Mubadala Silicon Valley Open Day 3 Predictions – Including Elina Svitolina vs Daria Kasatkina

We’re moving into the Round of 16 in at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Open in San Jose. The top four seeds received a first round bye and will start their campaigns Wednesday or Thursday. The 2018 defending champion was eliminated by Russia’s Daria Kasatkina. Mihaela Buzarnescu was nowhere near the level we’ve seen – far too many unforced errors and a questionable serve dashed the unseeded Romanian’s hope of a second title. Tuesday was a bit more work, as it took three sets, but all four seeds who’ have now played in San Jose are through to the Round of 16.

Here’s a look at Day 3, the start of the Round of 16. Who will we see in the quarterfinals?

Mubadala Silicon Valley Open Day 3 Predictions

CoCo Vandeweghe vs Aryna Sabalenka

Head to head: Vandeweghe 1-0 Sabalenka (Fed Cup)

A pretty remarkable story–five months ago, CoCo Vandeweghe wasn’t able to walk. Now, she’s showing unhampered movement. Fitness may be an issue, having spent nine months away from the game, though she certainly had enough to get through her first round challenge of Maria Bouzkova. This was an ideal opponent for the American’s return to the WTA tour. Not much threat from Bouzkova’s average first serve speed of 78 mph. Certainly, CoCo will need to clean up the unforced errors and double faults, but all-in-all, a nice showing for Vandeweghe’s return.

Sabalenka’s 2019 has been a struggle. The in-form Sabalenka from 2018 is gone, and in its place is self-doubt and inconsistency. While the Belorussian has had some remarkable doubles success, her singles game simply isn’t clicking. Coming into San Jose as the #2 seed, Sabalenka received a first round bye. She will present a much more challenging foe for Vandeweghe than the American’s first round opponent did. But, we’ll see a match laden with unforced errors and double faults. Of course, there will be some powerful, heavy shots and awe-inspiring winners from both players. But it’s really the error count which will determine the winner, and I predict that’ll be Sabalenka by the narrowest of margins.
Prediction: Sabalenka in 3

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Carla Suarez Navarro vs Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Head to head: Suarez Navarro 1-2 Mattek-Sands

In perhaps the most intense match played so far in San Jose, Bethanie Mattek-Sands defeated Venus Williams in a nail-biting three setter. Disrupting Williams’ rhythm with lofted balls, deep slices, drop shots and unbridled power, Mattek-Sands moved with confidence and purpose. Hard to believe two years ago she sustained what many thought to be a career-ending injury. Certainly it’s an error prone style when she swings with wild abandon, but when her balls are hitting their mark, Mattek-Sands is virtually unstoppable.

Carla Suarez Navarro will have her hands full when she meets the American in the Round of 16. With such significant shot variety, Suarez Navarro will be frustrated with no way to answer. Generally a good mover, the Spaniard should be prepared to put some miles on chasing down balls. There’s always the chance that Mattek-Sands will come crashing back down to Earth. I just don’t think it’ll happen soon enough for Suarez Navarro.
Prediction: Mattek-Sands in 3

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Mayo Hibi vs Maria Sakkari

Head to head: First meeting

Mayo Hibi frustrated fellow qualifier Timea Babos with a variety of shots – from drop shots to lobs, flat forehand winners to looping, deep backhands. It was a three hour display of variety from the Japanese which Babos couldn’t find a way to derail. It’s a style similar to the crafty Hesih Su-wei which lands Hibi in the Round of 16.

Maria Sakkari dropped just five games in her opening round against Ekaterian Alexandrova. However, the Grecian will see a style much different than the first round hard hitting Russian. It may take a few games for the #7 seed to adjust to the craft and tempo from Hibi. But, Sakkari is an adaptable player who can adjust to the varied shots she’ll see from Hibi. Sakkari’s power and movement will see her through to the quarterfinals. I expect a bit of frustration from the Greek but she’ll remain focused on another deep run at the Silicon Valley Open.
Prediction: Sakkari in 2

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Elina Svitolina vs Daria Kasatkina

Head to head: Svitolina 4-0 Kasatkina

Wild card Daria Kasatkina dethroned the defending champion with the loss of only four games. It was a combination of Kasatkina’s solid performance and Buzarnescu’s lackluster performance. En route to the win, Kasatkina maintained a 74% first serve and won 82% of her first serve points. Even her second serve was solid, winning 70%. Kasatkina gave Buzarnescu a single break point opportunity, which the Romanian was able to claim. It was a solid showing from the struggling Russian, who will now go up against the #1 seed.

Elina Svitolina’s form is definitely back. The start of 2019 saw the Ukrainian make deep runs in every tournament. Then, Svitolina had a three month stint where she couldn’t string together many wins. It turned around at Wimbledon, where World #7 dropped only one set to the semifinals. She lost that match to the eventual champion, Simona Halep. But, Svitolina was playing her cleanest tennis and demonstrating why she was the buzz of early 2019. Svitolina should bring in a straight sets win over the wild card Kasatkina.
Prediction: Svitolina in 2

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Disagree with our Mubadala Silicon Valley Open Day 3 Predictions? As always, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.


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