WTA Chicago Day 2 Predictions Including Victoria Azarenka vs Zhang Shuai

Dayana Yastremska in action ahead of the WTA Chicago Classic.
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There should be plenty of entertaining tennis on day two at the WTA Chicago Classic with 14 matches on the schedule in Illinois. As ever, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for every match on the schedule, including Amanda Anisimova vs Viktorija Golubic, Ann Li vs Garbine Muguruza and Misaki Doi vs Danielle Collins. But who will advance?

WTA Chicago Day 2 Predictions

Elena Gabriela Ruse vs Camila Giorgi

Head-to-head: first meeting

Elena Gabriela Ruse found a rich vein of form post-Wimbledon, winning her first WTA-level title in Hamburg before finishing as runner-up in Palermo. But she has cooled off since, failing to capitalise on a run through the qualifying at the US Open after losing in the first round to Marketa Vondrousova in straight sets. She has now been handed what looks like a very tough opening test at the WTA Chicago Classic up against Camila Giorgi.

The Italian started her North American hard-court swing by winning the biggest title of her career in Montreal, beating Karolina Pliskova in comprehensive fashion in the final, but then lost first round in Cincinnati and New York. Still, it would probably be a mistake to read too much into those early defeats, which came at the hands of Jessica Pegula and Simona Halep. Ruse is not at that level, particularly in these conditions and Giorgi should have enough to get past the Romanian.

Prediction: Giorgi in 2
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Victoria Azarenka vs Zhang Shuai

Head-to-head: Azarenka 2-0 Zhang

Victoria Azarenka has emerged as a comfortable victor in both of her previous meetings with Zhang Shuai, winning 6-3 6-4 in Indian Wells in 2016 and 6-2 6-1 two years ago in Rome. Will it be third-time lucky for the Chinese? There is little in her recent results to suggest so. Zhang has not reached a tour-level quarterfinal in singles since the last week of August in Cleveland and arrives at the WTA Chicago Classic having lost her last three matches in this discipline.

That said, Azarenka has not exactly been pulling up trees either. She did reach the quarterfinals in Montreal, but then lost in the third round in Cincinnati and New York, which is a poor return for a player of her ability, especially in conditions she has historically thrived in. Still, she should have enough to get past Zhang comfortably enough. The Chinese does not have the power to hit through Azarenka and it is hard to see her outmanoeuvring her in the baseline exchanges either.

Prediction: Azarenka in 2
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Elise Mertens vs Dayana Yastremska

Head-to-head: first meeting

Somewhat surprisingly, this is set to be the first meeting between Elise Mertens and Dayana Yastremska. It is also a match that both will be desperate to win after a stretch of poor form. For Mertens it has been another season in which she has threatened to break through to the highest level, but not quite managed to get over the line, with defeats in the fourth round in Melbourne and New York and the third round at Roland Garros and Wimbledon surely particularly frustrating.

Yastremska, meanwhile, has been attempting to rebuild after missing almost half of the season following a now-overturned ban for failing a drugs test. There have been some positive signs for the 21-year-old, including her 7-5 6-1 win over Alize Cornet in the first round this week, but she has struggled to generate much momentum. However, with Mertens having been playing indifferent tennis of late, this might just be the chance Yastremska has been waiting for to get the wind back in her sails.

Prediction: Yastremska in 3

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