We are into the quarterfinal round of the WTA Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati in what is the last major tune-up event before the US Open. The matches this week on the WTA side have been phenomenal and full of upsets. Only two of the remaining eight women in the draw came into this tournament as a Top 16 seeded player. However, that does not mean the level during these quarterfinal matches won’t be anything but elite. American Madison Keys and Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina square off in what is one of the best matches of the day. We have the prediction for that match as well as all other happenings around the grounds of Cincinnati. But who will advance?
WTA Cincinnati Quarterfinal Predictions
Jessica Pegula vs Caroline Garcia
Head-to-Head: Pegula 2-1 Garcia
#7 seed Jessica Pegula takes on qualifier Caroline Garcia with a spot in the Western & Southern Open semifinals on the line. Pegula has been one of the most rock-solid players on Tour this season, but the veteran Frenchwoman has been in great form this summer. Because Garcia came through qualifying, she has already spent nine hours and 28 minutes on-court in Cincinnati. Compare that to the American who has played just three hours and 49 minutes of tennis this week. Will the fatigue catch up to Garcia? It is hard to say, but it certainly won’t help. I expect her to claw her way to a third set before Pegula shuts the door with her consistency and power.
Prediction: Pegula in 3
Petra Kvitova vs Ajla Tomljanovic
Head-to-Head: first meeting
Veterans Petra Kvitova and Ajla Tomljanovic will square for the first time as both look to punch a ticket to their biggest semifinal of the season. Tomljanovic, who came through qualifying, has played four, three-set matches this week. She has already spent 11 hours and 4 minutes on-court in Cincinnati. Kvitova has also played in a few three-setters this week, but she looked absolutely dominant in her third set bagel of Ons Jabeur last round. Both women have proven to be strong hard-court players in their careers, but the former world #2 has the extra gear that Tomljanovic does not have. I expect Kvitova to reach her third career Western & Southern Open semifinals with a straight-set victory on Friday.
Prediction: Kvitova in 2
Aryna Sabalenka vs Shuai Zhang
Head-to-Head: Sabalenka 3-1 Zhang
#6 seed Aryna Sabalenka and veteran Shuai Zhang will square off for the fifth time in their careers. Zhang beat the Belorussian back in 2016 but has yet to win a set in their previous three meetings. Zhang came back from a set down to notch a very impressive win over current world #2 Anett Kontaveit on Thursday. With that said, Sabalenka is clearly the stronger player in this matchup. She should be able to push Zhang around the court with her powerful groundstrokes. Zhang does not have any way to hurt the 24-year-old. If Sabalenka loses this match, it will be because of her notorious serving woes. With that said, she has a first-serve percentage of 62% this week. I expect her to keep that up and advance with relative ease.
Prediction: Sabalenka in 2
Madison Keys vs Elena Rybakina
Head-to-Head: Keys 1-0 Rybakina
Madison Keys and Elena Rybakina are set to square off for the second time this season as the American bested the Kazakh in three sets at Roland Garros. Since that loss, Rybakina has been one of the most in-form players on tour. Since June 27, she holds an 11-2 record while capturing her maiden Grand Slam title at Wimbledon. Keys, who did not play during the month of July due to an abdominal injury, must be more than happy with her run in Cincinnati. The American has bested Yulia Putintseva, Jelena Ostapenko, and Iga Swiatek without dropping a set. Both women prefer the fast surface Cincinnati offers, though, so something must give on Friday. I give the slight advantage to Keys who has had great crowd support all week on home soil.
Prediction: Keys in 3
Main Photo from Getty.