Day 3 at the WTA Qatar Total Open in Doha had its fair share of upsets. Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, seeded sixth in Doha, was bounced by Ukrainian young gun Dayana Yastremska. The defending champion Elise Mertens was upended by Yulia Putintseva in a three set skirmish.
Entering the Round of 16, we have predictions for all eight matches. Four are in this article, and four are in a second article.
WTA Doha Day 4 Predictions
Jelena Ostapenko vs Petra Kvitova
Head to head: Ostapenko 3-3 Kvitova
Jelena Ostapenko is showing the form which led a French Open championship. The aggressive shot making continues but now with an element of control. Of course, that could change at any moment. The Latvian has already reached the doubles quarterfinal and Petra Kvitova now stands in the way of a singles quarterfinal berth. In spite of getting just 52% of first serves in play, Ostapenko dropped only three games against Barbora Strycova.
Petra Kvitova is an elite opponent, but this is expected to be a sterner test. The Czech started slow against Carla Suarez Navarro, dropping the first set. By the decider, Kvitova was in great touch, not yielding a single game. The Kvitova serve was finding its mark. But, a slow start against an in-form Ostapenko could be deadly. I see Ostapenko taking the head to head lead.
Prediction: Ostapenko in 3
Kiki Bertens vs Zheng Saisai
Head to head: Bertens 2-0 Zheng
Kiki Bertens can produce her best tennis in the critical moments. The Dutchwoman is coming off her title run St. Petersburg. It was no easy task to take on red-hot Elna Rybakina. Yet, Bertens made it look easy. She claimed the title, dropping just four games en route. The great form continues for Bertens in Doha. It should be a routine win against an out-of-sorts Zheng.
Prediction: Bertens in 2
Yulia Putintseva vs Belinda Bencic
Head to head: Putintseva 3-1 Bencic
Putintseva is coming off a startling upset of defending champion Elise Mertens. Definitely a confidence booster for the Kazakh. The fourth seeded Bencic has played with the confidence nor the consistency which launched her up the rankings ladder in 2019. The head to head lead for Putintseva should extend tomorrow.
Prediction: Putintseva in 3
Ashleigh Barty vs Elena Rybakina
Head to head: Barty 1-0 Rybakina
Elena Rybakina has reached the finals of four out of five tournaments in 2020. Nothing short of remarkable as the 20-year-old continues her outstanding form. A tough battle against the World #1 is in store. Will Barty’s craft and variety be able to stop the Kazakh as she did in Melbourne? I think the Rybakina game is working too well at the moment.
Prediction: Rybakina in 3
Main Photo from Getty.