The quarterfinal matches are set at the WTA Silicon Valley Classic, with a variety of top players showcased in San Jose. Three of the top four, and five of the top eight, seeds reached the quarterfinals including top seed Elise Mertens who takes on eight seed Yulia Putintseva. Second seed Elena Rybakina also made the quarters, and she takes on the lone American remaining, Danielle Collins, who will hope the home crowd will propel her to victory.
Not all the favorites have won, though. We have two surprise quarterfinalists, Shuai Zhang and qualifier Ana Konjuh, facing off for a spot in the semifinals. A win for either can take their seasons in a better direction. Daria Kasatkina has played excellent tennis this week and looks like a serious title contender, and she takes on Magda Linette. All four matches below are predicted to set up what is sure to be a thrilling semifinal, that will be finalized at the end of the day.
WTA San Jose Quarterfinal Predictions
Daria Kasatkina vs Magda Linette
Head-to-head: 1-0 Linette
Kasatkina will look to beat Linette after losing to her in the 2018 Australian Open, as the Russia has since improved significantly. Linette had a tough start to 2021, but she scored a strong win last round against Petra Martic and a few weeks ago defeated Elina Svitolina for a Top 5 win. Linette is still a competitive player but she has not been quite as strong as she approaches her 30th birthday. Kasatkina is a great all-around player and has already won two titles on hard courts this season. Kasatkina will play her strong baseline game and wear down Linette, hitting through her and securing her place in the semifinal.
Prediction: Kasatkina in 2
Ana Konjuh vs Shuai Zhang
Head-to-head: 2-0 Konjuh
Konjuh will look to win three straight against Zhang, though this is the first time they have played since 2017. Zhang is much higher ranked, but form-wise Konjuh looks like the better player. She has played well on hard courts this year, highlighted by a round of 16 performance in Miami, and she has lost just one set in her four matches here–including qualifying.
Zhang has a losing record on the year, but she looked great in beating Madison Keys in straight sets last round, where a combination of a strong return and a weak second serve by Keys led to Zhang winning 70% of points on the American’s second serve. Konjuh’s serve has led to mixed results. She was broken seven times in her first round match, then held all of her service games in the second round. The Konjuh serve vs the Zhang return will be the determining factor of the match. Konjuh will play well enough and be able to break Zhang more than she is broken to reach the semis as a qualifier.
Prediction: Konjuh in 3
Danielle Collins vs Elena Rybakina
Head-to-head: first meeting
This quarterfinal may pit the two most dangerous players in the draw against each other. Rybakina made a surprise run to the Olympic semifinal, beating Garbine Muguruza on the way. Collins won her first title a couple weeks ago in Palermo, and has had solid wins this week over compatriots Sloane Stephens and Shelby Rogers. Rybakina had a difficult end to her Olympic run, losing to Elina Svitolina and Belinda Bencic. Though Collins is not quite at the level of those two, the way she is playing she can take advantage of Rybakina’s struggles against elite talent. Rybakina looked vulnerable in her first match, losing the first set to wild card Claire Liu. Collins is in great form right now. She will ride that form into the semifinal in a competitive match that will come down to a few key points.
Prediction: Collins in 3
Elise Mertens vs Yulia Putintseva
Mertens is looking to regain her form on hard courts where she had a tough first-round Olympic loss. But she is plenty dangerous on the surface, winning the Gippsland Trophy early this year. Putintseva has rebounded well after retiring due to heat at the Olympics and has scored two good wins here over Donna Vekic and Ajla Tomljanovic. She won a title last month in Budapest, which is on clay, her best surface. Mertens is more of an all-around player. The German moves well on hard courts and has the power required for the surface, while Putintseva is much more suited for clay. Mertens will come out strong, and while Putintseva will battle and give her trouble, the top seed will get the win.
Prediction: Mertens in 3
Main Photo from Getty.