The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships have reached the Round of 16 in a loaded draw in the capital of the United Arab Emirates. 10 of the top 16 seeds will be in action on day three, setting up for some very intriguing matchups, all of which we have predictions for. Coco Gauff squares off against Australian Open runner-up Elena Rybakina. But who will advance?
WTA Dubai Day 4 Predictions
Aryna Sabalenka vs Jelena Ostapenko
Head-to-Head: Sabalenka 1-0 Ostapenko
Aryna Sabalenka and Jelena Ostapenko square off in a very intriguing round of 16 match featuring two of the hardest hitters on the WTA Tour. Sabalenka was able to climb the mountain in Melbourne and raise her first Grand Slam title. This is the 24-year-old’s first event since the Australian Open as she looks to build on her 12-0 2023 record. Ostapenko made a run to the Australian Open quarterfinals but has been inconsistent since. She will undoubtedly unload all of her power against Sabalenka, but the current world No. 2 is turning into a very trustworthy pick against anyone not named Iga Swiatek.
Prediction: Sabalenka in 2
Belinda Bencic vs Karolina Muchova
Head-to-Head: Bencic 2-0 Muchova
Belinda Bencic has been one of the most in-form players on the WTA Tour this season. She holds a 16-3 record, with her three losses coming against Iga Swiatek (twice) and Aryna Sabalenka. Bencic has crept back inside the top ten as she looks for her third title of the year. She takes on world No. 112 Karolina Muchova, who entered the field on a special ranking but has won both her matches in straight sets. Muchova is looking to find some consistency after playing in just 24 matches last season. Bencic is not a player who you find form against. I believe she is striking the ball with such confidence that Muchova’s power should not affect her.
Prediction: Bencic in 2
Barbora Krejcikova vs Petra Kvitova
Head-to-Head: first meeting
Compatriots Barbora Krejcikova and Petra Kvitova square off for the first time with a spot in the Dubai quarterfinals on the line. Both former world No. 2’s are looking to return to that position with a strong season in 2023. Kvitova has had some impressive victories this season on her favorite surface. She strikes the ball so cleanly and is a joy to watch when she plays with confidence. Krejcikova should be able to win her fair share of rallies, but Kvitova should be the favorite to win this match.
Prediction: Kvitova in 3
Coco Gauff vs Elena Rybakina
Head-to-Head: Gauff 1-0 Rybakina
Coco Gauff and Elena Rybakina square off in the best third-round matches you will see at a WTA event. Gauff is 10-2 this season. Rybakina holds a 9-2 record in her last 11 matches. These two met last summer in Toronto, with the American coming out on top 6-4 6-7 7-6. I expect another very highly contested three-set battle. While I believe Gauff has the tools to puncture Rybakina’s groundstrokes, the difference in this match will come from the service line. That edge goes to Rybakina, who has tallied 12 aces in two matches in Dubai.
Prediction: Rybakina in 3
Main Photo Credit: Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports