The return of tennis in 2022 just reminds us how strong the WTA Tour looks in terms of depth at the moment. This is nothing but a warm-up tournament and only the last-16 of the tournament at that, yet there is a real privilege in covering the four matches in this preview. All four matches have interest and include highly talented players, but who will reach the quarterfinals?
WTA Adelaide Day 4 Predictions
Victoria Azarenka vs Priscilla Hon
Head-to-head: First meeting
Both of these players had extremely impressive opening round victories in Adelaide. Azarenka took down WTA Finals semifinalist Paula Badosa for the loss of only five games, whereas the wildcard disposed of heavy favorite Petra Kvitova in a titanic three-setter.
Hon will have to do it all again though and this time against a player in fabulous form herself. Azarenka’s resurgence in the game has been fairly consistent now for two years so I am ready to place her in the top bracket of hard court players on the WTA Tour. If Hon progresses here she will have produced an incredible result. However, I really like the Belarussian’s chances of progressing here.
Prediction: Azarenka in 2
Ajla Tomljanovic vs Sofia Kenin
Head-to-head: Tomljanovic 2-1 Kenin
An unusual head-to-head series between these two. All three meetings came within four months in 2017 in ITF tournaments. Both women were ranked way outside the top 100 and Kenin was a teenager so there probably isn’t much to read into that form.
Instead there was more to read into more recent activity. Kenin still has the more impressive recent hard court record but there are warning bells. The American missed the whole of the second half of the season and in her comeback in the opening round she had to battle hard to get the better of qualifier Lucia Bronzetti. Tomljanovic also found Heather Watson a tough opponent to defeat so neither has done much to improve their confidence.
I think this match will go to three sets and the winner will probably find it tough to get over the line. However, Tomljanovic has a poor record in Australia of 16-21, which is fairly surprising for a home player, whereas Kenin has a very positive record on these style of courts, obviously it helps that she was the Australian Open champion in 2020. This encourages me to lean in the direction of the American.
Prediction: Kenin in 3
Anastasia Gasanova vs Misaki Doi
Head-to-head: First meeting
Both ladies endured three-set opening round wins but Gasanova’s triumph over Elina Svitolina was definitely the more impressive performance. As always after a win like that the question is whether the player can back it up in the following round. I do fear the let down from Gasanova but she has been climbing the rankings steadily for a while now and looks ready for a top 100 debut sometime soon. Doi is highly experienced and ended the season with a title in 2021 but I favor Gasanova on the basis of their last performances.
Prediction: Gasanova in 3
Leylah Fernandez vs Iga Swiatek
Head-to-head: first meeting
The last that most tennis observers will have seen of Fernandez was the US Open final. In which case most will think that the Canadian should be the favorite for this match. However, there are a lot of form lines in the Pole’s favor here. Swiatek has only ever won three WTA tour titles and one of them was in Adelaide last year.
The Pole also has an excellent record against left-handers having won her last five against them and there is very little in the stats over the last year on hard court to separate the two. Both women were fairly comfortable straight sets winners in their opening round matches so there are few clues there as well. On balance I prefer the chances of Swiatek in this match-up because of the previous form at this venue and also the ability against left-handers. It is a very tough match to call however.
Prediction: Swiatek in 3
Main Photo from Getty.