It’s quarterfinal day at the WTA Melbourne Summer Set, a pair of 250 level events being played at Melbourne Park. Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep headline set 1, the pair will be back in action on Friday where they will both be considered strong favorites. Are we heading for a blockbuster final between the two top seeds? Let’s look at the quarterfinal matchups in Melbourne.
WTA Melbourne Summer Set 1 Quarterfinal Predictions:
Simona Halep vs Viktorija Golubic
Simona Halep has cruised through her first couple of matches this week against relatively weak opposition. The former world number 1 was rarely troubled in routine victories over Destanee Aiava 6-2 6-4 and Elena-Gabriela Ruse 6-2 6-1. Halep will face her first real test of the week against Viktorija Golubic, a player that just had the best season of her career. The 29-year-old Swiss player has also been relatively untroubled this week, a 7-5 6-1 win over Lauren Davis was followed by a 6-3 6-0 victory against Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove.
Golubic managed to take a set off Halep in their only previous meeting, a 6-3 1-6 6-1 triumph for the Romanian during a Fed Cup tie in 2018. I don’t expect Golubic to have much success in this matchup on Friday. Golubic is a solid, versatile player, but she doesn’t really have a big weapon to consistently hurt Halep. The Romanian is unlikely to be too bothered in this type of match-up where she arguably has stronger weapons, plus superior movement and stamina.
Prediction: Halep in 2
Ana Konjuh vs Qinwen Zheng
H2H: First meeting.
Ana Konjuh and Qinwen Zheng both came through tough second round matches to set up an interesting quarterfinal clash. Konjuh battled past the always-dangerous Kaia Kanepi 6-2 3-6 6-3, whilst Qinwen Zheng came from a set and a break down to defeat Vera Zvonareva 5-7 6-3 6-4.
Qinwen Zheng is a player on the rise, the 19-year-old is likely to make a name for herself in 2022 as she cracks the top 100 in the rankings. The Chinese player has already won four matches this week having come through the qualifying draw, the last three went the distance. Fatigue could become an issue for Zheng, not to mention the extreme firepower she will have to deal with in this matchup. I’ll side with Konjuh to eventually overpower her less experienced opponent.
Prediction: Konjuh in 3
Veronika Kudermetova vs Anastasia Potapova
H2H: First meeting.
A pair of hard-hitting young Russians will square off when Veronika Kudermetova takes on Anastasia Potapova. A matchup of similar styles, both possess aggressive, flat groundstrokes and like to take the ball early and dictate the rallies. Both players went the distance in their second round matches, Kudermetova outlasted Madison Brengle 6-0 3-6 7-5, whilst Potapova beat Anna Bondar 6-4 6-7 7-5.
I’ll side with Kudermetova here. It is Kudermetova who is has generally shown a higher level of the pair over the last year and who should be regarded the better player. Potapova is highly unreliable, a terrible performance is always just around the corner for her. Kudermetova has the weapons and experience to come through this clash.
Prediction: Kudermetova in 2
Naomi Osaka vs Andrea Petkovic
Naomi Osaka looked rusty in her opening match of the season. The reigning Australian Open champion required three sets to get the better of Alize Cornet. A 6-4 3-6 6-3 win over the Frenchwoman wasn’t too convincing, the subsequent 6-1 6-1 demolition of Maryna Zanevska was a step in the right direction. Andrea Petkovic’s progression to the quarterfinals was far more complicated as she just snuck past Clara Burel 7-5 2-6 6-4 after upsetting the fifth seeded Ludmila Samsonova 6-3 7-6 in the first round.
Osaka cruised past Petkovic 6-2 6-0 in their most recent clash at the China Open in 2019. A Similarly one-sided contest is to be expected at Melbourne Park. By this stage of the tournament Osaka has found her groove and won’t be too fazed by anything the veteran German can throw at her. Petkovic’s weight of shot sits up nicely for Osaka to attack on this surface, expect Osaka to be too strong here as she sharpens her preparations for the Australian Open.
Prediction: Osaka in 2
Main Photo from Getty.