A thrilling final should be in store at the WTA Istanbul Cup, with the top-seeded Elise Mertens set to take on Sorana Cirstea for the title. Both women will surely be desperate to lay their hands on the trophy with the WTA 1000 Madrid and Italian Opens looming large, and of course Roland Garros. But who will come out on top?
WTA Istanbul Cup Final Predictions
C vs Sorana Cirstea
Head-to-head: Cirstea 2-0 Mertens
Mertens has enjoyed a broadly positive start to the season. The Belgian won her first tournament of the season in Melbourne, going on to reach the fourth round at the Australian Open a week later. She backed that up with a semifinal showing in Dubai before reaching the third round at the WTA Miami Open. She did lose her first clay-court match of the season in Charleston, to Alize Cornet in straight sets, but she has bounced back in impressive style at the WTA Istanbul Cup.
Mertens opened her campaign with a dominant 6-0 6-2 win over Laura Arruabarrena of Spain, before finishing strongly to get the better of Viktorija Golubic, 6-4 4-6 6-1. That win set up a quarterfinal clash with Katarina Siniakova, with Mertens beating the Czech 6-4 6-4 to extend her advantage in their head-to-head to 4-0. The top seed then dismissed Charleston champion Veronika Kudermetova 6-1 6-4 to reach her second tour-level final of the season.
Cirstea, meanwhile, did not arrive in Istanbul in such good form. The Romanian did impress in reaching the last 32 at the Australian Open, where she upset Petra Kvitova in the second round, but she had struggled thereafter, losing early in Lyon, Dubai and Miami. However, she has excelled so far in Istanbul, picking up wins over Katerina Kozlova, Anastasia Potapova, Fiona Ferro and Marta Kostyuk, all without dropping a set although the Frenchwoman Ferro did retire trailing 4-6.
Cirstea has also won both of her previous meetings with Mertens, in the final round of qualifying at the French Open in 2016 and two years later in Doha, with the Belgian failing to win a set in either match. However, it would perhaps be a mistake to read too much into their history. Mertens is not always the most consistent performer, but she has established herself as a top-30 stalwart for a reason. Cirstea may have had the edge in the past, but expect Mertens to prove too strong this time.
Prediction: Mertens in 2
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