Hobart International Day 2 sees the four top seeds in action. Here’s a look at four interesting matches, including top seed Elise Mertens. We also have predictions for the other four Tuesday matches.
Who’s moving on to the Round of 16?
Hobart International Day 2 Predictions
Sorana Cirstea vs Kristyna Pliskova
Head to head: Cirstea 1-0 Pliskova
Sorana Cirstea cruised through qualifiers defeating both Australian Gabriella DaSilva Fick and compatriot Irina-Camelia Begu in straight sets. Obviously, Kristyna Pliskova is a more skilled opponent. Yet, the Romanian claimed the win in their only meeting. It was a three set bout which Cirstea took 1-6, 6-3, 6-2. This is another match which will be won by the smallest of margins.
Kristyna Pliskova is coming off a semifinal run in Shenzhen. The Czech lost to a strong performance from Kazakh Elena Rybakina 6-2, 7-5. The big serve is Pliskova’s strongest weapon. And, it will need to be spot on to get past Cirstea.
The Romanian is already showing strong in Hobart. It should be another three-setter but one which Cirstea can win.
Prediction: Cirstea in 3
Kirsten Flipkens vs Zhang Shuai
Head to head: First meeting
Kirsten Flipkens will need to be prepared to hit a lot of balls when she meets Zhang Shuai in her Hobart opener. Not the ideal match up for the Belgian who prefers to end points on her terms. The veteran will spend quite a bit of time chasing down Zhang’s clever redirected balls or her deft dropshots. Exhausting? Absolutely. In the end, the #4 seed will move through with relative ease.
Prediction: Zhang in 2
Alison Van Uytvanck vs Alize Cornet
Head to head: First meeting
High risk, high reward. That’s Alison Van Uytvanck’s game in a nutshell. When the Belgian is hitting her marks, she’s an unstoppable force. An inform Van Uytvanck will push her opponents back and control the court.
Alize Cornet is a steady baseline player. Yet, if Van Uytvanck is on, the Frenchwoman may find her timing disrupted and her replies weak. So much will depend on Van Uytvanck’s game. And, Cornet won’t come up with an answer if she’s on.
Prediction: Van Uytvanck in 2
Elise Mertens vs Christina McHale
Head to head: Mertens 0-1 McHale
Don’t put too much stock in Christina McHale’s head to head lead. Elise Mertens’ 2017 loss to the American was at a much different stage in their careers. Mertens is the top seed in Hobart and with good reason. Belgium’s 24-year-old is a Top 20 player, now with five career singles titles to her name. With a 68% first serve percentage and a 43% break point conversion, Mertens makes for a daunting opponent for Christina McHale.
If the American can replicate the aggressive returns she exhibited in Auckland, McHale can give Mertens a run for her money. Yet, Mertens certainly won’t give McHale the pace to easily redirect. Rather, McHale will need to be prepared for longer rallies with consistent, deep balls. Creating her opening will be key to a McHale victory. However, I simply don’t see McHale breaking down Mertens strategic and patient play.
Prediction: Mertens in 3
Main Photo from Getty.