years, while Sabalenka looks like a future champion that is about to arrive. This should be a hard-hitting great baseline contest, but I’ll go with Azarenka, who is slightly more consistent.
Prediction: Azarenka in 3
This could be an absolute blockbuster, although a lot depends on Aryna Sabalenka’s performance. The younger of the Belorussians cannot find her game at all and with her hard-hitting style, it often turns her into an error machine. Azarenka’s suddenly playing tennis somewhat reminiscent of her best career years and will be very hard to beat with all the confidence she’s amassed in the past week or so.
Prediction: Azarenka in 3
Main Photo from Getty.