Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the WTA Finals. A lingering shoulder injury left the first round winner unable to compete. At this time, Osaka believes it is muscular and can be rehabbed with rest. Tenth in the race, Kiki Bertens entered the competition as an alternate and chalked up her first win. Thursday will be an important day for the Red Group as a semifinal bid is viable all four contenders.
The Red Group takes the court for the second round of the group stage. Simona Halep and Elina Svitolina square off, with wins in their opening round. Karolina Pliskova and Bianca Andreescu will be fighting for their first win on Day 4. Who’ll move a step closer in their championship bid?
WTA Finals Day 4 Predictions
Simona Halep vs Elina Svitolina
Head to head: Halep 3-4 Svitolina
Simona Halep turned in a gritty and determined performance in her opening round. The Romanian battled back after dropping the first set. Halep’s stellar defense allowed her to keep balls in play that few opponents can handle. The World #5 capitalized on returning serve, winning 44% of return points and breaking the Andreescu serve on six occasions. The pain point in the Halep game was her service. Halep got 60% of her first serves in play but defended only 48% of her second delivery. Against a red-hot returner in the form of Elina Svitolina, Halep is going to need to improve here.
Elina Svitolina should be brimming with confidence after defeating Karolina Pliskova in her opener. It was a strong performance from the defending champion. The Ukrainian hasn’t claimed a title in 2019, and will be intent on retaining this title. Svitolina was rock solid in the big moments and attacked any weak deliveries from Pliskova. It’s a dangerous skill which could well upend Simona Halep.
While Svitolina is title-less in 2019, she is clearly determined to claim the title in Shenzhen. Svitolina has been the more consistent player. Halep may have gained confidence with her opening round win, but she hasn’t shown the level which led her to the Wimbledon championship. I see Svitolina battling through to another win.
Prediction: Svitolina in 3
Karolina Pliskova vs Bianca Andreescu
Head to head: Pliskova 0-1 Andreescu
Bianca Andreescu couldn’t find a way through Simona Halep in her opening match. In a long, three set bout, the Canadian couldn’t claim vital points. Halep’s ability to get one more ball back simply ground down the teen phenom. Andreescu is one of the best second serve defenders. Yet, the World #4 lost 43% of her service games. Is it the elite competition or the nerves? It was an atypical performance from the US Open Champion. This is a must win match for Andreescu in WTA Final campaign.
Karolina Pliskova fell in straight sets to defending champion Elina Svitolina. The Czech played well, but couldn’t capitalize on the biggest moments. Pliskova’s big serve was there, finding seven aces. Yet, the Czech also had six double faults. Pliskova won just 39% behind her second delivery – a stat she’ll need to lift against the strong return game of Andreescu.
Overall, Pliskova played well in her opening. A few points could have shifted the dynamic of the Pliskova opener. Look for the World #2 to bounce back strong for her second round. Whether it’s the elite competition or the toll of a long season, the US Open champion was unable to find a win. Surely, there’s a certain amount of nerves which come with a maiden trip to the WTA Finals. I see Pliskova’s good form and experience giving her the edge in the match.
Prediction: Pliskova in 3
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