It should be an exciting day of tennis at the WTA Ningbo Open with the city playing host to a WTA 250 event for the first time since 2014. As always, we here at LWOT are offering our predictions for every match, including Katerina Siniakova vs Elizabeth Mandlik. But who will book their place in the second round?
WTA Ningbo Day 2 Predictions
Sorana Cirstea vs Claire Liu
Head-to-head: first meeting
Sorana Cirstea has been a steady performer this season, especially on hard courts where she has recorded 20 wins from 32 matches. Cirstea arrives in Ningbo hot on the heels of a maiden quarterfinal run at the US Open. For Claire Liu, things have gone awry since her runner-up finish at the 125K event in Chicago. The American has failed to pick up a main draw win in three tournaments including a qualifying defeat in San Diego to 17-year-old Wimbledon girls champion Clervie Ngounoue. It would be a major shock if Liu’s form picks up again this week.
Prediction: Cirstea in 2
Valeria Savinykh vs Varvara Gracheva
Head-to-head: Savinykh 1-0 Gracheva
August was a rough month for Varvara Gracheva who ended up winning a solitary main draw match in four tournaments. It was in her best interest to skip the first few weeks of September to try and regain her composure and fitness. Valeria Savinykh has played with distinction on the ITF Tour, reaching the semifinal or better in seven tournaments. But the standards are a lot higher at Tour level, just as she experienced in Osaka where she picked up three games in defeat to Yulia Putintseva. Gracheva could take some time to adjust having been out for nearly a month, but she’ll have enough in her locker to get through.
Prediction: Gracheva in 2
Diana Shnaider vs Bai Zhuoxuan
Head-to-head: first meeting
Bai Zhuoxuan didn’t quite make a splash in Guangzhou where she lost to Tatjana Maria in the second round. But she’s made a strong start to her campaign in Ningbo, beating Elizabeth Mandlik in qualifying for the main draw. Diana Shnaider comes into this match as the player with a slightly bigger reputation for her age, but 20-year-old Bai is piecing something together and is capable and sturdy enough to win this match.
Prediction: Zhuoxuan in 3
Ons Jabeur vs Diane Parry
Head-to-head: Jabeur 1-0 Parry
Ons Jabeur occupies the final spot in the WTA Race, but she’s got freshly minted Guadalajara champion Maria Sakkari breathing down her neck. The four remaining slots for the season-ending championships will be decided during the Asian swing. And after last week’s surprise defeat to Martina Trevisan, the Tunisian cannot afford another lapse in concentration here. Her opponent Diane Parry is in the midst of a dismal run of results. And perhaps the concerning thing about Parry’s form, she’s not managed to win a single set in each of her last five defeats. This matchup will be entirely on Jabeur’s racket.
Prediction: Jabeur in 2
Main photo credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports