WTA Abu Dhabi Quarterfinals Predictions Including Elena Rybakina vs Beatriz Haddad Maia

Elena Rybakina in action in ahead of the WTA Abu Dhabi Open.

Quarterfinal day at the WTA Abu Dhabi Open brings us six of the top eight seeds. The two unseeded players, Zheng Qinwen and Shelby Rogers, aren’t too shabby either. It’s going to be a quality set of matches with three of the world’s top 10 in play. Picking winners may be tough but, as always, we’ve given it a go here at Last Word.

WTA Abu Dhabi Quarterfinals Predictions

Shelby Rogers vs Belinda Bencic

Head-to-head: Bencic 4-1 Rogers

Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka are the only two players to have beaten Belinda Bencic this year. The Swiss sports eight wins to counter the losses, only one of them going to a third set. The conclusion? It takes a special kind of player to beat Bencic at the moment.

Is Shelby Rogers that player? Any sign of backhand weakness and the match will fall Bencic’s way. The big serve of Rogers is also likely to be only semi-effective against the early returning prowess of the world #9. We’d be very surprised to see this one going the American’s way.

Prediction: Bencic in 2
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Veronika Kudermetova vs Luidmila Samsonova

Head-to-head: Kudermetova 2-1 Samsonova

It wasn’t the best match of her life but the sheer force of Luidmila Samsonova’s forehand did the damage against the ever-dangerous Barbora Krejcikova in the previous round. Even when her game isn’t flying high, Samsonova is an extremely dangerous competitor.

Conversely, it’s easy to forget Veronika Kudermetova can turn up to the court a little lacklustre. The Russian’s serve may look alluring but she can look relatively tame from the baseline if she’s not on. Fortunately for her, Samsonova isn’t the best returner in the game so this match-up could be forgiving.

We’ll give the slight edge to Samsonova given how often she plays above average when the stakes aren’t as high (see her titles in Cleveland, Tokyo and Washington last year).

Prediction: Samsonova in 3
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Daria Kasatkina vs Qinwen Zheng

Head-to-head: first meeting

Where is Daria Kasatkina’s game? There have been only flickers of the sublime form that took her 2022 season to the next level as one-sided losses to Bencic and Gracheva have left fans scratching their heads. Significantly, her second-serve has been getting pounced upon.

Enter Qinwen Zheng to take advantage. The Chinese can handle proceedings on her own serve easily enough (she tops the list this year for first-serve points won)–if she’s given enough looks on return as well, she could run away with the match.

Prediction: Zheng in 2
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Elena Rybakina vs Beatriz Haddad Maia

Head-to-head: first meeting

A new year and Beatriz Haddad Maia doesn’t appear to have lost the form that’s taken her to a career-high of #14 in the world. A run of six consecutive wins from the end of last year to the Adelaide quarterfinals was unjustly overshadowed by a first-round loss at the Australian Open. Frankly, she’s still bringing a great level to the court.

Elena Rybakina has been even more impressive though. There are less troughs to that bothersome forehand since the beginning of 2023 and her first-serve remains the best in women’s tennis. Haddad Maia will put up a good fight but she won’t be able to exploit Rybakina’s backhand as easily as she can other opponents’ with her big lefty swings. The Wimbledon champ should prevail.

Prediction: Rybakina in 3

Main photo credit: Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports