The second-round action concludes on Thursday at the WTA Abu Dhabi Open. The top-seeded Elena Rybakina will play her first match of the tournament against Danielle Collins, where heavy hitting will be on the menu. In total, four matches are slated to take place, but who will advance to the quarterfinal?
WTA Abu Dhabi Day 4 Predictions
Barbora Krejcikova vs Sara Sorribes Tormo
Head-to-head: Krejcikova 1-0 Sorribes Tormo
After winning the Dubai Championships last season, Barbora Krejcikova is looking to complete a clean sweep by winning her second title in the UAE. The Czech played impeccably at the Australian Open until her run was halted by eventual champion Aryna Sabalenka in the last eight. Sorribes Tormo lost in qualifying at this tournament but entered through the backdoor as a lucky loser and stunned Krejcikova’s compatriot Linda Noskova in the main draw. Krejcikova won’t be treating her lightly, and the 28-year-old’s silken baseline game should prove too much for the tireless Spaniard.
Prediction: Krejcikova in 2
Anhelina Kalinina vs Liudmila Samsonova
Head-to-head: first meeting
It was a dismal Australian summer for Liudmila Samsonova, who came into the new season as a potential threat and on the cusp of a Top 1o breakthrough. But she failed to win a single match Down Under and tallied just one set across three tournaments. But her response has been swift and emphatic in Abu Dhabi, thrashing Lesia Tsurenko 6-0, 6-1 in her first-round match. The big-hitting Russian was a finalist here last year, spurning multiple championship points in the final. But she looks poised to address that mishap and should be favored to scale past an out-of-form Anhelina Kalinina.
Prediction: Samsonova in 2
Heather Watson vs Cristina Bucsa
Head-to-head: first meeting
After a winless January, Heather Watson got her season off the mark in Abu Dhabi. The former British No. 1 scored a pair of high-quality wins in qualifying, ousting Sofia Kenin and Cristina Bucsa’s compatriot Rebeka Masarova, each in three sets. Watson proceeded to shock ninth seed Veronika Kudermetova in the main draw. Bucsa is making the most of her second chance after getting into the main draw as a lucky loser and upsetting the higher-ranked Xinyu Wang in her first match. On paper, this is an even matchup, but the experienced Watson appears to have built some serious momentum that is unlikely to abate on Thursday.
Prediction: Watson in 3
Elena Rybakina vs Danielle Collins
Head-to-head: Rybakina 2-1 Collins
Not even the seventh-fastest recorded serve in WTA history could thwart Danielle Collins in her opening match against Naomi Osaka. In spite of sending down that nuclear serve, Osaka was wasteful on her return games. She did not take any of her six break point chances, and the match slipped away in a hurry. Maybe the additional mileage from playing two qualifying matches meant Collins was more prepared for the long haul. But you would expect a more aggressive player like Elena Rybakina to have more success behind the return and win this match. Nevertheless, expect the American to push her all the way.
Prediction: Rybakina in 3
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