It’s a top-seeded WTA battle in Hobart as Elise Mertens takes on Emma Navarro in the final. It’s the first WTA Tour final for the 22-year-old American, who will need to take down a much more experienced opponent. Who do you think will come out on top?
WTA Hobart Final Prediction
Elise Mertens vs Emma Navarro
Head-to-head: First meeting
Elise Mertens has always been really good during these pre-Australian Open warm-ups, claiming three titles like that over the course of her career. Two of them came at this very event where she went unbeaten in 2017 and 2018. Later on it wasn’t quite as pleasant for her with a quarterfinal exit in 2020 and a loss in the opening round last year, but the top seed is back to her Hobart best this week and only dropped one set against Daria Saville on the way to the final.
Meanwhile, Emma Navarro had a massive finish to the 2023 season with titles won at stacked ITF events in Tyler and Charleston. While you could claim she hasn’t beaten someone who’s truly elite this year yet, the argument about her rise being mostly due to results at the lower levels doesn’t work anymore. The quality of the competition has gone up and she’s had no issues stepping up, making the semifinals in Auckland and now the final here.
Both players suffered a pretty heavy loss the weak before this event, Mertens to Elena Rybakina (1-6 0-6) and Navarro to Coco Gauff (3-6 1-6). The bouncebacks have been impressive and now they get to take on each other for the very first time. The solid Belgian has a lot more experience at these stages and usually delivers when the pressure is high. She even finished her 2023 campaign with a WTA title in Monastir, making very light work of the in-form Jasmine Paolini in the final. Mertens demands constant excellence of her opponents and is quick with the punishment if only they’re looking a bit shaky. Her record in finals is a very healthy 8-4 and it might be improving even further here.
Prediction: Mertens in 3
Main Photo Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports