Day 3 means it’s time for the second round matchups at the WTA Sydney Classic. An exciting line-up is on offer as Garbine Muguruza and Barbora Krejcikova begin their 2022 campaigns after receiving opening round byes. Meanwhile, Ons Jabeur faces Petra Kvitova in an exciting matchup between a pair of top 20 players. Who will come out on top? We also predict the rest of the day’s matches in a separate article.
WTA Sydney Day 3 Predictions
Garbine Muguruza vs Ekaterina Alexandrova
Garbine Muguruza ended 2021 on the ultimate high when she won the WTA Finals in Guadalajara. The Spaniard will look to carry that form into the Australian summer where she kick-starts her Sydney campaign against the dangerous Ekaterina Alexandrova. The Russian advanced to the second round with a standard performance, beating Ena Shibahara 6-4 6-4. Muguruza will be a far greater test in the second round, but it’s an opponent Alexandrova has had success against.
Alexandrova won the most recent meeting between the pair, a 6-4 6-3 victory in Shenzhen in 2020. Nevertheless, I suspect Muguruza will be too strong here. Alexandrova is a flashy player but usually isn’t good enough against the very best. Muguruza should be solid enough to get the job done.
Prediction: Muguruza in 3
Barbora Krejcikova vs Jaqueline Cristian
H2H: First meeting.
Barbora Krejcikova will be in action for the first time in 2022. The Czech won the award for the most improved player on tour in 2021, it will be interesting to see if the Czech player can maintain that level and stay in the top 5. Krejcikova received a bye through the opening round in Sydney as she moved to the top spot in the draw after Ash Barty’s withdrawal. Meanwhile, Jaqueline Cristian has already played a few matches this year, and progressed to the second round thanks to a 7-6 7-5 win over Priscilla Hon.
This looks like a routine victory for Krejcikova. The Czech is a class above Cristian and should be clever enough to find a way through this one, even if she is a little rusty in her first match of the season.
Prediction: Krejcikova in 2
Anett Kontaveit vs Elena-Gabriela Ruse
H2H: First meeting.
Anett Kontaveit started 2022 on a winning note, a 6-3 6-3 victory over Shuai Zhang in her Sydney opener. Kontaveit made a habit of winning in 2021, she had the best season of her career where she was especially successfully during the later stages of the season. The Estonian will be a strong favourite to make it back-to-back wins in Sydney when she faces Elena-Gabriela Ruse. The Romanian has already won three matches this week having come through the qualifying draw. A 6-2 3-6 6-4 win over Magdalena Frech saw Ruse through the opening round of the main draw.
Another matchup where there looks to be a clear class differential. Kontaveit has become very reliable at beating opponents that she should beat, Ruse falls into that category, and I don’t see any reason for Kontaveit to slip up here.
Prediction: Kontaveit in 2
Ons Jabeur vs Petra Kvitova
H2H: Kvitova 3-0
Petra Kvitova has made a shaky start to the new year and will need to step up her game if she is to advance any further in Sydney. Kvitova was upset by Priscilla Hon in the opening round in Adelaide last week and labored past Arantxa Rus 3-6 7-6 7-5 in her opening round match in Sydney. Ons Jabeur had no such struggles in her first match of the season as she thrashed Astra Sharma 6-1 6-3.
Kvitova holds a dominant 3-0 H2H record over Jabeur. All three of Kvitova’s wins over Jabeur were in straight sets, including a 6-1 6-2 beatdown in Cincinnati last year in their most recent clash.
Kvitova’s powerful game can take away the creativity and freedom that Jabeur likes to play with. However, if Kvitova’s game isn’t flowing this can quickly became about matchup for the Czech. Kvitova doesn’t seem likely to be at her best here, Jabeur’s mix of power and versatility should be good enough to get by a streaky Kvitova.
Prediction: Jabeur in 3
Main Photo from Getty.