World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, Anastasija Sevastova, and Julia Goerges all withdrew from the Nature Valley International in order to preserve their health for Wimbledon. Still, life goes on in Eastbourne, with plenty of enticing matches on Tuesday’s schedule.
WTA Eastbourne Tuesday Predictions
Johanna Konta vs Maria Sakkari
Head to Head: Konta 1-1 Sakkari
The Brit, while still far from her No. 4 career-high ranking, has regained her mojo this season, currently standing in ninth position in the Race to Singapore. Besides, she has won 69% of her grass court matches ever since she broke into the WTA top 100. Meanwhile, Sakkari is enjoying a rocky season with several highs (Rabat title, Rome semis) but seven first round exits and her grass résumé is somewhat empty. At Wimbledon 2017, Konta handily dismissed the Greek 6-4 6-1. It would be shocking if Sakkari pulled off an upset here.
Prediction: Konta in 2
Aryna Sabalenka vs Tamara Zidansek
Head to Head: Zidansek 1-0 Sabalenka
On the back of a magnificent second half of the 2018 campaign, Sabalenka was poised for a tremendous 2019. However, much like Daenerys Targaryen, her world domination plans have failed miserably. Last year’s runner-up is arriving at Eastbourne with a meh 20-14 record and no grass wins in two events. In turn, Zidansek has been heating up lately, but her game style does not suit grass at all. According to Tennis Abstract’s surface specific ELO Ratings, the Slovenian is weaker on grass than the likes of world No. 238 Jovana Jaksic or world No. 201 Anna Zaja. Even a B- version of Sabalenka should prey on the top spin shots fired by Zidansek.
Prediction: Sabalenka in 2
Kiki Bertens vs Yulia Putintseva
Head to Head: Bertens 5-1 Putintseva
Disappointing Slam results notwithstanding, Bertens has been one of the most reliable players on tour since pairing up with coach Raemon Sluiter. The World No. 4 finds herself more comfortable on clay, but is no slouch on grass, reaching the Wimbledon quarters in 2018. Furthermore, she squandered four championship points at s’Hertogenbosch against Alison Riske last week.
In an interview she recently gave KLM’s The Holland Herald, the Dutch admitted she gets over tough losses quicker now than in the past. The 0-6 7-6 7-5 home defeat to Riske will surely sting, though. It’s uncertain whether Bertens is in the right mindset in Eastbourne. Putintseva will try to take advantage of the situation. The Kazakh faces a tough challenge against Bertens, whom she has only beaten once in six tries.
Prediction: Bertens in 2
Sloane Stephens vs Jelena Ostapenko
Head to Head: Stephens 1-0 Ostapenko
A duel between two recent Major winners in the round of 32 of a WTA Premier? Sign me in. It’s no secret that grass is, by far, Stephens’ worst surface, having never reached a tour level final. On the other hand, Ostapenko produced solid results in England over the past two seasons. The former Wimbledon girls champion collected nine singles wins at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club since 2017. A boom or bust opponent such as Ostapenko is far from an ideal debut for the American.
Prediction: Ostapenko in 3
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