There are some incredible matches to come today at WTA Dubai as the second round gathers pace into the evening session.
We predict the later matches in this article, but don’t forget to read our previews and predictions for the earlier matches, including Kristina Mladenovic vs Karolina Pliskova.
WTA Dubai Day 3 Predictions
Elena Rybakina vs Katerina Siniakova
Head-to-Head Record: Rybakina 2-2 Siniakova
These two have become very familiar with each other in a very short space of time. This will be their fifth meeting within ten months. The most recent was only last week in St. Petersburg and the Kazakh emerged victorious there.
Rybakina got to this match by eliminating Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in an intense battle of excellent hitting. The youngster is improving so rapidly she may really have an excellent chance of glory this week. Siniakova recorded a rare win against a fellow Czech yesterday and was impressive, especially in the final set. Repeating that level will get her some opportunities but she will probably have to step up a bit more to beat Rybakina in her current form.
Prediction: Rybakina in 2
Anett Kontaveit vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Head-to-Head Record: Kontaveit 3-2 Pavlyuchenkova
Hoping for an entertaining match here between two attacking players. Pavlyuchenkova broke her ten-year main draw losing streak in style against defending champion Belinda Bencic Tuesday. This despite losing the first nineteen points of the match.
Kontaveit was impressive against Sorana Cirstea, dropping only four games. The Estonian created a massive fourteen breakpoints against the Romanian, whilst conceding only one on her own delivery.
If Pavlyuchenkova continues to deliver the sheer number of winners that she has been recently delivering then there is only one winner. However, Kontaveit has a strong and quick defence and if anyone can make Pavlyuchenkova rush and make mistakes it may well be a quick player like her. I am just going to edge towards attack in this one and pick Pavlyuchenkova to progress.
Prediction: Pavlyuchenkova in 3
Elise Mertens vs Aryna Sabalenka
Head-to-Head Record: Mertens 2-2 Sabalenka
This is a tough match to call. The Belgian is often underrated, possibly because of her lack of any stand out weapons on the court. However, her all-court game is very strong, as demonstrated in the first round when she knocked out Wang Qiang for the loss of only three games.
Sabalenka, in contrast, seems to possess a lot of weapons. The Belarusian has a powerful serve and attacking groundstrokes. As with most players of this type though the struggle is always with controlling that power and deploying it accurately and at the right time.
Statistically, there is very little between the pair. Win percentage-wise they are exactly the same, Sabalenka has a slight edge of service holds but Mertens has a big edge on return. The key to the match will be the Sabalenka service games and whether the Belgian can get into enough of them to create opportunities. I think that she will and I will go for the consistency of Mertens to prevail here.
Prediction: Mertens in 3
Simona Halep vs Ons Jabeur
Head-to-Head Record: Jabeur 1-0 Halep
The previous encounter between these two ended in retirement from Halep at the end of set one, so this career series cannot be taken very seriously.
What can be taken seriously though is Jabeur’s performance in the first round. She played some mesmeric tennis in defeating the well-fancied Alison Riske. The Tunisian did this despite a first-serve percentage below 50% so if she was able to improve that aspect of her game against Halep then she stands an excellent chance here.
Halep is playing her first match since her defeat in the Australian Open semifinals to Garbine Muguruza. While she may look back on that as an opportunity lost, that run did demonstrate her level of form and her ability to compete really well on hard courts these days, something that has improved a great deal over the past couple of years.
The data suggests a Halep win, with the Romanian ahead on most form lines. I suspect Jabeur gives not one care for data and form lines, such is the free nature of her tennis. This match could go the distance and I think that Jabeur could catch Halep cold here ad produce a real shock.
Prediction: Jabeur in 3
Main Photo from Getty.
Disagree with our WTA Dubai Day 3 Predictions? As always, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.