WTA Kremlin Cup Quarterfinal Predictions Including Maria Sakkari vs Simona Halep

I think it’s safe to say the top seeds have delivered so far in Moscow. Of the eight women seeded for this tournament, six are in the quarterfinals. There is no¬† clear frontrunner for the title as of yet, with Maria Sakkari, Simona Halep and Aryna Sabalenka all looking dangerous. The rest of the field look good too, and this title could genuinely go to any of the eight competitors remaining. As ever, we try and predict who the final four will be in our WTA Kremlin Cup quarterfinal predictions.

WTA Kremlin Cup Quarterfinal Predictions

Market Vondrousova vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Head-to-head: 1 – 0 Vondrousova

These two met last month in Chicago, with Marketa Vondrousova winning in straight sets there. The courts in Moscow are a little bit faster though, and that should help Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The Russian has the bigger game of the two and is more aggressive from the baseline. However, it is hard to ignore a sound defeat to Vondrousova in the last month when looking at who has the upper hand here. The Czech lefty should be favourite to win again here, but I expect this match to be a closer-fought affair that will likely go the distance.

Prediction: Vondrousova in 3
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Aryna Sabalenka vs Ekaterina Alexandrova

Head-to-head: 2 – 1 Sabalenka

Ekaterina Alexandrova is basically Sabalenka-light. The Russian is powerful and aggressive off of both wings and has a powerful serve. However, Sabalenka is more powerful and aggressive off of both wings and has an even bigger serve. The Belarusian has been close to unstoppable this year and appears to be in that kind of form again here in Moscow. Tomljanovic pushed her in her last match, but there were signs of the wrecking ball she has become this year. If she grows into the tournament and produces that level more often she will be hard to stop. Alexandrova has to be near perfect to win this, so I am going to pick the Belarusian here and live with it if the Russian puts on a masterclass.

Prediction: Sabalenka in 2
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Garbine Muguruza vs Anett Kontaveit

Head-to-head: 2 – 1 Muguruza

Another meeting of players with eerily similar styles. Both Garbine Muguruza and Anett Kontaveit are aggressive ball strikers who like to be on the front foot and hit winners off both wings. They are also coming to the end of brilliant years on the tour respectively and have two titles each in 2021. Muguruza has played better in big tournaments which explains her top ten ranking. Still, Kontaveit is an elite player when she puts it all together and is capable of beating anyone on her day. Muguruza looked shaky against Martincova in her last match. However, she often follows up performances like that with displays of brilliance and I think she will do the same here. Look for her to dominate rallies behind her serve and backhand down the line. Those weapons should be enough to see her through here.

Prediction: Muguruza in 3
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Maria Sakkari vs Simona Halep

Head-to-head: First meeting

Somewhat surprisingly, these two have never met before. A year or so ago I would have picked Halep to win this comfortably. Her defense and counterpunching would have been enough to draw errors from the racket of Sakkari in abundance. However, the Greek has learnt to channel her aggression and believe in her ability to hit the cover off the ball consistently. As a result, she is now one of the more complete players on the WTA tour. She has an immense serve, great power and accuracy on both wings and she covers the court incredibly well. Given her court coverage and defensive abilities, it’s hard to see Halep bossing rallies in this match. I also can’t see the Romanian winning longer rallies regularly enough to emerge the victor here. Sakkari has the power to hit through her and the movement to live with her in long rallies when needed and wait for her moment to strike. As such, the Athenian superstar should win this one.

Prediction: Sakkari in 2
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