WTA Cincinnati Day 2 Predictions Including Ludmilla Samsonova vs Victoria Azarenka

Elena Rybakina in action ahead of the WTA Cincinnati Open.
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There should be plenty of entertaining action on day two at the WTA Cincinnati Open with a number of star name set to take to the court in Ohio. As ever, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for every match on the schedule, including Simona Halep vs Magda Linette, Hsieh Su-wei vs Cori Gauff and Ashleigh Barty vs Heather Watson. But who will advance?

WTA Cincinnati Day 2 Predictions

Ludmilla Samsonova vs Victoria Azarenka

Head-to-head: Samsonova 1-0 Azarenka

When this pair first met, in June in the semifinals on the grass in Berlin, Ludmilla Samsonova emerged a comfortable 6-4 6-2 victor. The Russian went on to win the title in the German capital – her first at tour-level – and reach the second week at Wimbledon. She followed that up with a first-round loss in Palermo, but has looked sharper since arriving in North America. She reached the second round in Montreal, upsetting Elena Rybakina in the first, before coming through the qualifying in Cincinnati.

Reaching the main draw was not entirely straightforward, but Samsonova was not unduly troubled in her wins over Vera Zvonareva and Anna Blinkova. Victoria Azarenka, meanwhile, returned to action for the first time since Wimbledon in Montreal, where she reached the quarterfinals. With both players in solid form, this should be a close encounter. But although Azarenka lost in Berlin, she has the better record in these conditions, and by a considerable distance. She should have just about too much for Samsonova.

Prediction: Azarenka in 3
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Veronika Kudermetova vs Jasmine Paolini

Head-to-head: Kudermetova 2-1 Paolini

Jasmine Paolini has proven herself a solid performer at tour-level on the clay, but she has struggled to replicate that level of performance away from her preferred surface.  However, the Italian did look sharp in coming through the qualifying at the WTA Cincinnati Open . There is not much to be made of her first-round win, with Anastasija Sevastova retiring trailing 1-6 1-2, but Paolini was very impressive in beating Donna Vekic, a quarterfinalist at the US Open in 2019, 7-6 6-2 in the second and final round.

But she will have her work cut out for her against Veronika Kudermetova. The Russian is enjoying the best season of her career and that has included some fine tennis on hard courts. She did fall in the second round last time out in Montreal, but was unfortunate to come up against Maria Sakkari that early. Paolini showed enough in coming through qualifying to suggest that she can make a match of this, but Kudermetova has won both of their previous hard-court meetings for a reason. She is the better player on this surface.

Prediction: Kudermetova in 3
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Rebecca Peterson vs Bernarda Pera

Head-to-head: Peterson 2-0 Pera

Rebecca Peterson’s 2021 has not made many headlines, but the Swede deserves credit for the manner in which she has recovered from a miserable spell in 2020. There have been some bad days – her 2-6 1-6 loss to Ons Jabeur in the first round at Wimbledon probably chief amongst them – but she has generally played solid tennis. She arrived in Cincinnati in good form, after reaching the semifinals on home turf in Bastad, and although she lost narrowly to Heather Watson in the final round of qualifying, she would not be the first lucky loser to take advantage of some good fortune.

Bernarda Pera’s preparations for this match have gone less well. The American was last in action in Montreal, where she lost in the first round of qualifying. That reflects a season in which, barring a brief purple patch in Madrid and Rome – she has fared considerably better on the doubles court. Peterson is not the sort of player to take the racket out of her opponent’s hands so Pera is likely to have some opportunities, but the Swede’s game looks to be in better shape currently.

Prediction: Peterson in 3
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Samantha Stosur vs Elena Rybakina

Head-to-head: Rybakina 1-0 Stosur

It seems safe to assume that Rybakina will not be happy with her efforts since thrashing Garbine Muguruza in the quarterfinals at the Tokyo Olympics. The Kazakh followed that memorable win with narrow defeats in the semifinals and the bronze medal match, before crashing out at the hands of Samsonova in the first round in Montreal. However, she has received a kinder draw – on paper at least – at the WTA Cincinnati Open.

Samantha Stosur has plenty of experience, not to mention a Grand Slam title, but the Australian is not the force she once was. Her desire and commitment remain beyond reproach, but Stosur does not have the same physicality that she once brought to the court. The proof is in her 1-8 record this season and the ease with which Rybakina brushed her aside in the first round at the Olympics. This may be slightly more competitive, but don’t expect a different outcome.

Prediction: Rybakina in 2

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