After losing just one seed in Madison Keys after the first two days, the inaugural Tallinn Open is carrying a lot of high-quality match-ups into its third day. As always, we here at LWOT will preview and predict every match. Who do you think will win? We also have predictions for matches featuring Jelena Ostapenko.
WTA Tallinn Day 3 Predictions
Beatriz Haddad Maia vs Linda Noskova
Head-to-head: first meeting
After a very strong season, Haddad Maia struggled in her Tallinn opener against Wang Xinyu, ultimately overcoming the young Chinese talent 6-4 in the deciding set. This is the first indoor hard swing for the Brazilian so it will be interesting to see if she can prove herself in these conditions. She will face another young talented player in Linda Noskova, the 17-year-old having a breakthrough 39-12 season. The Czech defeated experienced players in Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove and Heather Watson in straight sets to qualify. In the main draw, Noskova came back from a set down to defeat Diane Parry 6-4 in the third. This will be a big challenge for the teenager and might just be a bit too big at this point in her career.
Prediction: Haddad Maia in 3
Zhang Shuai vs Viktoria Kuzmova
Head-to-head: Zhang 1-0 Kuzmova
Zhang has continued her strong season into indoor hard, defeating Caroline Garcia and Petra Martic en route to a semifinal in Tokyo. Zhang will be looking to bookend her season with European indoor hard titles after winning in Lyon early in the season. Kuzmova has had a decent season on the ITF circuit, getting a 29-18 record and an ITF 60 final in Portschach. In Tallinn, the Slovak came back from a set down against Caty McNally and Eva Lys to beat both of them 6-2 in the third in back-to-back matches to qualify. Zhang has won their previous meeting in Indian Wells back in 2019 and while the faster conditions do suit Kuzmova more and the 24-year-old possesses the game to pull off a win here, we have seen Kuzmova’s peak very sparingly in recent years. Expect Zhang to win here.
Prediction: Zhang in 3
Belinda Bencic vs Katie Boulter
Head-to-head: first meeting
Bencic has had a solid season, winning Charleston and reaching the final of Berlin while earning a 34-16 record, though not really delivering at the biggest events of the season. The Swiss is a strong indoor player though and showed that she means business in Tallinn with a 6-0 6-2 win over Estonian wild card Elena Malygina. Boulter is looking for some redemption on the European indoor swing after a disappointing hard court summer. The Brit found some good form on grass but failed to translate it, losing four of her last five matches coming into Tallinn. Boulter started in qualifying, beating Ingrid Neel and Daria Snigur before taking out Jacqueline Cristian in the first round. The two have only ever faced each other in Hopman Cup but like in that now-defunct competition, I believe Bencic will come out as the winner.
Prediction: Bencic in 2