The action heats up on Day 3 of the WTA Transylvania Open. The top two seeds will begin their campaigns in Cluj-Napoca as Simona Halep and Anett Kontaveit take to the court. A couple of second round matchups are also set to be played out on Wednesday as Ajla Tomljanovic and Anhelina Kalinina continue their campaigns.
WTA Transylvania Open Day 3 Predictions
Anhelina Kalinina vs Anna-Lena Friedsam
H2H: First meeting
Anhelina Kalinina had little trouble breezing through her opening round match where she defeated Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove in just over an hour. Anna-Lena Friedsam came through a far tougher opening round test as she defeated Alexandra Ignatik 5-7 6-4 6-4 in just under three hours. Kalinina’s far superior form for much of the season seemingly gives her the edge here. However, if Friedsam plays to her potential then there is probably little to sperate the pair on this surface. I’ll stick with Kalinina.
Prediction: Kalinina in 3
Anett Kontaveit vs Aleksandra Krunic
H2H: Kontaveit 1-0
The last spot at the upcoming WTA Finals in Guadalajara will depend on Anett Kontaveit’s performance this week. Kontaveit needs to win the title to overtake Ons Jabeur. The Estonian will therefore be aiming for back-to-back titles having arrived in Cluj-Napoca fresh from winning the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. The 25-year-old is one of the form players on tour at the moment having now won three titles in as many months.
Aleksandra Krunic eased through a relatively weak qualifying draw where she dropped a combined five games in straight set wins over Anna Danilina and Yuriko Miyazaki. The Serbian is far from her career high ranking of #39, currently sitting at #144. However, there have been some better signs for Krunic of late given she has now successfully come through the qualifying draw at her last four WTA events, including a quarterfinal showing in Astana a month ago.
Kontaveit prevailed 6-4 7-5 at the Australian Open in 2018 in their only previous clash. Another straight set victory for Kontaveit is to be expected given her strong form. Fatigue and a quick turnaround between events might be an issue for Kontaveit, but the great motivation of reaching the WTA Finals should override any of those potential issues for the moment.
Prediction: Kontaveit in 2
Lesia Tsurenko vs Varvara Gracheva
H2H: Frist meeting.
Lesia Tsurenko and Varvara Gracheva has both entered the second round in Cluj-Napoca via the qualifying draw. Tsurenko is yet to drop a set this week thanks to straight set wins over Yvonne Cavalle-Reimers (7-6 6-3), Andreea Rosca (7-5 6-1), and Andreea Prisacariu (7-5 6-2). Anastasia Gasanova was even less troubled in the qualifying stages where she defeated Ilinca Dalina Amariei (6-1 6-1) and Briana Szabo (6-1 6-0). The 22-year-old claimed a notable scalp in the first round of the main draw, a 4-6 6-0 7-5 win over the fourth seeded Jil Teichmann where she saved a pair of match points as she won four straight games from 3-5 down in the deciding set.
I’ll side with the experienced Tsurenko on this occasion. Tsurenko has been chipping away at the lower levels for weeks now, seemingly waiting for an opportunity to present itself. This could be that opportunity; her solid style probably comes out on top more often than not in this matchup.
Prediction: Tsurenko in 3
Ajla Tomljanovic vs Jaqueline Cristian
Ajla Tomljanovic battled past Anastasia Potapova 6-2 5-7 7-5 to begin her campaign in Cluj-Napoca. It was a gutsy win by the Australian who won four straight games after going down 3-5 in the deciding set. Jaqueline Cristian came through an even tougher first round test, the Romanian outlasted Kaja Juvan 3-6 7-6 7-6 saving a pair of match points in the process. I’ll give the edge to the Aussie here. Tomljanovic is having a great season and should be good enough to beat Cristian. The Australian has generally been able to defeat opponents that she is expected to beat in 2021, there’s no reason to suggest that won’t continue here. Tomljanovic is more experienced at this level and better suited to the hard courts.
Prediction: Tomljanovic in 2
Simona Halep vs Elena-Gabriela Ruse
H2H: First meeting.
Simona Halep will conclude a problematic season in Cluj-Napoca. The Romanian star has been unable to gather much momentum in 2021 thanks to multiple injury layoffs. The top seed can at least end the season on a high this week at home. The former world number one does bring some momentum into this week having just reached her first quarterfinal since Stuttgart in April. Halep claimed a couple of straight set wins over Anastasia Potapova and Veronika Kudermetova before succumbing to Maria Sakkari at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.
Elena-Gabriela Ruse reached a career high ranking of #83 in the world last week. It has been a career best season for the 23-year-old Romanian, highlighted by back-to-back finals midway through the season in Hamburg and Palermo. Ruse went all the Hamburg to capture her first WTA tour level title. This will be a special moment for Ruse, playing a Romanian champion in Romania, it will be interesting to see how she handles the occasion.
Halep is likely to come through this clash quite comfortably. There were some better signs for Halep last week, if she builds on that form then she will be the one to beat this week. Ruse still has holes in her game, especially on a hard court. Halep is better than most at exposing an opponent’s weaknesses.
Prediction: Halep in 2
Main Photo from Getty.