WTA Yarra Valley Classic Day 3 Predictions Including Petra Kvitova vs Venus Williams

Venus Williams in action at the WTA Yarra Valley Classic

Day three at the WTA Yarra Valley Classic will see the field look to ramp up their preparations for the forthcoming Australian Open. There are a number of intriguing matches on the slate at Melbourne Park and, as ever, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for every match, including Ashleigh Barty vs Ana Bogdan. But who will reach the third round?

WTA Yarra Valley Classic Day Three Predictions

Camila Giorgi vs Sofia Kenin

Head-to-head: first meeting

For all Sofia Kenin’s talent, the extent of her success in 2020 was still something of a surprise, with the American winning the Australian Open before finishing as runner-up at the French Open. Indeed, so impressive were her performances on the big stage that her relative lack of success in between hardly seems relevant. However, she struggled on her return to action in Abu Dhabi, where she reached the quarterfinals but never found anything like her best tennis.

She may not welcome the potential challenge posed by Camila Giorgi as a result. The Italian is a more dangerous player than her ranking of world #76 suggests, with her fast hands allowing her to generate power off the ground that belies her diminutive stature. That said, she is not amongst the most consistent performers and whilst she impressed in dismissing Clara Burel 6-3 6-4 in the first round, Kenin will almost certainly provide sterner opposition than the French teenager.

In fact, the foundations of Kenin’s game is making life difficult for her opponent, whether that be by varying the looks she gives them or by forcing them to play one more shot. Giorgi is good enough to land some punishing blows against Kenin, particularly if she is allowed time to wind up off the forehand side, but Kenin sits 72 places above the Italian in the rankings for a reason. Expect it to be the Australian Open champion who ends up landing the knockout punch.

Prediction: Kenin in 3
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Aliona Bolsova vs Marie Bouzkova

Head-to-head: Bouzkova 1-0 Bolsova

Whilst Aliona Bolsova and Marie Bouzkova are understandably not at the forefront of attention, both look likely to have fine careers ahead of them. They certainly looked sharp in their WTA Yarra Valley Classic openers, with Bolsova hammering Indian #1 Ankita Raina for the loss of only three games and Bouzkova going one better by beating Samantha Stosur 6-2 6-0. One imagines that their second-round clash will be rather more competitive.

But it will likely be Bouzkova who is the more confident heading into the match. She won their only previous meeting, which was contested on a hard court in Monterrey in 2018, very comfortably and whilst Bolsova has improved in the interim, so too has the Czech. Crucially, as the result in Monterrey reflects, she is the more adept hard-court player. Expect Bouzkova to book her place in the round of 16 without encountering too many problems.

Prediction: Bouzkova in 2
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Nadia Podoroska vs Greet Minnen

Head-to-head: Podoroska 1-0 Minnen

It seems safe to assume that Greet Minnen will not remember her only previous meeting with Nadia Podoroska with much fondness, having found herself on the wrong end of a 1-6 2-6 hammering in the first round at Roland Garros. Of course, the Belgian was far from the only player to suffer a reverse at the Argentine’s hands in Paris last year, with Podoroska’s thrilling run from the qualifying into the semifinals one of the stories of the season.

However, it is still a result that inspires little confidence in Minnen’s chances. She did play well in beating Olga Danilovic 6-4 6-4 in her WTA Yarra Valley Classic opener, but Podoroska also looked very assured in her 6-1 6-3 win over Francesca Jones. Ultimately, whilst there is not a great deal between Podoroska and Minnen, the former is that much faster around the court and more accurate from the baseline. That should be enough to see her into the third round at Melbourne Park.

Prediction: Podoroska in 2

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Jessica Pegula vs Mona Barthel

Head-to-head: Pegula 1-1 Barthel

Mona Barthel may not be the force she once was, but the German rolled back the years in her first-round win against home hope Kimberly Birrell, hammering nine aces past the Australian, despite making just 38% of her first serves. Jessica Pegula, meanwhile, thrashed an out-of-sorts Kristina Mladenovic 6-1 6-4, a performance that will surely give her real confidence moving forward, even if the Frenchwoman was wayward throughout.

This pair have met twice previously, with Pegula winning 7-6 6-1 in Charleston in 2013 and Barthel avenging that defeat with a hard-fought 7-6 5-7 6-4 win in the second round at an ITF event in Nicholasville last season. That suggests that a close contest may well be in the offing here. But it is Pegula who has been the more consistent performer at the highest-level over the last two years. Expect her to edge out the big-hitting German.

Prediction: Pegula in 3
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Venus Williams vs Petra Kvitova

Head-to-head: Kvitova 4-3 Williams

If their previous contests are anything to go by, this could be some match. Venus Williams may well be approaching the end of her career, but the 40-year-old demonstrated that she is far from a spent force with a comprehensive 6-1 6-3 win over Arantxa Rus in the first round. She has also won both of her most recent meetings with Petra Kvitova, in 2017 in the US Open quarterfinals and in 2019 in Indian Wells in the second round.

However, what may be a concern for the American is that whilst she has lost little of her formidable power, both from the line and off the ground, she does not cover the court as well as she once did. That did not prove to be a major hindrance against the Dutchwoman Rus, who lacked the power to really trouble the eight-time Grand Slam champion, but Kvitova, if she can find anything like her best tennis, will be a very different proposition.

Quite how sharp she will be from the off is unclear, with this set to be the Czech’s first match since she lost 4-6 5-7 in the French Open semifinals to Sofia Kenin in the second week of October. But that time away from the court may prove to be a blessing for Kvitova, who has struggled to stay fit since returning to the sport in 2017. And ultimately, even if she does not hit the ground running immediately in this match, if she can get going she has the power to take the racquet out of Williams’ hands.

Prediction: Kvitova in 3

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