WTA Birmingham QF polls for Friday
WTA Birmingham R2 Match Thoughts for Thursday
Petra Kvitova vs. Daria Gavrilova: Gavrilova leads the H2H, 2-1 although the pair have never played on grass before. I think this will be a tricky match for Kvitova as Gavrilova is wonderfully scrappy. The Aussie was surprisingly (but pleasantly!) aggressive against Cibulkova. I think Dasha gets at least a set. I’ll go for Petra in 3.
Garbiñe Muguruza vs. Barbora Strycova: Fascinated by this one as I got to see their last encounter live at Eastbourne where Muguruza won one game. It was one of the most baffling matches i’ve ever watched live and even more baffling was that Muguruza went onto to win Wimbledon at her next tournament. For me it depends on which Muguruza shows up. The one that played Pavs was superb and would be a clear favorite. However, you can never be too sure and Strycova loves the grass too.
Julia Goerges vs. Ash Barty: New match-up alert klaxon! Intrigued by this match, my match of the day. Goerges has never thrived on the grass and is 14-16 on this surface. I was impressed with how she played against Sakkari. Barty is on an absolute roll and comes into this match on a six match winning streak. It will be a battle of the forehands. Barty’s played a lot of tennis, but my hunch is she’ll be good to go. Going for Barty in… 3.
Daria Kasatkina vs. Lesia Tsurenko: Kasatkina rallied past Kris. Plis. in the first round and finished the match in style. Tsurenko won her first match since injuring her leg in Paris vs. Watson, cruelly ending her fourth rounder against Muguruza. I actually quite like Dasha on the grass. She needs more matches and hopeful she can get the win here for another match on Friday!
WTA Birmingham R2 Polls for Wednesday
WTA Birmingham R2 Match Thoughts for Wednesday
Magdalena Rybarikova vs. Kristina Mladenovic: Interesting match between two players with bundles of variety. Rybarikova has won their two previous matches but both went super close being decided in the depths of a third set. I think Mladenovic’s game can thrive on the grass with the variety and power. I thought Mlads did well to beat Siniakova in the first round and i’m intrigued to see if she can build on that result. Being Brum, i’d take Rybarikova in three sets.
Naomi Osaka vs. Dalila Jakupovic: Jakupovic is having a terrific grass court season having made the QFs of Nottingham and already won four matches in Birmingham including a brilliant first round win over Elise Mertens where she saved two match points. I’m really keen on Osaka and grass, and I think she’s improving with each match. One to watch at Wimby for sure. I’ll go for Osaka’s power in 2 with a concern for how much tennis Jakupovic has played in the last week or so.
Elina Svitolina vs. Alizé Cornet: Svitolina wasn’t troubled by Cornet earlier in the year in Madrid, winning, 6-2 6-2. The pair have never played before on grass. Cornet is pretty versatile these days and has had some excellent results on the grass in the past. I guess Svits for the win, but Cornet is certainly capable of springing an upset.
Mihaela Buzarnescu vs. Petra Martic: Buzarnescu has been an absolute revelation this year. Martic too is having another blinding year and she took out the seasoned grass courter, CoCo Vandeweghe in the first round of Birmingham. The last time Martic and Buzarnescu played each other was in the second round of qualifying at Wimbledon last year! Both players are now top 50 and thriving on the tour. Instinct (which has been dire this week) is for Martic to win this one.
WTA Birmingham R1 Match Thoughts for Tuesday
Elina Svitolina vs. Donna Vekic: Svits hasn’t dropped more than four games in any of the six sets played previously vs. Vekic. Tough opener though considering Vekic thrives on grass. Still, I think Svits will be steady enough to prevail.
Heather Watson vs. Lesia Tsurenko: Decent draw for Watson against Tsurenko who is playing her first match since retiring hurt in Paris with a leg injury. Watson beat Tsurenko in the first round of Eastbourne last year and I think she’ll score the win here.
Petra Kvitova vs. Jo Konta: MOTD for sure. A bit on the fence actually as this is Kvitova’s first match on grass this year. I’ll go Petra because it’s Petra. Konta did look good in Nottingham.
Garbiñe Muguruza vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova: Muguruza has proven to be vulnerable pretty much anywhere away from the Slams. I think she will want to get a few matches here as she’s not currently down for Eastbourne. Pavs can play on the grass. I had Mugs out in R2 in my Draw Challenge. I’ll stick with Mugs for this one.
Julia Goerges vs. Maria Sakkari: Hipster match of the day. I think this could be a nice watch! Sakkari’s record is actually pretty decent on grass having qualified for Wimby in 2016 and reached the third round last year. A mild upset alert but i’ve gone for Goerges in 3.
Daria Kasatkina vs. Kristyna Pliskova: Dangerous opener for Dasha. Kr. Plisk won their only previous match, 6-0 6-3 in Indian Wells last year.
Alizé Cornet vs. Ekaterina Makarova: Three quality matches up first on the schedule. Cornet leads the H2H, 2-0 having won both their previous matches in straight sets. Makarova has had a pretty poor year in singles. Still, this is grass so i’d favour the Russian player here…
WTA Birmingham R1 Polls for Tuesday
WTA Birmingham R1 Match Thoughts for Monday
Kristina Mladenovic vs. Katerina Siniakova: The pair will meet for the sixth time on tour in the first main draw match from Birmingham. Difficult to pick out a winner as they have split their last four matches and neither has played a competitive match on grass yet. Siniakova’s recent form has been a bit better and I think winning the doubles at RG will have been a big confident boost. I’ll go for Siniakova in 3 as I remain highly unconvinced by Mladenovic at the moment.
Dominika Cibulkova vs. Daria Gavrilova: Their last match was a classic in the final of New Haven last year. I think this is a fun match-up as they are both great competitors. Hard to judge like the above as they will be playing their first singles match on grass this year. Instinct is Cibulkova in 3. Rooting for Gavrilova.
Naomi Osaka vs. Katie Boulter: I saw a bit of Boulter’s QF vs. Barty in Nottingham and I thought she acquitted herself well despite the one-sided scoreline. Osaka doesn’t look a natural yet on grass but seems to improve with each match. I think Osaka could do some damage on grass as she builds her experience. Osaka in two as I guess she will be too powerful for Boulter.
Ka. Pliskova vs. Rybarikova: Like Cibulkova-Gavrilova, their last match-up was a cracker. Rybarikova stunned Pliskova in the second round of Wimbledon last year. Rybarikova went out in the second round of Nottingham to Barthel. I wonder whether she will feel any pressure/expectation having to defend all the points she amassed last year. I hope I am wrong but my instinct is that Pliskova will start strong and win in 2.
WTA Birmingham R1 Polls for Monday