A loaded field featuring nine Top 20 players has flocked to Abu Dhabi for the WTA Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open. This WTA 500 event has eight Round One matches set to take place on Tuesday, including a battle of former world No. 1s Karolina Pliskova and Garbine Muguruza. There will be star-studded battles all across the grounds of this event. We look at the rest of the day’s matches in a separate article. But who will advance?
WTA Abu Dhabi Day 2 Predictions
Shelby Rogers vs Leylah Fernandez
Head-to-Head: Rogers 2-1 Fernandez
North American foes Shelby Rogers and Leylah Fernandez worked their way through a solid qualifying field and will square off in Round One in Abu Dhabi. The two have split their two previous encounters, both three-set battles. The 20-year-old Canadian has been the stronger player to start the year. Fernandez made a quarterfinal run in Auckland, followed by a solid win over Alize Cornet in Melbourne. I believe she will be able to redirect the pace of Rogers’ groundstrokes and force the American to play multiple extra shots in each point.
Prediction: Fernandez in 3
Barbora Krejcikova vs Elena-Gabriela Ruse
Head-to-Head: Krejcikova 1-0 Ruse
Dating back to late last season, Barbora Krejcikova has been one of the most in-form players on tour. She has won 14 of her previous 17 matches, including titles in Tallinn and Ostrava. On the other hand, Elena-Gabriela Ruse has been trying to navigate her way through qualifying to find the main draw of these tour-level events. Ruse did not drop a set in Abu Dhabi qualies and should feel confident in her game. That said, I do not believe the 25-year-old has the weapons to break through Krejcikova.
Prediction: Krejcikova in 2
Beatriz Haddad Maia vs Marie Bouzkova
Head-to-Head: Haddad Maia 1-0 Bouzkova
No. 6 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia opens her Abu Dhabi campaign against world No. 26 Marie Bouzkova. Haddad Maia won their only previous encounter, 4-6 6-4 7-6, last year in Monterrey. Hadda Maia had one of the more meteoric rises on the WTA Tour last season. That said, she was ousted in the first round of the Australian Open, and I am intrigued to see how the pressure of being seeded at most events affects her play. Bouzkova also lost in the first round in Melbourne. She holds a 2-3 record this year and has been pushed around the court in her losses. I expect these two to put on a very tight, three-set battle. I give the slight edge to Hadda Maia, who I trust more in the big moments.
Prediction: Haddad Maia in 3
Karolina Pliskova vs Garbine Muguruza
Head-to-Head: Pliskova 9-2 Muguruza
Two former world No. 1s, Karolina Pliskvoa and Garbine Muguruza, are set to square off for a 12th time. Pliskova has dominated this head-to-head, winning nine of their ten encounters on hard courts. Pliskova is coming off a run to the Australian Open quarterfinals and should feel very confident with her game. Muguruza, on the other hand, is 0-6 in her last six matches dating back to September. The 29-year-old Spaniard has seen her ranking drop to 83rd in the world, her lowest mark since May 2013. Although I do expect Muguruza to work her way through this rough patch, I do not see it happening against Pliskova on a hard court.
Prediction: Pliskova in 2
Main Photo from Getty.