WTA Madrid Open Day 4 Predictions Including Karolina Muchova vs Naomi Osaka

Simona Halep in action at the WTA Madrid Open.

There should be plenty of entertaining action on day four at the WTA Madrid Open. There are eight second-round matches on the slate and, as ever, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for every match, including Aryna Sabalenka vs Daria Kasatkina. But who will book their place in the third round in the Spanish capital?

WTA Madrid Open Day 4 Predictions

Karolina Muchova vs Naomi Osaka

Head-to-head: Osaka 1-0 Muchova

Naomi Osaka is undeniably one of the best players in the world, capable of hitting almost any opponent off the court. She has proved as much in winning two titles at the Australian Open and the US Open, all before her 24th birthday. However, her success has so far been limited to hard courts, with the world #2 having struggled to translate her power game to the natural surfaces of clay and grass. That said, the Japanese did make an impressive start to her campaign in Madrid, brushing aside her compatriot Misaki Doi.

Karolina Muchova, a semifinalist at the Australian Open earlier this season, made a similarly impressive start to her WTA Madrid Open, beating Wang Qiang for the loss of only four games. She should prove Osaka with a much sterner examination of her clay-court credentials, one the world #2 may struggle to pass. Muchova’s all-court game may be best suited to faster surfaces, but players who can combine touch, power and court-coverage tend to thrive in Madrid. That would appear to describe the Czech better than Osaka.

Prediction: Muchova in 3
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Karolina Pliskova vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Head-to-head: Pliskova 6-1 Pavlyuchenkova

This is a match that Karolina Pliskova needs to win. The Czech has been in the midst of a slump for sometime with her 10-7 record in 2021 less than impressive. She did perform creditably last week in Stuttgart, battling past Tamara Korpatsch and Jelena Ostapenko to reach the quarterfinals, but a player of Pliskova’s pedigree will surely have grander ambitions than reaching the last eight at a WTA 500 event. Fortunately for Pliskova, she boasts a very good record against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

She did lose their most recent match, however, which came last season at the Australian Open. She was also not entirely convincing in her opener at the WTA Madrid Open, narrowly edging out Cori Gauff. Pavlyuchenkova, in contrast, proved far too strong for Madison Keys, winning 7-5 6-2. That said, Pavlyuchenkova’s win over the American was a rare bright spot in what has been a largely disappointing year. Pliskova should have just about enough to reach the third round.

Prediction: Pliskova in 3
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Elise Mertens vs Elena Rybakina

Head-to-head: Rybakina 1-0 Mertens

Elise Mertens will surely be bitterly disappointed with her performance in the final at the WTA Istanbul Championships. After an excellent week in Turkey’s second city, the Belgian fell apart in the final, losing 1-6 6-7 to Sorana Cirstea. She did bounce back in impressive style in her opener in Madrid, thrashing Zhang Shuai of China 6-3 6-3, but, one suspects that she may face stiffer resistance in the second round up against the powerful Elena Rybakina.

The Kazakh has flattered to deceive for the most part this year after a breakout 2020 campaign. But she looked to be back to something approaching her best in the first round at the WTA Madrid Open as she dismissed Ajla Tomljanovic 6-4 6-0. If she can maintain the level she displayed in that match, this could well prove to be a real test for Mertens. But the Belgian is the more consistent performer and she can summon sufficient depth and power to keep Rybakina on the back foot.

Prediction: Mertens in 3
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Simona Halep vs Zheng Saisai

Head-to-head: Halep 2-0 Zheng

Simona Halep is another player who has not yet found their best tennis in 2021. But the Romanian played some good tennis to reach the quarterfinals in Stuttgart last week and although she was handily beaten there by Sabalenka, it was still a largely encouraging week for the world #3. One she backed up in impressive style in the first round at the WTA Madrid Open, picking up a comprehensive 6-0 7-5 win over Sara Sorribes Tormo, a performance marred only by a late loss of focus.

Zheng Saisai, meanwhile, has also struggled in 2021. But the Chinese looked sharp in getting the better of Poland’s Magda Linette in three sets in her opener in the Spanish capital. Unfortunately for Zheng, however, it is hard to see her beating Halep. Both women move well and give little away from the baseline, but Halep has considerably more clay-court pedigree than the world #57. She also has more power, with her forehand a weapon that Zheng cannot match. This should be comfortable for the world #3.

Prediction: Halep in 2

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