Wednesday sees the women’s quarterfinal round at the Tokyo Olympics. Everyone who wins their match on Wednesday will play in a medal match. The losers go home with an impressive tournament but no hardware to show for it. Who do you think will win to advance to the semifinals? Our writers share their thoughts on the matches. Predicting these matches are Fraser Learmonth, Anurag Sahay, and Jack Edward.
Tokyo Olympics Women’s Quarterfinal Predictions
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs Belinda Bencic
Pavlyuchenkova is having quite the year this year. The Russian made her first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros earlier this year and has backed that up with another good showing here in Tokyo. Bencic has had a less stellar year, particularly given the high note she ended 2019 on. However, she is still a Top 10 player at her best and is very dangerous on fast hard courts. The form lies with the Russian, but the match is on Bencic’s racket and so I will give her the edge here.
Prediction: Bencic in 3
Bencic is playing with a lot of conviction, but the Russian has a point to prove. Pavlyuchenkova is a consistent all-court player and the one to beat in Tokyo. With convincing wins in the first three rounds, she is set to storm into the last four.
Prediction: Pavlyuchenkova in 2
Bencic put on an impressive display against Barbora Krejcikova and has a commanding 5-2 head-to-head against Pavlyuchenkova so many might be tempted to side with the Swiss. Bencic hasn’t faced this version of Pavlyuchenkova previously, however, who seems to be peaking late in her career, and could get blown off the court with some wicked returning.
Prediction: Pavlyuchenkova in 3
Elina Svitolina vs Camila Giorgi
Giorgi’s presence here is something of a surprise. The diminutive Italian has been short of form and results this year, with little to speak of since her 2021 campaign began. Likewise, Svitolina has been less-than-stellar this year and will be glad of a return to form ahead of the US hard court swing. The Ukrainian has never won a major trophy, but is in a very positive place at the moment having just married men’s tennis star Gael Monfils. That kind of personal stability and happiness often translates onto the court. As such, Svitolina may well be the dark horse to take Gold in Tokyo.
Prediction: Svitolina in 2
Two wins were not enough to suggest Svitolina’s return to form, but her valiant comeback against the Greek clears all doubts. The Ukrainian has finally found her game back. Giorgi did very well to raise her game and dispatch the hard-hitting Pliskova but I am getting a sense that her run might just end here. A tight contest awaits. Three marathon matches in a row is not a good sign, but I still think the Ukrainian moves a step closer to a podium finish.
Prediction: Svitolina in 3
The highest seed left in the draw and three three-setters down, Elina Svitolina has a deserved opportunity to go deep in this Olympic draw. The physicality of the Ukranian has never been in doubt, however–it’s the mental game that can sometimes falter. That said, Camila Giorgi’s massive groundstrokes won’t give Svitolina the opportunity to think things over too much, which could actually play into the newlywed’s favor.
Prediction: Svitolina in 2
Marketa Vondrousova vs Paula Badosa
Vondrousova scored arguably the upset of the tournament when she beat hard court phenom Naomi Osaka earlier in the third round. The Japanese star was short on matches, but has been the best hard-court player in the women’s game over the last three or so years. Nonetheless, the Czech advanced and now faces another player having a breakout year in Badosa. The Spaniard has achieved several career firsts this year and Tokyo has been no different. She has the game to go further, but I think Vondrousova has too much in her locker to let this match slip.
Prediction: Vondrousova in 3
Both are upcoming talents trying to shape women’s tennis. Vondrousova shocked Gold Medal favorite Osaka and is looking strong to go deeper. She also seems to be very comfortable on hard courts. She may have been a French Open finalist, but what matters more is that the Czech has a superior game of the two. Vondrousova had an easier draw (before Osaka), but I would give her the advantage on a better ranking.
Prediction: Vondrousova in 2
Marketa Vondrousova hit a meager ten unforced errors on her way to knocking out the hard-court queen, Naomi Osaka, the kind of form that can’t be scoffed at. I think her in-form opponent, Paula Badosa, will be up to the task and is less likely to be overawed by the occasion.
Prediction: Badosa in 2
Garbine Muguruza vs Elena Rybakina
This should be a brilliant match. Both women are immensely powerful off both wings, have big serves and like to dominate matches from the baseline. Muguruza has more experience in big tournaments and that could work to her advantage here. However, Rybakina has returned to the form that saw her take the women’s game by storm last year before COVID-19. If she can sustain that level, I think she edges out the Spaniard and moves on to the semifinals.
Prediction: Rybakina in 3
This has all the ingredients of a blockbuster. A very tough call to make – both ladies trounced upset-makers Vekic and Van Uytvanck in their third round matches. The Russian has an incredible power game but her credentials probably don’t measure up to Murguruza’s. The Spaniard has a better chance, if even slightly.
Prediction: Muguruza in 3
Potentially the match of the quarters, both Muguruza and Rybakina will hope to be at the top of their games if they want to win. There will be little between the two players but form suggests Rybakina could scrape the win if she’s serving well enough.
Prediction: Rybakina in 3
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