It’s been an incredible week of WTA tennis in Portoroz so far and the action continues on Day 3. Who will move one step closer to a title and who will fall short? Read on for my best guesses.
WTA Portoroz Day 3 Predictions
Lucia Bronzetti vs Bernarda Pera
Head to Head: never played
Lucia Bronzetti did well to qualify for Portoroz and then comfortably beat Rebecca Peterson in the first round of Portoroz. Bronzetti held Peterson to just 42% of her service points won, a very impressive number. Bernarda Pera got by Fiona Ferro in her opening match without too much trouble. Ferro won just 28% of her second-serve points and was broken five times.
These two have never played before. Bronzetti is solid from the baseline, but doesn’t have near the power that Pera has on her serve and groundstrokes. Pera should be able to control the baseline with her lefty forehand and force Bronzetti into very defensive positions on the court. Expect Pera to tee off on returns and cruise to victory in this one.
Prediction: Pera in 2
Viktoria Kuzmova vs Alison Riske
Head to Head: never played
Viktoria Kuzmova qualified for Portoroz and then had a comprehensive 6-2 6-3 victory over Tereza Mrdeza in the first round. Like Ferro against Pera, Mrdeza was only able to win 28% of her second-serve points and was also broken give times by Kuzmova. Kuzmova’s first serve also was solid, winning 69% of the points on her own first serve. Alison Riske beat Pia Lovric in straight sets to make the second round of Portoroz. Riske broke serve seven times and never was in danger during this match.
These two have never played before. Kuzmova, historically, has relied on her serve and tried to shorten points with aggressive play. Riske hits the ball very flat, which can be very damaging when her game is on, but can also lead to a boatload of unforced errors when she’s off. Riske hasn’t won consecutive matches since the 2020 Australian Open and it’s hard to trust her to bring a good level match-after-match at this point in her career. Kuzmova is playing well this week and is more used to the court, which should play to her advantage. Kuzmova pulls the upset over the No. 3 seed and advances.
Prediction: Kuzmova in 3
Katie Boulter vs Yulia Putintseva
Head to Head: 1-0 Putintseva
Katie Boulter has qualified and made the second round without losing a set. In her Round 1 victory over Katarina Zavatska, she won 56% of return points on both Zavatska’s first and second serves, breaking serve seven times. However, she will have to improve on her double faults from that match, as she served up eight double faults. Yulia Putintseva comfortably got past Jaqueline Cristian 6-4, 6-4 to advance to the second round of Potoroz. Putintseva won 72% of her first serves serving at 71% first serves in, showing she’s not just putting first serves in, but she’s gaining an upper hand in rallies when she gets that first serve into play.
Putintseva leads the head to head 1-0, having beaten Boulter in three sets at the Billie Jean Cup in 2019. Putintseva’s great at getting the ball consistently deep and outlasting her opponents, while Boulter tries to take the initiative in rallies more and play with aggression. Ultimately, Putintseva is a class above Boulter in terms of level and I don’t think that Boulter will have the rally tolerance to hit through Putintseva consistently enough to win. Putintseva moves on.
Prediction: Putintseva in 3
Ana Konjuh vs Kristina Mladenovic
Head to Head: 2-1 Konjuh
Ana Konjuh recovered from a miserable first set to beat Donna Vekic 0-6, 6-3, 6-2. Konjuh went from getting broken three times and not breaking Vekic’s serve in the first set, to only getting broken once and breaking Vekic’s serve four times in the second and third sets combined. However, Konjuh will want to improve her first-serve percentage, as she never reached the 50% first-serves in mark during any of the three sets against Vekic. Kristina Mladenovic did well to come back from a set down to beat Nika Radisic in the first round. Mladenovic won 59% of the points on the Radisic serve and broke nine times.
Konjuh leads the head to head 2-1, including a 2-0 record on hard courts. However, they haven’t played since 2017, so the head to head doesn’t really mean much. Konjuh has more power than Mladenovic, but Mladenovic has a bit more variety. Still, I don’t trust Mladenovic’s serve and groundstrokes to hold up, especially when Konjuh is firing groundstrokes with her easy power. Mladenovic losing a set to World No. 535 Radisic was also concerning, despite playing well in her comeback effort. Expect Konjuh to win here comfortably.
Prediction: Konjuh in 2
Main Photo from Getty.