The new world No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka is back in action. She is competing for the first time since her defeat in the US Open final to Coco Gauff. Her match with Sofia Kenin is one of four WTA Beijing Open contests predicted in this article. There are nine other WTA matches taking place on a very busy second day in Beijing. We at LWOT have two separate articles predicting the outcome of those matches.
WTA Beijing Day 2 Predictions
Jennifer Brady vs Peyton Stearns
Head-to-head: First meeting
This is Brady’s first tournament since her run to the third round of the US Open four weeks ago. It was a slight relief to see her on the player list at the WTA Beijing Open. After all her work to return after a two-year injury setback, I was slightly concerned she may be struggling again. Stearns had an even better US Open, reaching a Grand Slam fourth round for the first time. This is a very hard one to call. Both women play similarly aggressive styles. Brady’s hard-hitting gets a very narrow edge, but this could go either way.
Prediction: Brady in 3
Linda Noskova vs Fangran Tian
Head-to-head: First meeting
18-year-old Noskova had a similar matchup last week in the Tokyo Open first round, where she faced Japanese lucky loser Himeno Sakatsume. Sakatsume was a much lower-ranked player the Czech was expected to beat, but her opponent being a home favourite was a factor to contend with. Noskova faces #551 ranked Chinese wildcard Fangran Tian at the WTA Beijing Open. The crowd will give Tian as much support as possible. But Noskova stayed calm last week in front of a home crowd. Expect her to do the same in this matchup.
Prediction: Noskova in 2
Magdalena Frech vs Katie Boulter
Head-to-head: Frech 1-0 Boulter
These two players have been progressing successfully through the qualifying stages of many tournaments in recent months, but without winning many main draw matches. Although Boulter did have a good run to the third round of the US Open. It is likely that Frech and Boulter are suited to the conditions at the WTA Beijing Open. Both women like to be aggressive when possible and enjoy playing on fast courts. It is another difficult match to predict. Boulter may just be a little more clinical when it matters most to prevail.
Prediction: Boulter in 3
Aryna Sabalenka vs Sofia Kenin
Head-to-head: Sabalenka 2-1 Kenin
This is one of the most difficult opening-round contests Sabalenka could have been given. The #1 seed was not given a bye at the WTA Beijing Open, due to the controversial trialing of performance byes. Australian Open winner Kenin is currently enjoying a resurgence. The American reached the final of the San Diego Open, and then the semifinal at her last tournament in Guadalajara. Sabalenka cannot afford any rustiness here. An untimely early exit for the world #1 is possible. However, I am still just giving Sabalenka the edge. There will be hard-hitting from both women. But expect Sabalenka to be slightly tougher to battle through, even if she is not at her best.
Prediction: Sabalenka in 3
Main Photo Credit: Jerry Lai – USA TODAY Sports