It’s been a busy start to the grass season in Nottingham and, as quick as a flash, we’re down to two players. Beatriz Haddad Maia was able to defeat top-seed Maria Sakkari earlier in the week and Alison Riske took down the powerful one-hander Viktorija Golubic in the previous round. With both women playing high-quality tennis, we should be in for a good final. Who takes it?
WTA Nottingham Final Prediction
Beatriz Haddad Maia vs Alison Riske
Head-to-head: First meeting
It’s all starting to come together for Beatriz Haddad Maia. Prior to Roland Garros, she reached the final of two W125 events (one win and one loss) and is now into the second WTA final of her career (the last one was five years ago). As a result, the Brazilian is nestled inside the top-50 for the first time in her career and is playing like it – her win over Maria Sakkari was seriously impressive, her lefty serve exceptionally difficult for the Greek to return on the quick courts of Nottingham. Whilst it hasn’t all been plain sailing, she came through her other matches relatively unscathed. She’s playing with just enough consistency to suggest she won’t have to wait another five years to make another final.
Alison Riske should be a worthy opponent. Though she doesn’t have the biggest serve in the world, these courts give her counterattacking shots a little extra zip, enough to keep her opponents from ever feeling comfortable. For all the experience under the veteran’s belt, it’s difficult to look past her record in finals without wincing (three wins to nine losses). Sure, she’s been able to put up a good fight in many of them but it’s not a stretch to say there’s been a gear missing.
There’s a high chance Riske falls back and lets Haddad Maia dictate proceedings. If this happens, the 26-year-old’s rally temperament will be put to the test – though there may be a few peaks and troughs, I think she’ll walk away with a passing grade.
Prediction: Haddad Maia in 3.