The first edition of the WTA Cleveland Ladies Open will come to an end on Saturday as Anett Kontaveit and Irina-Camelia Begu battle for their first title of their respective seasons. Which player will arrive at the US Open riding a confidence-boosting five-match winning streak?
WTA Cleveland Final Prediction
Anett Kontaveit vs Irina-Camelia Begu
Head to head: first meeting
Kontaveit arrived in The Land in questionable form, as she had lost five consecutive matches dating back to the Eastbourne final. Granted, all the losses came at the hands of high profile players (Jelena Ostapenko, Marketa Vondrousova, Maria Sakkari, Jessica Pegula and Ons Jabeur), but it was still a disappointing run of form for the Estonia. When she lost her opening set of the tournament to Lauren Davis, managing just one game, she seemed poised to extend that losing streak at the Jacobs Pavilion. However, Kontaveit managed to regroup and beat the American 1-6 6-0 6-0. And suddenly her tennis started to flow again.
For her part, Begu had lost four of her past five matches entering the tournament, but she too has managed to flip a switch in the north of Ohio. The Romanian hasn’t dropped a set in four matches, picking up fine victories over Ekaterina Alexandrova (7-6 6-3), Polona Hercog (7-6 7-5), Aliaksandra Sasnovich (6-2 6-4) and Magda Linette (7-6 6-2) to reach her first final of the season and the eight of her career overall.
Speaking in pitching terms, Kontaveit is the one throwing 100 miles per hour heaters, whereas Begu is more of a master of off-speed throws. It’ll be interesting to watch their conflicting styles match up for the first time. But although Kontaveit isn’t enjoying her finest season on the WTA Tour, the following stat is revealing: she’s 15-1 against foes ranked 51 and higher in 2021, per Tennis Abstract. Begu is currently ranked 74th in the world.
Prediction: Kontaveit in 3
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