The action is well under way at the WTA Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, with several quality matches already having been played. Thursday sees several of the top players in the women’s game take to the court. Simona Halep is among them and will surely be looking to make a statement in Stuttgart ahead of a packed clay court swing in Europe. We take a look at how her and others should fair on Thursday in our WTA Porsche Tennis Grand Prix day 4 predictions.
WTA Porsche Tennis Grand Prix Day 4 Predictions
Jelena Ostapenko vs Karolina Pliskova
Head-to-head: 4 – 3 Pliskova
Karolina Pliskova is a long way from her best at the moment. The Czech #1 needed three sets to get past Tamara Korpatsch and has no results of note to her name so far in 2021. She won’t be happy to see Jelena Ostapenko on the other side of the net on Thursday either. The Latvian is capable of beating anyone and everyone on her day and has won each of their previous two encounters.
Pliskova is due a good run, but it looks as if others on the tour are exposing her poor court coverage more than ever before. If that trend continues, she will struggle to make deep runs anywhere and will soon drop out of the top ten. Ostapenko has the tools to give Pliskova real trouble. The match is on her racket given Pliskova’s recent form. Take Ostapenko to make it three wins in a row against Pliskova.
Prediction: Ostapenko in 3
Aryna Sabalenka vs Anna-Lena Friedsam
Head-to-head: First meeting
Aryna Sabalenka was impressive in her first round match against Shuai Zhang. The Belarusian isn’t brilliant on clay, but seems to have improved on the surface. She is a top ten player for a reason and could well be the standout player on the women’s tour in 2021. If she keeps up her level from the first quarter of this year she certainly will be.
Anna-Lena Friedsam is no slouch on a tennis court. However, she hasn’t been able to reach her former heights after several injuries derailed her career slightly. She is perhaps more comfortable on clay than Sabalenka. Nonetheless, the gulf in quality here is too big for that to make a meaningful difference. Sabalenka will do well to make a deep run in Stuttgart, but she should move through to the next round comfortably here.
Prediction: Sabalenka in 2
Elina Svitolina vs Angelique Kerber
Head-to-head: 8 – 5 Svitolina
Both of these players are brilliant movers and counterpunchers, particularly on clay. This match should have several marathon rallies as a result. Elina Svitolina has been in better form recently, but Kerber has more pedigree in terms of winning big tournaments. In truth this is hard to call. Svitolina is the logical pick here, but Kerber is showing signs of her former self and that level won her three grand slams. I think Kerber is a dark horse in this tournament and may well come through this in a tight one. If she can be aggressive when called upon to do so she should have enough to advance here.
Prediction: Kerber in 3
Belinda Bencic vs Ekaterina Alexandrova
Head-to-head: 1 – 1
Ekaterina Alexandrova did very well to come back from a set down and outlast Karolina Muchova in her first round match. However, Belinda Bencic is another step up for the Russian, even if Bencic is still searching for her best tennis this year. The Swiss is a legitimate top ten talent when at her best, and appears to be slowly dragging herself back to that level. Alexandrova has immense firepower off both wings, but her flat groundstrokes are more suited to hardcourts. Bencic is the better player here and is better on clay, so she should advance here.
Prediction: Bencic in 2
Simona Halep vs Marketa Vondrousova
Head-to-head:2 – 0 Vondrousova
Simona Halep and Marketa Vondrousova are two of the better clay court players on the women’s tour. Halep employs great court coverage and counterpunching to great effect on the slower surface. By contrast, Vondrousova uses a heavy forehand and great variety to beat her opponents on a regular basis. This match should be a brilliant watch. Halep looks determined to build on her recent Grand Slam success in 2021. A good showing in Stuttgart will set her up to do just that as the French Open draws closer. Halep should make Vondrousova play enough balls to draw errors a plenty and walk away with the win here.
Prediction: Halep in 3
Main Photo from Getty.