The last 16 remain in Toronto. After many surprising upsets and some very hard-fought wins, the Round of 16 starts Thursday. It promises to be a thrilling day of tennis, with Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep all in action in the bottom half of the draw. But who will make it to the quarterfinals at this prestigious tournament?
WTA Toronto Rogers Cup Day 4 Predictions
Belinda Bencic vs Elina Svitolina
Head to head: Bencic 2-0 Svitolina
Neither Bencic nor Svitolina are serving their best. Certainly, they could each use some improvement there. But both are returning exceptionally well and that is what has led them to their second round wins. This match will go to the player who can hold serve more often, in a match likely to be comprised of more breaks than holds. I give the edge to Bencic, who is more able to grind out the points in the big moments.
Prediction: Bencic in 3
Sofia Kenin vs Dayana Yastremska
Head to head: Kenin 0-1 Yastremska
Dayana Yastremska refused to go away in her bout with Victoria Azarekna. The Ukrainian only converted 42% of her break point opportunities, but was able to when it counted most. Down 3-5 in the second set, Yastremska rifled off four games to take the second set 7-5 and book her spot in the Round of 16.
Hard hitting American Sofia Kenin has moved through two matches which should have been troublesome. An opener against the crafty Shieh Su-wei proved no challenge for the feisty American with a straight sets win. Against World #1 and top seed Ashleigh Barty, it went to a decider before Kenin came through. Toronto was Barty’s first tournament play since her fourth round loss at Wimbledon. Kenin allowed the Aussie little time to shake off the rust, and the American chalked up her first World #1 win.
You have two very stubborn players, neither who will yield. Yastremska seems to be able to change up her strategy a wee bit better than the American. And, that should give her the edge in this battle.
Prediction: Yastremska in 3
Karolina Pliskova vs Anett Kontaveit
Head to head: Pliskova 2-0 Kontaveit
Pliskova came through quite a battle against American Alison Riske. Thanks to the #3 seed’s monster serve, she chalked up 11 aces and won 82% of her first serves. That’s a tough stat to play against. When the Czech is serving well, few if any, can stop her. Pliskova and Kontaveit met in Indian Wells for a long three set match in March. Pliskova emerged the winner, but was tested by Kontaveit.
Kontaveit moved on to the Round of 16 when Carla Suarez Navarro retired. That should be a benefit to the Estonian who needed an hour to get through the first set 7-5. If the Spaniard hadn’t retired, it would surely have been a long match tapping into the Kontaveit reserves.
In their last meeting, Kontaveit pushed the Czech powerhouse to a decider. It was not a straightforward win for Pliskova, who fought to earn it. Kontaveit has nine wins over Top 10 players and I’m sure she’s going to put every effort into make that 10 wins. Yet, when Pliskova is serving this well and saving 86% of break points, it’ll be hard to knock her out.
Prediction: Pliskova in 3
Kiki Bertens vs Bianca Andreescu
Head to head: First meeting
Bianca Andreescu looks to have returned to the WTA tour in good health and fine form. Not to overlook the gift from Daria Kasatkina’s six double faults (one which denied her match point) Andreescu demonstrated solid shot making to outsmart and outhit the 23-year-old Russian. Now comes the very hard task of taking on the WTA Tour’s most winning player, Kiki Bertens. The #5 seed has played only one match in Toronto. But it was certainly a commanding match, exiting the American qualifier Francesca Di Lorenzo for the loss of a meager three games.
This should be an epic encounter. Kiki Bertens doesn’t give in and doesn’t give up. Andreescu’s triumphant return is on home soil, the crowd’s support fully behind one of their own. This match will be won by the narrowest of margins.
Prediction: Andreescu in 3
Main Photo from Getty.