WTA Cluj Day 4 Predictions Including Irina Bara vs Kristina Kucova

Mihaela Buzarnescu in action ahead of the WTA Cluj Open.
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Although the focus of the tennis world is principally across the Atlantic in the USA, there is plenty of entertainment to be found at the WTA Cluj Open. On day four, eight women will battle for a place in the quarterfinals and, as ever, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for every match on the schedule. But who will secure their spot in the last eight?

WTA Cluj Day 4 Predictions

Mayar Sherif vs Alexandra Eala

Head-to-head: first meeting

At just 16, there are few players with less experience than Alexandra Eala playing at this level. But the Filipino made light of her inexperience in the first round to stun Paula Ormachea of Argentina in straight sets, doing superbly to rally from a 0-4 deficit in the first set. She will now be hoping to back that up against Mayar Sherif. However, that will be easier said than done, with the Egyptian typically playing her best tennis on the clay.

She certainly looked sharp in beating the top seed Alize Cornet 6-2  6-4 in her opener. Unsurprisingly given Eala’s age, this will be the first meeting between this pair. But Sherif must be accounted the favourite heading into the match. She has become a regular presence at this level and has been in solid form of late. Eala clearly has a bright future, but she still lacks power off the ground and Sherif should be able to grind her down over the course of the match.

Prediction: Sherif in 3
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Kristyna Pliskova vs Katarzyna Kawa

Head-to-head: Pliskova 2-0 Kawa

Kristyna Pliskova may not have a trophy cabinet to match her twin sister’s, but there is more than a passing similarity between their games. Both are big servers and at their best when playing aggressive tennis on the front foot. It was exactly that style of tennis that saw the Czech past the fourth seed and former-French Open quarterfinalist Martina Trevisan in the first round at the WTA Cluj Open. She will doubtless be hoping for more of the same against Katarzyna Kawa.

The Pole has a rather different approach to her tennis. She lacks the sort of power that Pliskova can generate, but gives away few unforced errors and covers the court effectively. In the first round, she proved far too strong for home hope Briana Szabo, dropping just three games in a comprehensive 6-1 6-2 win. But she has lost both of her previous matches against Pliskova and her relatively passive style may once again allow the Czech too much time to wind up her powerful groundstrokes.

Prediction: Pliskova in 3
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Irina Bara vs Kristina Kucova

Head-to-head: Kucova 1-0 Bara

This should be an entertaining match. Irina Bara has been in solid but not spectacular form of late, reaching the second round at the last three tournaments she has played but failing to advance any further. That is a pattern she will doubtless be eager to break here and the manner of her 6-2 6-3 win over Anna-Lena Friedsam suggests that she may well be able to do just that. However, Kristina Kucova also impressed in beating Cagla Buyukakcay 6-1 6-1 in her opener in Cluj.

The Slovakian will also be able to draw confidence from her three-set win over Bara last month at the WTA Gdynia Open. That match was close enough to suggest that there is very little between this pair. Still, Kucova won it for a reason – namely her ability to remain calm and execute her shots in the decisive moments. It seems reasonable to assume that that ability has not deserted her entirely in the interim. She should have just about enough to scrape past Bara again.

Prediction: Kucova in 3
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Lara Arruabarrena vs Mihaela Buzarnescu

Head-to-head: Buzarnescu 3-1 Arruabarrena

Lara Arruabarrena arrived at the WTA Cluj Open in indifferent form having failed to advance past the second round at any of her last eight events although she did come through qualifying at the French Open in that period. But she put that run of poor play behind her in fine fashion to thrash the outmatched Evelyne Tiron 6-0 6-0 in her opener in Cluj. But she may find things less straightforward up against Tiron’s compatriot Mihaela Buzarnescu.

Buzarnescu has a solid clay-court resume, highlighted by her run to the fourth round at the French Open in 2018, and had too much for the seventh seed Viktoriya Tomova in the first round, beating the Bulgarian 6-2 6-3. She has also won three of her four previous meetings with Arruabarrena, including earlier this season in the first round of qualifying at the French Open. Expect her to have the beating of the Spaniard once again here.

Prediction: Buzarnescu in 2

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