Coco Gauff is back in action at the WTA Beijing Open. It is the American’s first tournament back since her stunning run to the title at the US Open. Gauff’s first round match against Ekaterina Alexandrova is one of four contests predicted in this article. There are 13 matches in total scheduled in total on a very busy day in Beijing. We at LWOT predict the other nine matchups on Day 3 in two separate articles–one featuring Elena Rybakina vs Qinwen Zheng and the second featuring Iga Swiatek vs Sara Sorribes Tormo.
WTA Beijing Day 3 Predictions
Jasmine Paolini vs Yue Yuan
Head-to-head: First meeting
Both players had superb comeback victories in their respective opening rounds. Paolini defeated French Open semifinalist Beatriz Haddad Maia, while Yuan upset Elise Mertens. Yuan’s natural ability is so much better than her current ranking, which is outside the Top 100. Another upset is possible with her home fans supporting her. But I think Paolini will get through this test. The Italian is a determined and feisty competitor, and is unlikely to be phased by the crowd being against her. Expect her to be resilient and tough in the important moments in this WTA Beijing Open clash.
Prediction: Paolini in 3
Jelena Ostapenko vs Linda Noskova
Head-to-head: Ostapenko 1-0 Noskova
This should be a fun match between two players who play aggressively. 2017 French Open winner Ostapenko is difficult for most players to stop when her ball-striking is on point. But I am backing her teenage opponent at the WTA Beijing Open. Even at such a young age, Noskova’s strong preference for hard courts is clear. She usually strikes the ball cleanly and consistently on her favoured surface. That puts added pressure on Ostapenko to conjure up enough winners. In truth, predicting the inconsistent Ostapenko’s matches is difficult, and she is capable of blasting her way to victory. Nonetheless, the Czech gets a slight edge here.
Prediction: Noskova in 3
Petra Kvitova vs Liudmila Samsonova
Head-to-head: Kvitova 1-0 Samsonova
2019 Australian Open finalist Kvitova has had a great season overall, although she has struggled for wins by her standards since the end of the grass court season. This could be a tough match for her. Montreal Masters finalist Samsonova is dangerous in Asian conditions, having won the Tokyo Open last year. Her huge serve in the moderately fast conditions in Beijing is a huge weapon if it is working. Kvitova is the better all-round player, but I feel there is a good chance of this being a very tight match. I am going with Samsonova to cause a minor upset at the WTA Beijing Open.
Prediction: Samsonova in 3
Coco Gauff vs Ekaterina Alexandrova
Head-to-head: Gauff 1-1 Alexandrova
It will be fascinating to observe Gauff’s level on her return. Will she be fully focused, or could her season understandably peter out after that incredible win at Flushing Meadows? I doubt Alexandrova is the ideal first opponent back for her. The huge-serving 28-year-old has caused Gauff problems in quick conditions in the past. Alexandrova beat Gauff on grass this year, and only lost to the American in a final-set tiebreak in Dubai in 2021. It is unlikely to be a match where Gauff gets much rhythm. I am backing the US Open champion to get it done at the WTA Beijing Open. But a close match, or even an upset would not be a huge surprise.
Prediction: Gauff in 3
Main Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports