After a week of entertaining tennis at the WTA Portoroz Open in Slovenia, just two players remain in contention for the title. Both will no doubt be desperate to lay their hands on the trophy. But will it be Alison Riske or Jasmine Paolini who comes out on top?
WTA Portoroz Final Prediction
Alison Riske vs Jasmine Paolini
Head-to-head: first meeting
Riske has made a welcome return to form at the WTA Portoroz Open this week. The American has been ranked as high as world #18 and reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 2019, but 2021 has been a difficult year for her, in part due to injury problems. She looked short of fitness and confidence throughout the grass-court season and on home soil in the USA, picking up just a handful of wins across the summer and losing in the first round at Wimbledon and the US Open.
But she has played some fine tennis in Portoroz. She opened her campaign with a 7-5 6-3 win over Pia Lovric and backed that up by battling past Viktoria Kuzmova from a set down in the last 16. That set up a quarterfinal clash with Kristina Mladenovic and Riske dominated that match to win 6-4 6-1. She scored a similarly comprehensive victory in the semifinals over Kaja Juvan and will surely come into this match with real confidence as a result.
But Paolini too has earned her place in this final. The Italian remains more comfortable on clay courts but, after benefitting from Dayana Yastremska’s retirement in the first round, she has picked up some good wins. She dismissed Anna Kalinskaya in the second round, before edging out Sorana Cirstea in three sets in the quarterfinals. She again had to go the distance in the semifinals, but dug out a 1-6 6-3 6-4 win over second seed Yulia Putintseva.
Riske must be accounted the favourite heading into this match, however. The American has the advantage in terms of experience and her game is better suited to these conditions than Paolini’s. The obstacles for Paolini are not insurmountable and it would be no surprise to see this match go the distance, but Riske’s variety and willingness to come to the net should give her enough of an edge to claim the third title of her career.
Prediction: Riske in 3
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