The WTA action continues to heat up in Portoroz on Day 4 with a couple of Slovenians in action. Tamara Zidansek and Kaja Juvan will look to give the home crowd something to cheer about with places in the quarterfinals up for grabs at the inaugural event on the Slovenian south coast. Who do you think will win?
WTA Portoroz Day 4 Predictions:
Kaja Juvan vs Aleksandra Krunic
H2H: Juvan 1-0
Kaja Juvan upset the top seeded Petra Martic in the opening round, a 6-3 6-4 victory for the Slovenian. Juvan saved seven of eight break points in her win over Martic, winning an impressive 71% of her second service points. The hometown favorite will be keen to consolidate that victory with a win over Serbian qualifier Aleksandra Krunic on Thursday. Krunic has been battling away at the ITF level for most of the season, struggling to find the level that saw her reach a career high ranking of #39 in singles. Krunic eased into the second round with a 6-3 6-1 win over local wild card Ziva Falkner; things won’t be so easy against Juvan.
Juvan emerged victorious in the only previous meeting between the pair in 2019, a 7-5 6-3 on clay at the 125K event in Bol. The Slovenian is likely to emulate that result here. Juvan has more weapons to hurt Krunic, especially on a hard court, with the added support of the crowd she should be too strong for a struggling Krunic. Look for Juvan to exploit Krunic’s vulnerable serve.
Prediction: Juvan in 2
(4) Sorana Cirstea vs Tereza Martincova
Tereza Martincova is having the best season of her career. She reached the final in Prague and broke into the top 60 for the first time. Martincova made a strong start to her Portoroz campaign with a 6-4 6-1 victory over Kristina Kucova. Nevertheless, the Czech will enter her second round clash with Sorana Cirstea with work to do. Cirstea has had some fine results of her own in 2021, highlighted by a runner-up showing in Strasbourg and a fourth round appearance at Roland Garros. Cirstea progressed to the second round in Portoroz with a commanding 6-1 6-3 win over Heather Watson, where she won a stunning 93% of her first service points.
The pair did battle in Chicago a few weeks ago with Martincova fighting from behind to win 3-6 6-3 6-2. Cirstea is the more experienced of the pair and has more firepower to her game. Cirstea has never been the most reliable player, and her form during the North American swing wasn’t good. The Romanian should have a decent chance here, especially if she is able to produce a similar level of play to her opening round victory.
Prediction: Cirstea in 3
Jasmine Paolini vs Anna Kalinskaya
H2H: First meeting.
A great opportunity presents itself to Jasmine Paolini and Anna Kalinskaya to reach a rare Tour-level quarterfinal in Portoroz. Kalinskaya has failed to fulfill her potential on tour after a promising junior career and a top 100 breakthrough in 2019. Meanwhile, Paolini has been steadily building with the majority of her success coming on clay, highlighted by a 125K title triumph in Bol earlier this year–which saw her reach a career high ranking of #87.
Paolini progressed to the second round in Portoroz thanks to an upset win over Dayana Yastremska via retirement. Paolini led 7-6 4-1 before the Ukrainian pulled out with an injury. Meanwhile, Kalinskaya defeated a wayward Danka Kovinic 6-0 6-4. Kalinskaya received plenty of gifts in that match as her opponent served 13 double faults in her eight service games. The Russian should have the edge against the Italian on a hard court. Thanks to her greater power and aggression, Kalinskaya will dictate the majority of the points. It will all come down to execution. Paolini will be solid enough to capitalize if Kalinskaya isn’t accurate enough on the day.
Prediction: Kalinskaya in 3
(5) Tamara Zidansek vs Anhelina Kalinina
H2H: First meeting
Tamara Zidansek cruised through her opening round match in Portoroz, dropping just two games to Italian qualifier Cristiana Ferrando. The hometown favorite will be in for a far greater challenge in the second round against a rising Ukrainian. Anhelina Kalinina progressed to the second round in Portoroz thanks to a hard-fought 7-6 6-2 win over Sara Errani in just under 2 hours, a nice way for her to build into the tournament against a pesky opponent.
Zidansek and Kalinina both excelled during the European clay court swing. Zidansek made her Major breakthrough by reaching the French Open semifinals before winning her first WTA Tour title in Lausanne. Meanwhile, Kalinina won back-to-back ITF titles in France before reaching her first Tour-level final in Budapest. Both have since struggled on the hard courts, each failing to win back-to-back matches during the North American swing.
Expect a close match with both players struggling to find form on the hard courts. Zidansek is the more established player at this level, with the added motivation of playing at home she should be too solid for the big-hitting Kalinina.
Prediction: Zidansek in 3
Main Photo from Getty.