As the WTA Tour becomes fully immersed in the grass-court season, the top names in the sport are looking to find some form on the surface before The Championships at Wimbledon at the end of the month. The Birmingham Classic is filled with top names, including two-time Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova vs Beatriz Haddad Maia coming off a title in Nottingham. We at LWOT have the previews for that match, and all other happenings around the Birmingham grounds.
Birmingham Classic Day 2 Predictions
Dayana Yastremska vs Magda Linette
Head-to-Head: Yastremska 2-0 Linette
22-year-old Dayana Yastremska is 0-1 on the grass this season and has picked up just three career wins on the surface. With that said, her hard serve and clean groundstrokes should lend themselves well to the grass season as she finds more comfortability. Magda Linette went 1-1 last week in Nottingham but has just a 7-15 career record on the grass. Yastremska bested Linette in straight sets back in 2018 and 2019 and believe she once again finds that result.
Prediction: Yastremska in 2
Elise Mertens vs Caty McNally
Head-to-Head: Mertens 2-0 McNally
#4 seed Elise Mertens takes on qualifier Caty McNally in Round 1 of the Birmingham Classic. McNally, who is currently ranked #197 in the world, is 6-1 on the grass this season including qualifying matches. She came out of the qualifying bracket last week in Den Bosch and made it to the quarterfinals. Elise Mertens is no stranger to the grass and has fared well on the surface over her career. Although the American is in fine form, I like Mertens to find her way through as the more consistent player.
Prediction: Mertens in 3
Alison Riske vs Katie Boulter
Head-to-Head: Boulter 1-0 Riske
#7 seed Alison Riske takes on wild card Katie Boulter for the second time in her career. Boulter bested Riske in three sets back in 2018. The 25-year-old Brit favors grass as her favorite surface and has found her best success on tour during this season. Boulter did skip out of the whole clay-court season so her match fitness may be in question. Alison Riske also favors the grass as her favorite surface. She holds a career record of 50-30 on grass including a run to the final last week in Nottingham. The American is the better and more consistent player. She should continue to flourish this grass season.
Prediction: Riske in 3
Magdalena Frech vs Nuria Parrizas-Diaz
Head-to-Head: Parrizas-Diaz 1-0 Frech
Neither Magdalena Frech nor Nuria Parrizas-Diaz has had any career success on the grass. In tour-level main draw matches on the surface, Frech has a career record of 1-5. Parrizas-Diaz is 0-1. Both players have shown a proclivity to clay and I do not expect their games to translate over to the grass. With that said, someone has to win this match. I slightly favor Nuria Parrizas-Diaz who comes into this tournament having a much better season than Frech.
Prediction: Parrizas-Diaz in 3
Petra Kvitova vs Beatriz Haddad Maia
#5 seed Petra Kvitova has a very tough Round 1 matchup on her hands in Beatriz Haddad Maia. The Brazilian won the title last week in Nottingham. This will be Kvitova’s first grass-court match of the season but she has proven over her career to be a ringer on the surface. A two-time Wimbledon Champion, Kvitova holds a career record of 59-23 (72%) on the grass. It was an excellent run for Haddad Maia last week in Nottingham, but a motivated Kvitova on grass is a whole different beast.
Prediction: Kvitova in 3
Main Photo from Getty.