As opposed to their male counterparts, most WTA heavyweights are electing to compete the week before Wimbledon. The Nature Valley International boasts an incredibly strong field, featuring eight top 10 players, including new World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty. Expect high-caliber tennis all week long in Eastbourne. Here are our Monday Predictions including Caroline Wozniacki vs Kirsten Flipkens.
WTA Eastbourne Monday Predictions
Samantha Stosur vs Sofia Kenin
Head to Head: Stosur 1-0 Kenin
It always baffled me how a great doubles player with a powerful serve and top-notch net game such as Stosur never managed to do real damage on grass. One of tennis’ most undecipherable enigmas. Anyway, the 35-year-old, currently outside the top 100, has cruised through the qualifying draw and is playing solid tennis. The problem is that her opponent is fresh off a grass title. In Mallorca, Kenin captured her second crown of the season, carrying the momentum she created at Roland Garros by defeating Serena Williams and pushing Barty to a decider. Unless she’s exhausted after her formidable week in Spain, it’s hard to see the American flaming out in the first round here.
Prediction: Kenin in two.
Belinda Bencic vs Veronika Kudermetova
Official Head to Head: Kudermetova 2-0 Bencic
This duel between 22-year-olds has the potential to become the match of the day. On one hand, the Swiss came a point short from lifting the Mallorca Open trophy, dropping a 6-7 7-6 6-4 nail-bitter against Sofia Kenin. Previously, Bencic had routinely beaten the mighty teen Amanda Anisimova and reigning Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber. When she’s on, she possesses the tools to be a terrific player on grass. Barty’s recent success might be the spark she needs to make a similar leap.
On the other hand, Kudermetova is one of the most improved players on tour. In fact, she has risen nearly 80 spots in the rankings, up to a career-high No. 58. The Russian challenged grass specialist and eventual champion Alison Riske in the s’Hertogenbosch semis, losing 6-4 3-6 7-6 after failing to serve it out. Her first serve is massive and her groundstrokes are hard to read. Barring injury, her ranking is bound to sky-rocket in the near future.
Bencic dominated the rivalry during their junior careers, but Kudermetova won their two recent WTA encounters, including one on grass last summer.
Prediction: Bencic in three.
Camila Giorgi vs Su-Wei Hsieh
Head to Head: Giorgi 1-0 Hsieh
Giorgi is the superior player on grass and, if she’s on, should overpower Hsieh. But that is a big if. Indeed, the Italian has not played a match in three months. It’s unclear how fit Giorgi really is, and Hsieh is a nightmare first opponent. The 33-year-old’s wide array of tricks could frustrate an out-of-form Giorgi.
Prediction: Hsieh in three.
Caroline Wozniacki vs Kirsten Flipkens
Head to Head: Caroline Wozniacki 1-1 Kirsten Flipkens
The Dane is having a dismal season by her standards, arriving at Eastbourne with a 9-8 record on the year. Moreover, Caroline Wozniacki hasn’t played on grass this year, as she got married last weekend to former NBA player David Lee in Italy. Can the defending champion turn on the switch and put together a good second half of the campaign? We will see. Immediately, she has to deal with a tricky foe like Flipkens. The Belgian is no longer the player she was when she reached the 2013 Wimbledon semis, but her unique style is uncomfortable to face on grass. Look for Flipkens to mix things up with her patented slices and charge the net when given a slight chance.
Prediction: Flipkens in two.