Rivalries will be renewed in what promises to be a day of thrilling tennis at the WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. 16 second round matches will be played on Tuesday, and we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for all 16, including Amanda Anisimova vs Garbine Muguruza, Alize Cornet vs Aryna Sabalenka and Petra Kvitova vs Jil Teichmann. But who will reach the third round?
WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Day 3 Predictions
Anastasija Sevastova vs Karolina Pliskova
Head-to-head: Sevastova 2-2 Pliskova
The weight of expectation has taken its toll on Karolina Pliskova. She has mixed recent results, and arrives in Dubai slightly unsighted. That could count in Pliskova’s favor. When the shackles are off, the tall Czech is lethal and swings freely from the back of the court. Pliskova will renew a rivalry with Anastasija Sevastova which has been long overdue. They haven’t played each other since the 2017 season, the same year in which the Latvian streaked into the semifinals of the Dubai Championships. Sevastova’s nimbleness and change of pace is a nightmare for big hitters, but Pliskova is adept to counter this with clinical hitting.
Prediction: Pliskova in 3
Kiki Bertens vs Tereza Martincova
Head-to-head: first meeting
Kiki Bertens’ return to tennis last week was a huge letdown. Not taking the gloss away from a fine Ostapenko performance, but when you only win two games in the entire match against the Latvian who is known for being an error-prone counterpuncher, something must be seriously lacking. For Bertens, it was her fitness levels. She hadn’t played since last year’s French Open, and is coming back from an Achilles surgery.
Bertens’ opponent in Dubai, Tereza Martincova, has also frequented the treatment table in recent months. In fact she retired midway through her second round match in Lyon last week with a back problem. And the Czech may have jeopardized her chances here after navigating her way through qualifying, needing two three-set matches to book her spot in the main draw. She did score a fine win over Kristyna Pliskova in the first round and is naturally acclimatized to the fast hard courts of Dubai. The Dutchwoman will need to work her way into the thick of things, and Martincova won’t have a better chance of posting a maiden top 20 win.
Prediction: Martincova in 3
Barbora Krejcikova vs Jelena Ostapenko
Head-to-head: Krejcikova 0-3 Ostapenko
This is a first meeting in the main draw of WTA event between these two players, but Ostapenko has terrific past record against Krejcikova on the Juniors tour. The Czech, however, remains a feisty competitor who will toil with top players on her best days. That was evident in her upset win in the first round against Greece’s Maria Sakkari. With her unconventional brand of attacking tennis, the World No.63 should be able to turn things around in this meeting.
Prediction: Krejcikova in 3
Ons Jabeur vs Elena Rybakina
Head-to-head: Jabeur 0-1 Rybakina
Ons Jabeur has a modest record on the hard courts of the Middle East. You would expect Jabeur’s star to shine brightly on these parts. But bar one quarterfinal in Doha, there has been a string of early exits. She has been extremely unfortunate though in drawing some of the top players in the early rounds. The high-risk, high reward style that she employs nearly knocked out Simona Halep in last year’s second round encounter.
The Tunisian is making substantial progress each season, and she is poised to make an odd deep run this week, only if she can nullify the brute power of Elena Rybakina. The six footer from Kazakhstan is not hitting with purpose just yet this year, which has translated to an inconsistent run of results in the first quarter. Rybakina’s most recent loss came in Doha to Laura Siegemund. The German is a player built in the same mould as Jabeur–unorthodox, versatile and with an eye for mixing an array of dropshots. The young Kazakh is the type of player that struggles for composure when she is forced to play out of her comfort zone. And Jabeur poses the ability and the style to make things very difficult for Rybakina.
Prediction: Jabeur in 3
Main Photo from Getty.