It’s been an exciting week in Strasbourg and the WTA action continues on Day 4! We have a high-profile matchup on our hands, with Kiki Bertens taking on Jelena Ostapenko, along with three other top-notch matches to watch! Who will rise to the occasion and who will fall short? Read on to find out!
WTA Strasbourg Day 4 Predictions
Zarina Diyas vs Nao Hibino
Head to Head: 2-1 Hibino
Zarina Diyas picked up a tight first round win over Christina McHale to start her campaign in Strasbourg. Although Diyas is certainly not a clay courter, coming back from a set down to beat a solid player like McHale for her first win after the restart was encouraging. Nao Hibino also picked up her first victory since the hiatus, taking down Sloane Stephens in three sets. While Stephens was far from her best, Hibino still was consistent from the baseline and let Stephens self-destruct.
Hibino leads the head to head 2-1, although they’ve never played on clay. Given that Hibino lost to current World No. 629 Melania Delai last week in Rome qualifications, it’s unclear how much stock to into her win over an unfocused Stephens. I think that Diyas’ first round win against McHale was actually a little more impressive and I trust her ground game a little more than I do Hibino’s on clay. Diyas moves on in a tight match.
Prediction: Diyas in 3
Ekaterina Alexandrova vs Katerina Siniakova
Head to Head: 3-2 Alexandrova
Ekaterina Alexandrova destroyed lucky loser Storm Sanders in the first round, only losing one game. It was a welcomed result for Alexandrova, who finally was able to find her powerful game. Katerina Siniakova defeated Bernarda Pera from a set down to reach the second round of Strasbourg. Siniakova counterpunched well and also forced Pera to go for more on her shots due to Siniakova’s excellent defensive skills.
Alexandrova leads the head to head 3-2. They played earlier this season in Shenzhen (hard court tournament) and Alexandrova won in straight sets. This is a contrast in styles, as Alexandrova is very aggressive and Siniakova likes to play defense more. Alexandrova ultimately will be able to hit through Siniakova, but it won’t be easy.
Prediction: Alexandrova in 3
Anna Blinkova vs Aryna Sabalenka
Head to Head: 1-0 Sabalenka
Anna Blinkova started off the tournament strong, easily beating lucky loser Myrtille Georges in the first round. Blinkova has played good clay court tennis since the restart. Aryna Sabalenka had a comfortable first round win over Ellen Perez. Sabalenka had a solid serving performance, winning 69% of first serves and 61% of second serves.
Sabalenka leads the head to head 1-0, but that victory was in a 2017 grass court match. Blinkova’s been consistent from the baseline and taken her opportunities when they are there. Sabalenka relies much more on power, but can be erratic from the baseline. I trust Blinkova’s steady game more than Sabalenka’s power on clay, given that Blinkova has the defensive ability to cause Sabalenka to overhit quite often. Blinkova advances.
Prediction: Blinkova in 3
Kiki Bertens vs Jelena Ostapenko
Head to Head: 2-1 Bertens
Kiki Bertens played a really rough match last week in Rome against Polona Hercog, losing in straight sets. Bertens was clearly rusty in her first match back after the pandemic. Jelena Ostapenko started Strasbourg well, taking down Lauren Davis in straight sets. Ostapenko cut down on her double fault problem from her previous match in Rome against Magda Linette, only hitting four doubles.
Bertens leads the head to head 2-1, including a straight sets win in Madrid last season. Bertens is typically a very good clay court player, however, given her performance last week, it gives me a higher level of concern for this match. It’s easy to forget that Ostapenko is a French Open champion, but she can play on the dirt. Groundstrokes sit up in Ostapenko’s strike zone and allow her to put her opponents on the back foot. While Davis is not a clay courter, Ostapenko still beat her handily. She will eventually overpower an erratic Bertens and move on to the quarterfinals.
Prediction: Ostapenko in 3
Main Photo from Getty.