The quarterfinal round is set at the WTA Prague Open, though not without surprises, as second seed and defending champion Barbora Krejcikova was eliminated by lucky loser Nao Hibino. As always, we here at LWOT will preview and predict every match. Who do you think will make the semifinals?
WTA Prague Quarterfinal Predictions
Magda Linette vs Wang Qiang
Head-to-head: Linette 3-2 Wang
An exciting match-up between two veterans of the tour for a spot in the semifinals. Linette kicked the tournament off with a big upset over third seed Elise Mertens and confirmed her position of strength in a straight-set win over Bulgarian Viktoriya Tomova. Wang has also looked strong, coming through qualifying without dropping a set before a proper test from Rebecca Peterson. The former No. 12 took the Swede out in a third-set tiebreak and had a much easier time against fellow qualifier Dalila Jakupovic, dropping just four games in the second-round win. The two have met five times before, with all of their previous meetings played on Asian hard courts. Linette leads the head-to-head but Wang won their last two matches in 2018. This will be a tight match but I see Linette as a slight favorite here. The match could definitely go either way though.
Prediction: Linette in 3
Marie Bouzkova vs Oksana Selekhmeteva
Head-to-head: first meeting
Bouzkova was a strong favorite in her first two matches. The Czech faced a bit of adversity and struggled a little in the second set of her first-round win over Sinja Kraus but went on to drop just three games against 18-year-old Dominika Salkova. Selekhmeteva, still ranked more than 100 spots below Bouzkova, should be the most challenging opponent by far. The young Russian came through qualifying, including a big win over Nao Hibino, before taking out fourth seed Sorana Cirstea. The 19-year-old followed the upset up with a three-set win over Chloe Paquet in the second round. Selekhmeteva will be a tricky opponent but I still see Bouzkova as the favorite here, my pick for the finalist out of the bottom half.
Prediction: Bouzkova in 2
Nao Hibino vs Linda Noskova
Head-to-head: first meeting
No matter the quarterfinal result, Hibino has already had an incredible week. The 27-year-old entered the main draw as a lucky loser after her loss to Oksana Selekhmeteva. Hibino got a second chance and took it, allowing Mihaela Buzarnescu just four games in the first round. The Japanese then came up against defending champion and second seed Barbora Krejcikova. The Czech held a 6-3 5-3 lead but Hibino came back, winning the second set tiebreak and took the third set 6-3. Not only did the Japanese player get one of the best wins of her career so far, she is now almost certain to re-enter the Top 200 after two months out.
Noskova, a 17-year-old now one win away from the Top 100, is also having a great tournament. The young Czech was a set and a break up against Natalia Vikhlyantseva in the first round when the Russian retired from the match. Noskova got a signature win in the second round though, taking out Alize Cornet. The match went all the way to the third-set tiebreak which the 17-year-old won 9-7. This will be an interesting match between a solid experienced player against a raw talent with the crowd behind her. Both have to recover from tough three-setters but I see Noskova winning here and getting her Top 100 debut on Monday.
Prediction: Noskova in 2
Anett Kontaveit vs Anastasia Potapova
Head-to-head: Kontaveit 2-0 Potapova
After suffering a loss in the Hamburg final last week, Kontaveit is looking for a redo and her second title of the season. With Barbora Krejcikova out, the Estonian is the prime favorite to leave Prague with a trophy. After a 6-0 6-1 win over Ekaterine Gorgodze, Kontaveit had a slightly tougher time against Junior French Open champion Lucie Havlickova, though the World No. 2 remained in control throughout the match.
Potapova, who lost to Kontaveit in the Hamburg semifinals last week, also started with a strong win, dropping just three games against Wang Xinyu. The Russian had a much more challenging second round against Zhu Lin, though she closed it out in straight sets. Zhu served for the second set at 5-4 and held two set points in the second-set tiebreak, which Potapova ended up winning 10-8. Kontaveit beat Potapova in straight sets last week though their meeting on hard courts in Moscow was much closer, the 21-year-old pushing the Estonian to 7-5 in the third. I view Potapova as more of a threat in this match than in Hamburg but Kontaveit should still win here.
Prediction: Kontaveit in 2
Main Photo from Getty.