As the tour makes the difficult transition from clay to grass, there are question marks over which players on the tour will be the quickest to adapt. With the level likely to be slightly evened out at the beginning of the grass season, Day 4 at the WTA Nottingham Open features some exciting Round of 16 match-ups. Our pick for the day is Maria Sakkari against Rebecca Marino – can the Canadian take advantage?
WTA Nottingham Day 4 Predictions
Ajla Tomljanovic vs Katie Boulter
Head-to-Head: First meeting.
This could be an interesting match. Katie Boulter may be coming back from a leg injury but she’s almost certainly had more time to adapt to the grass than Alja Tomljanovic. She’s already won three matches at this tournament having come through qualifying, her level almost certainly worthy of the top-100.
Tomljanovic might be at her most comfortable on this surface however. She gets easy pop off her serve and can be incredibly difficult to break if she settles into a rhythm. We won’t underrate Boulter’s training time but Tomljanovic might find the extra couple of service holds required to squeeze through.
Prediction: Tomljanovic in 3
Yuriko Miyazaki vs Beatriz Haddad Maia
Head-to-Head: First meeting (Haddad Maia 1-0 Miyazaki at W25 level).
Yuriko (or Lily) Miyazaki well and truly capitalised on making her way through qualifying by defeating Magdalena Frech in the first-round, the first top-100 win of her career. That’s three three-setters in a row which is bound to start taking its toll.
Whether she’ll have recovered in time to beat Beatriz Haddad Maia is unclear. The Brazilian benefits from her swinging lefty-serve on grass even sporting a win over Garbine Muguruza at Wimbledon (she lost her serve once that day). Haddad Maia is still settling into the role of a top-50 player but she should have too much firepower for her mentally-fried opponent.
Prediction: Haddad Maia in 2
Caroline Garcia vs Alison Riske
Head-to-Head: Riske 2-0 Garcia.
Caroline Garcia has been a player in need of a massive confidence boost – just as well she was able to double her Grand Slam doubles tally last week in winning the French Open. Though it’s tough to say success on the doubles court will lead to playing with freedom in singles, Garcia is one of those players with bags of potential waiting to be tapped into. Her win last week genuinely could help her to loosen the shoulders a bit and she showed that in her confident first-round win over Lauren Davis.
Alison Riske will ask Garcia to bring her best. Riske’s last five losses were to Andreescu, Osaka, Sabalenka Keys and Swiatek – the American won’t beat herself and will ensure her opponent has to bring a bit of zip to blow her off the court. Garcia has already put it all together for a few matches this season… Though there may be peaks and troughs, the Frenchwoman should be feeling inspired.
Prediction: Garcia in 3
Maria Sakkari vs Rebecca Marino
Head-to-Head: First meeting.
Towering at six feet tall, Rebecca Marino’s serve and forehand combo is built for the grass. Though the forehand can sometimes look a little ropey against better players, when it’s on it’s very difficult to fight against.
Marino realistically could reach the level required to give Maria Sakkari some trouble. Sakkari’s weapons are more reliable however, more consistently able to place her serve effectively and finding more weight behind both of her groundstrokes. Her first-round against Camila Osorio Serrano won’t have been a decent warm-up given the Columbian’s below-average serve so she may come into this match cold. We believe she’ll only just recover in time to steal the victory.
Prediction: Sakkari in 3
Main Photo from Getty.