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WTA Osaka Final Prediction: Zhu Lin vs Ashlyn Krueger

Zhu Lin in action ahead of the WTA Osaka final.

An interesting final is in store at the WTA Japan Open Tennis Championships where top seed Zhu Lin will square off against American teenager Ashlyn Krueger. Both players were a step ahead of the rest of the field, but only one will lift the title on Sunday. Lin has been to a WTA final this season, bagging the title in Hua Hin in February. Krueger, for her part, will play in her first Tour-level final. With a place in the world’s Top 100 secured for the first time, can the upstart put the cherry on top of a perfect week so far in Osaka?

WTA Osaka Final Prediction

Zhu Lin vs Ashlyn Krueger

Head-to-head: first meeting

Zhu cemented her spot as China’s #2 player in a straight shootout against her compatriot Xinyu Wang. It wasn’t a one-sided straight sets win for the 29-year-old who was pegged back on multiple occasions from a winning position. Momentum ebbed and flowed, but Lin’s ability to pull off spiky backhand winners down the line was a game-changer. Wang did her best to stay in the rallies, but her more experienced countrywoman found that point-ending shot when it mattered to win 7-5, 7-6 in just over two hours.

Krueger, meanwhile, will contest her first-ever WTA final in Osaka. The 19-year-old is the latest in a long line of newcomers this season to reach the business end of a Tour-level tournament. And she’d done it with the confidence and verve of a veteran. With renowned coach Michael Joyce in her corner, the young American powered through the draw without dropping a set.

Krueger’s dominance from the baseline is attributed to her formidable serve – broken just four times during the week. Bundled with an all-court game, Krueger is versatile for a player standing at 6’1” and is physically imposing from the back of the court. And with the way she’s fizzing in confidence, there is a solid chance she’ll topple the higher-ranked Lin.

Prediction: Krueger in 3

Main photo credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


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