WTA Dubai Day 2 Predictions Including Irina-Camelia Begu vs Garbine Muguruza

Garbine Muguruza in action ahead of the WTA Dubai Tennis Championships.
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Day two at the WTA Dubai Tennis Championships should feature plenty of entertaining tennis, with a number of star names set to take to the court. As ever, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for every match on the slate, including Angelique Kerber vs Caroline Garcia, Fiona Ferro vs Elise Mertens and Shelby Rogers vs Kaia Kanepi. But who will book their place in the second round?

WTA Dubai Tennis Championships Day Two Predictions

Madison Keys vs Liang En-shuo

Head-to-head: first meeting

Not for the first time, it was feast or famine for Madison Keys at the WTA Qatar Open, as the American opened her campaign with a crushing 6-1 6-4 win over Belinda Bencic only to lose in equally one-sided fashion to Maria Sakkari in the second round. However, it would be a significant surprise were she to prove unable to negotiate the challenge posed by Liang En-shuo of Taipei, who she is set to battle for a place in the second round at the WTA Dubai Tennis Championships.

The gulf in experience between the pair is significant. Whilst Keys has been ranked inside the world’s top ten, Liang has never been higher than world #150 and her career-prize money earnings of $150k pale beside the $12 million that Keys has collected. Liang did play very well to come through the qualifying, beating Monica Niculescu and the struggling Misaki Doi, but this will almost certainly be a challenge too far for the 20-year-old if Keys plays anything like her best tennis.

Prediction: Keys in 2
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Anett Kontaveit vs Timea Babos

Head-to-head: first meeting

It has been a season of missed opportunities for Anett Kontaveit so far in 2021. The Estonian has played some fine tennis, but has relatively little to show for it. Admittedly, that is not entirely her own doing, with the cancellation of the final at the WTA Grampians Trophy denying Kontaveit the chance to win her first WTA title since she lifted the trophy in Rosmalen in 2017. But she looks to have been handed a relatively kind first-round draw at the WTA Dubai Tennis Championships.

Timea Babos’ chances should not be entirely discounted, but the Hungarian’s commendable successes on the doubles have not been met with corresponding achievements in singles. Instead, Babos has slipped from her career-high ranking of world #25 to outside the top 100. She has not yet managed to get beyond the second round at any of the four tournaments she has played in 2021 and up against the in-form Kontaveit, it is hard to see her improving on that.

Prediction: Kontaveit in 2
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Misaki Doi vs Polona Hercog

Head-to-head: Hercog 3-2 Doi

For the second time in as many weeks, Doi has been handed a reprieve as a lucky loser. Last week, the Japanese managed to take advantage of her good fortune by beating Zheng Saisai in the first round, but she will face what looks like a stern test in Polona Hercog in her opener at the WTA Dubai Tennis Championships. The Slovenian has won just one match so far this season, but she has had the better of her rivalry with Doi, winning three of their five previous matches. And, in truth, after how poorly Doi played against Liang in the final round of qualifying, it is hard to put much faith in her chances against Hercog.

Prediction: Hercog in 3
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Tereza Martincova vs Kristyna Pliskova

Head-to-head: Martincova 2-1 Pliskova

If their previous matches are anything to go by, this all-Czech battle between Tereza Martincova and Kristyna Pliskova should be a match worth watching. But it is also hard to escape the conclusion that it is a match that Martincova should win. The 26-year-old had to work hard to come through the qualifying, edging out her compatriot Lucie Hradecka before beating Holland’s Lesley Kerkhove in three-sets. That should have given her a degree of familiarity with the conditions in Dubai.

Pliskova, in contrast, has struggled for the most part in 2021. She did manage to negotiate the qualifying last week in Doha, but was well-beaten in the first-round by Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and she is still looking for her first tour-level win of the season as a result. With Martincova having won both of their last two meetings, including in similar conditions at the WTA Qatar Open last season, expect her to once again emerge with the win, even if she has to go the distance to get it.

Prediction: Martincova in 3
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Irina-Camelia Begu vs Garbine Muguruza

Head-to-head: Muguruza 3-1 Begu

Garbine Muguruza may have arrived at the WTA Dubai Tennis Championships fresh from receiving a hiding in the final in Doha at the hands of Petra Kvitova, but that should not distract unduly from what has been an impressive 2021 so far for the Spaniard. She has already reached two finals and although she has lost both without winning a set, she has looked to be getting back towards her best. That does not bode well for Irina-Camelia Begu.

The Romanian has played some good tennis herself so far this season, notably reaching the quarterfinals at the WTA Gippsland Trophy and the WTA Phillips Island Trophy, and she should be match sharp after coming through the qualifying. But she has won just won of her four matches against Muguruza and will surely struggle to match the former-world #1 in the baseline exchanges. Expect this to be a relatively comfortable outing for Muguruza.

Prediction: Muguruza in 2

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