We’re down to the quarterfinals of the Rogers Cup in Toronto with eight strong contenders. These matches should be long, hard fought battles. Who will punch their ticket for the semifinals?
WTA Toronto Rogers Cup Quarterfinal Predictions
Sofia Kenin vs Elina Svitolina
Head to head: Kenin 0-1 Svitolina
Elina Svitolina has been finding ways to win despite serving at 58%. The Ukrainian bounced Belinda Bencic in straight sets. Not surprising Svitolina won, but it’s quite surprising she did it in straight sets with her serve broken three times. The Svitolina return of serve has been her real weapon.
Sofia Kenin enjoyed a straight sets win over Dayana Yastremska, dropping just four games. It was a commanding performance in which Kenin converted 100% of her break point opportunities and saved six break points on her serve. The American seems to do well against Top 10 opponents and it seems the bigger the stage, the harder the opponent, the tougher Kenin is to beat.
This should be quite a contest. Svitolina’s serve could use some improvement, but the rest of the #6 seed’s game is so solid it compensates for that deficiency. Kenin has been incredibly consistent and she really challenged Svitolina in Indian Wells. Taking the ball early with controlled aggression will put Svitolina on her heels. A solid, in-form Kenin should get to the semifinals.
Prediction: Kenin in 3
Karolina Pliskova vs Bianca Andreescu
Head to head: First meeting
It looks like the shoulder injury is firmly behind Bianca Andreescu. In her country’s tournament, Andreescu has shown no signs of lingering problems and has been hammering her serve. The form looks good for the teenage phenom, now the sole Canadian representing the country in search of the Rogers Cup title. Wednesday, Andreescu defeated the WTA tour’s most winning player of 2019. Sure, it took three sets, but that seems to be the norm for Andreescu.
Karolina Pliskova eliminated the #16 seed, Anett Kontaveit, in straight sets to claim her quarterfinal spot. In the match, Pliskova won 80% of her first serves and fired off six aces. The Czech won only 47% of her second serves, opening the way for two service breaks. When Karolina Pliskova is serving well, few can find a way to win. Yet Bianca Andreescu is one of the few which just may be able to do that.
Bianca Andreescu has racked up quite a few wins against higher ranked players and hasn’t lost to a Top 5 player. On home soil, and a demonstratively supportive crowd behind her, it’s going to be hard for the #3 seed to oust Andreescu. I expect we’ll see another three-setter, full of momentum shifts, variety and power tennis. But in Canada, at the Rogers Cup, I’m sticking with Andreescu.
Prediction: Andreescu in 3
Maria Bouzkova vs Simona Halep
Head to head:
Maria Bouzkova hasn’t dropped a set yet in Canada. No small accomplishment for the qualifier who spoiled the #7 seed Sloan Stephen’s want for a deep run on the hard courts. Then, the Czech exited Jelena Ostapenko, which the Latvian played at the top of her game. Now, Bouzkova will square off against the defending champion as she continues the quest for her maiden WTA tour title. Bouzkova’s stellar play has moved her up from #91 to a career high #66 in the WTA live ranking.
Simona Halep dropped just three games en route to her win over Svetlana Kuznetsova. The #4 seed continually gets the most impossible shots back in play, frustrating her opponents. It’s tough to get a ball past the Romanian who demonstrates such keen anticipation and exceptional speed.
Bouzkova hasn’t faced anyone with Halep’s defensive skills. Hard hitters like Vickery, Ostapenko and Stephens worked nicely into the Bouzkova game. It will be interesting to see how the 21-year-old adjusts to a vastly different style and long rallies. I think Bouzkova will learn from this match, even if it’s unlikely she’ll win it.
Prediction: Halep in 2
Serena Williams vs Naomi Osaka
Head to head: Williams 0-2 Osaka
Serena Williams has shaken off the rust as only she can. Power, movement and speed have nicely come together, along with her trademark power serve, making Serena a bona fide contender for the title. Some games seem to go askew, yet the American superstar comes right back. The Williams serve has been broken five times so far, but that’s nothing compared to the ten breaks of serve she’s claimed. When Serena gets on a roll, it’s a difficult force to stop.
The misery we saw from Osaka during the clay and grass season is gone. In its place is a positive, competitive and calm Osaka – the Osaka who is capable of title runs. In a neck and neck match against 18-year-old Iga Swiatek, the two time Slam champion remained poised and focused. A straight sets win when mightily pressured by the up and coming Swiatek shows the Naomi Osaka who won the Australian Open is back.
When Osaka is at the top of her game, it’s hard to get through her – as Serena Williams certainly knows. But Serena is in form, injury free, and seems determined to win. If Serena can forego the two or three game lapses and keep constant pressure on Osaka, Serena moves on to the quarterfinals.
Prediction: Serena Williams in 3
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