The positive predictions continue to roll for this column this week and with a four match slate to preview we are very much looking forward to Day 4 in Courmayeur. That is also an excellent rhyme, if you pronounce Courmayeur the way I think you do. Now down to the serious business, which players will complete the quarterfinal line-up in the Italian Alps resort?
WTA Courmayeur Day 4 Predictions
Saisai Zheng vs Donna Vekic
Head-to-head: Vekic 1-0 Zheng
A second consecutive match against a Chinese player for Vekic and she was made to compete all the way in her opening round victory. It will have given the Croatian a confidence boost to have come through that and also she will feel adapted to the conditions now. We saw in that opening match how the altitude helps her big serve, winning 80% of her service points and not facing a break point. Zheng is a good returner of serve and constructs her points well but I don’t think that she will have enough answers to that Vekic serve to win enough points on return.
Prediction: Vekic in 2
Xinyu Wang vs Shuai Zhang
Head-to-head: Wang 1-0 Zhang
This pair meeting does at least secure Chinese representation in the last eight in Courmayeur. However, they met only nine days ago in Tenerife and Wang was a very convincing winner. The match ended 6-2 6-1 to the younger and lower ranked player but it shows what kind of talent the 20-year-old is. The conditions here will be very different with the altitude and still indoor air, but you still have to fancy Wang to at least hold on to some of that dominance from last week, especially on first serve where she won 75% of the points in Tenerife.
Prediction: Wang in 2
Lucrezia Stefanini vs Jasmine Paolini
Head-to-head: first meeting
Home representation is also guaranteed in the quarterfinals here as these two Italians battle it out. In matches against her countrywomen Paolini has done very well recently, winning seven of her last eight. I expect this to become eight from nine after this match because she is playing at a much higher level than Stefanini. The World #188 battled hard to win through against Minella 7-5 in the third but that does represent the kind of form she is capable of, whereas Paolini has recently won WTA Portoroz, so this should be a comfortable win for the seventh seed.
Prediction: Paolini in 2
Magdalena Frech vs Ann Li
Head-to-head: Li 2-0 Frech
Probably the most competitive match of the day here. Frech is in excellent form, probably career best, and was dominant in her opening match against Urzsula Radwanska. This was helped by saving a remarkable 14/14 break points, however, surely that streak cannot last. Ann Li will certainly test that as she is a very good returner. As predicted yesterday, Li took a while to acclimatise to Courmayeur but in the end had enough to squeeze past Kamilla Rakhimova in three sets. I think this match could follow a similar pattern. Li fired down 10 aces in her opening match and her consistency across first and second delivery could be too relentless for the Pole to defeat.
Prediction: Li in 3
Main Photo from Getty.