The seven remaining second round matches will be played on a busy day in Stuttgart on Thursday. Seeds two to four come out to play for the first time this week, as well as home favourites, Angelique Kerber and Laura Siegemund. A recap of Wednesday’s schedule will be up on the blog soon…
Laura Siegemund vs. CoCo Vandeweghe
This is probably my match of the day 🤣. I’m surprised to see that Vandeweghe leads the head-to-head, 2-0 including a win on the fast clay courts of Madrid back in 2017. I was impressed with Siegemund’s level against Strycova and I think she’s going to drive Vandeweghe potty. I just don’t think CoCo will have the patience to stay with Siegemund’s unique brand of aggressive clay court tennis. I’m going for Siegemund in 2.
Elina Svitolina (3) vs. Marketa Vondrousova
Svitolina’s first ever match in Stuttgart will be against the talented Czech teen, Marketa Vondrousova. The 18-year-old has shown flashes of brilliance in 2018 and scored her second win over a world #11 on Tuesday when she beat Julia Goerges, 6-2 6-2. Svitolina and Vondrousova played earlier in the year where Svitolina won comfortably, 6-2 6-4 in Doha.
Vondrousova seems to be settling in nicely on the WTA circuit and has four matches under her belt on these unique courts in Stuttgart. I’d still go against the upset alert as Svitolina is normally a fast starter and handles the tough openers well. Svitolina hasn’t lost her first match at a regulation tournament since Madrid last year.
Caroline Garcia (6) vs. Martya Kostyuk
I’m fascinated by this second round clash as the 15-year-old, Kostyuk gets her second shot at a top ten player. Kostyuk impressed at the Australian Open where she became the youngest player to reach the last 32 since 1997. Since that result, the Ukrainian player has continued to dazzle by winning a $60k title in Australia and beating Daria Gavrilova in Fed Cup.
Kostyuk qualified for the Stuttgart main draw and won her first round match against Antonia Lottner, 6-4 6-1. This was the first time i’ve seen her play and I was impressed – the serve and transition game stood out for me. The way she carried herself on court was also noteworthy. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kostyuk challenge Garcia here. I’m going for CarGar in 3.
Karolina Pliskova (5) vs. Veronika Kudermetova
It’s been quite a week for Kudermetova who has yet to drop a set with wins over Petra Krejsova (6-2 6-3, QR1), Hsieh Su-Wei (6-3 6-3, QR2), Varvara Lepchenko (6-2 6-4, QR3) and most impressively of all, Carla Suárez Navarro (7-6 6-2, R1). I haven’t seen Kudermetova in singles so I can’t really give a valid opinion. I’m not feeling an upset alert after Pliskova’s first round display.
Jelena Ostapenko (4) vs. Zarina Diyas
All four qualifers are into the second round of Stuttgart with Zarina Diyas playing her fourth match of the week against Ostapenko. Diyas has a really solid game and can hit big. Ostapenko seems to be rounding into form and beat Ekaterina Makarova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in Fed Cup at the weekend, both in straights on indoor clay. As with most Ostapenko matches, it will depend on her level and recovery from Fed Cup. If she’s off then Diyas is definitely good enough to take advantage. I’m going with Ostapenko to maintain her impressive recent form.
Angelique Kerber vs. Anett Kontaveit
I always enjoy watching Kerber going up against a big hitter so this could be a fun one. Both come into this second round match after confidence-boosting wins. Kerber produced a brilliant display to overturn last Sunday’s Fed Cup loss against Petra Kvitova, 6-3 6-2. Kontaveit saved a couple of match points to come out on top of a truly epic clash against Kristina Mladenovic.
In a match that i’d forgotten about from last year, Kontaveit beat the then world number one, Kerber in Rome. Kontaveit has huge weapons and plenty of heart, but is still too often one-dimensional and vulnerable in winning positions. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a little drop in Kerber’s intensity after Wednesday’s heavily anticipated match against Kvitova. Still, Kerber in two for me.
Garbiñe Muguruza (2) vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Muguruza’s never lost to Pavlyuchenkova in three previous meetings. I’d actually chuck in a mild upset alert. It would be kind of unexpected based on Pavlyuchenkova’s form this year which makes me think it is more likely! I’m intrigued to see how Muguruza tackles the clay court season this year with surely less pressure compared to last year where she was preparing for the defence of her French Open title. Muguruza will be looking to improve on a 2-3 W-L record in Stuttgart.