2018 Wimbledon WTA Manic Monday Round 4 Previews: Kerber vs Bencic, Hsieh vs Cibulkova, Ostapenko vs Sasnovich, Van Uytvanck vs Kasatkina

Wimbledon’s Manic Monday is one of the best ever days on the WTA calendar as all the fourth round matches are played on the same day with 16 players vying to reach the quarterfinals of the prestigious Grand Slam. Even with the decimation of the seeds, the line-up is still fantastic which showcases the depth that the WTA has right now. Let’s get on with the post – continue reading for previews of the top half of the draw including Kerber-Bencic, Hsieh-Cibulkova, Ostapenko-Sasnovich and Van Uytvanck-Kasatkina…

Wimbledon, Manic Monday Fourth Round

1. [11] Angelique Kerber (No.11) vs Belinda Bencic (No.56)

Image result for bencic wimbledon 2018

My match of the day as two very good grass court players go up against each other. Kerber hasn’t been at her best throughout this whole grass court swing, putting in some scrappy performances to beat Vera Zvonareva and Claire Liu, but finally showed her best as she hit 21 winners to just five unforced errors to oust Naomi Osaka, 6-2 6-4. Angie showcased why she is one of the best counter-punchers on the tour as she soaked up Osaka’s pace brilliantly, whilst going for her shots when she has an opportunity to. Her serve was also firing on all cylinders, which is something she can struggle with constantly. Very impressive from Angie who is looking like the favourite to come through from the top half of the draw.

It’s really unfortunate Bencic has struggled with so many injuries in her career because without them, I’d have her as a top 20-nner, perhaps even top 10. Bencic is showing the tennis that brought her to the top 10 back in 2016 with confident victories over No.6 seed Caroline Garcia, Alison Riske (saving match points in the process) and Carla Suarez Navarro.

Thoughts: I think Bencic will pose some problems for Kerber, but not enough to take this to a three-setter. I suspect Bencic will find it tough to hit past Kerber and the latter will once again produce a top-notch display. If there’s no lapse of concentration or nerves, I think the German will come through in two sets.

Final Prediction: Angelique Kerber d. Belinda Bencic in two sets

2. Hsieh Su-Wei (No.48) vs Dominika Cibulkova (No.32)

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Hsieh is once again bringing the ‘Su-Wei’ style to the Slams as she produced one of the best matches of the tournament, saving a match point to oust No.1 seed Simona Halep 3-6 6-4 7-5. Halep wasn’t playing her best tennis and was mostly passive, staying back behind the baseline, and had still managed to produce a 5-2 lead in the deciding set. Hsieh though mounted an epic comeback as she produced some brilliant play to win five straight games and notch a first win against a No.1 player. Hsieh’s brand of tennis is so refreshing to watch and she’s another proof that you don’t need a lot power in your game to be one of the best.

Perhaps the snub from Wimbledon to give Serena Williams the seeding has inspired Cibulkova to play her best tennis. The top unseeded player in the draw, Cibulkova has not dropped a set enroute to this stage with wins over Alizé Cornet, Jo Konta and Elise Mertens. I watched Cibulkova’s dismissal of Mertens as she was so aggressive, dictating majority of the points with her forehand, leaving Mertens with no time to produce some good shots. I think I haven’t seen Cibulkova playing that well since 2016.

Head to head: Cibulkova leads the head to head 2-0, with their last match at the 2017 Australian Open – Dominika won that 6-4, 7-6(8).

Thoughts: This could be a really fascinating encounter as both players are well accustomed on the grass. Cibulkova shouldn’t be too surprised at what Hsieh will produce and I wonder if the Halep match has taken a lot out of Hsieh. Cibulkova in 3…

Final Prediction: Dominika Cibulkova d. Hsieh Su-Wei in three sets

3. [12] Jelena Ostapenko (No.12) vs Aliaksandra Sasnovich (No.50)

Image result for ostaPENKO wimbledon 2018

Ostapenko has shown once again that prior form doesn’t matter in a Slam as she has blasted past her opponents to reach the second week of Wimbledon for the second straight year. Ostapenko had been ultra disappointing with losses to Evgeniya Rodina in RG and Agnieszka Radwanska in Eastbourne but has found back her range once again with comfortable wins over Katy Dunne, Kirsten Flipkens and Vitalia Diatchenko.

The Latvian was seeded to play Petra Kvitova here, but it will be Petra-slayer Sasnovich who will try to reach her first ever Grand Slam semifinal. Sasnovich’s flat strokes and quick speed around the court has been a tough ask for her opponents to break down, as Kvitova, Taylor Townsend and Daria Gavrilova all have come unstuck at the hands of the Belarusian.

Thoughts: As most offensive-defensive matches go, this one will depend on Ostapenko’s level. If the Latvian is able to continue her good form, she’ll win this comfortably, but if she starts to make some errors, Sasnovich can definitely take advantage of it. I’m currently pretty high on Ostapenko…

Final Prediction: Jelena Ostapenko d. Aliaksandra Sasnovich in two sets

4. Alison Van Uytvanck (No.47) vs [14] Daria Kasatkina (No.14)

Image result for kasatkina wimbledon 2018

Van Uytvanck is enjoying one of her best weeks of her career – with wins over defending champion Garbiñe Muguruza and Anett Kontaveit, the Belgian’s grass court credentials have brought her to a first ever second week appearance in Wimbledon.

Kasatkina successfully matched her seeding with a second week run in Wimbledon for the first time. I don’t really think Kasatkina’s game is suited to grass but she has been impressive with straight set wins over Jana Fett, Yulia Putintseva and Ash Barty. She seems more comfortable on this surface as this grass court swing has progressed which is very impressive for a young player like her.

Thoughts: I don’t have many data points for this because I haven’t been able to watch their matches this week. Van Uytvanck is the more natural player on grass, but Kasatkina has been trusting in her game this week and has done very well against tricky opponents. Slightly edging towards the Russian.

Final Prediction: Daria Kasatkina d. Alison Van Uytvanck in three sets

Thanks for reading! Check out my Wimbledon predictions here or at the top of the page!

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