A mouth-watering matchup between 12th seed Belinda Bencic and Serena Williams headlines Day 3 of the WTA National Bank Open in Toronto. This will be the last tournament Serena Williams plays in Canada having just accounted her imminent retirement, potentially her last match in Canada as Bencic will be a difficult opponent for the 40-year-old. As always, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for every match on the schedule, including Ons Jabeur vs Qinwen Zheng, Iga Swiatek vs Ajla Tomljanovic and Paula Badosa vs Yulia Putintseva. But who will advance?
WTA Toronto Day 3 Predictions
Karolina Pliskova vs Amanda Anisimova
H2H: Pliskova 4-1.
Amanda Anisimova and Karolina Pliskova will meet for the second time in as many weeks having gone head-to-head in San Jose last week. Anisimova recorded her first win over Pliskova in her fifth attempt, a 3-6 7-5 6-1 victory. I expect Anisimova to make it two wins in a row over Pliskova. Anisimova isn’t the most reliable competitor, but she has generally displayed a higher level than Pliskova of late. The slower courts in Toronto will probably favor Anisimova in this matchup, the American will have a greater chance to neutralize the Pliskova serve and then make the most of the advantage she should have from the baseline.
Prediction: Anisimova in 3
Simona Halep vs Shuai Zhang
H2H: Halep 3-2.
Simona Halep and Shuai Zhang each eased through their first round matches in Toronto. Halep defeated Donna Vekic 6-0 6-2, whilst Zhang beat Cristina Busca 6-1 6-3. Halep is certainly the favourite in this matchup, but she has struggled against Zhang in the past, famously upset by the Chinese payer at the opening round stage of the Australian Open in 2016. Nevertheless, Halep’s recent form is good and her record in this tournament in strong, expect the Romanian to be too good on this occasion.
Prediction: Halep in 2
Anett Kontaveit vs Jil Teichmann
H2H: Kontaveit 3-0.
Anett Kontaveit is the number 2 ranked player in the world, but she isn’t living up that ranking. Kontaveit’s form has been sketchy since March, so she will welcome a matchup with Jil Teichmann, an opponent she holds a perfect 3-0 head-to-head record over. Kontaveit received a bye through the opening round this week, whilst Teichmann cruised past Venus Williams 6-2 6-3.
I’ll give Kontaveit the benefit of the doubt here, only because she seems to enjoy this matchup, plus Teichmann isn’t in the greatest form herself. However, an upset is certainly a real possibility.
Prediction: Kontaveit in 3
Belinda Bencic vs Serena Williams
H2H: Williams 3-1.
Serena Williams broke a three match losing streak with a 6-3 6-4 opening round win over Nuria Parrizas-Diaz in Toronto. Williams showed glimpses of her old self with clutch serving under pressure, but still displayed great vulnerabilities in her game. Belinda Bencic comfortably moved through the opening round in Toronto with a 6-4 6-2 win over Czech qualifier Tereza Martincova.
Bencic famously upset Williams in her prime at the semifinal stage in Toronto in 2015, a 3-6 7-5 6-4 win for the Swiss player. Williams has won all three of their other meetings, but they haven’t played since 2019. Bencic is the favourite on this occasion in my eyes. Williams simply isn’t the player she once was and has constantly struggled in these types of matchups over the last couple of years. I expect Bencic to expose the holes in a rusty Williams’ game.
Prediction: Bencic in 2
Main Photo from Getty.