Nature Valley Classic Birmingham Predictions
Day 7 – Birmingham Predictions
Barty d. Goerges in three sets – Both Barty and Goerges scored solid straight-set wins over their semifinal opponents to set up a pretty interesting final. Goerges is such an aggressive and tall player, so Barty’s effective slice will definitely disturb her rhythm and usual gameplan. Would have definitely gone for Barty in this one, but with the Australian withdrawing from doubles due to an arm injury, it’ll be interesting to see how she approaches this match. She’s also aiming for the No.1 ranking with the win here which will add a bit of pressure on the Australian’s shoulders. Ultimately still edging towards Barty, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see this go to three sets.
Day 6 – Birmingham Predictions
Barty d. Strycova in two sets – Barty didn’t play her best tennis against Venus, but didn’t need to as the latter fell apart after a good start and the Australian’s lethal slice was too much for the five-time Wimbledon champion. Feel that this match will be Barty’s toughest of the week as Strycova is a competent player on grass. Barty does everything a little better than Strycova though and should be too strong and extend her win streak to 11.
Goerges d. Martic in three sets – Martic should be playing with house money right now after she needed to save five match points to eventually come through a rollercoaster match against Ostapenko. Goerges is a very similar opponent once again but is a little more solid in all aspects. Once again, the match will be on Goerges’ racket and it mostly depends on her level. Instinct is that she comes through in a tough and tight match.
Day 5 – Birmingham Predictions
Strycova d. Kr.Pliskova in three sets – Strycova leads the head to head 2-0, having won their previous meeting last year in Linz 0&1! Both players are having one of their best tournaments of the year – Strycova beat Watson and doubles partner Hsieh enroute, while Kr.Pliskova scored her biggest win in her career in terms of ranking, hitting 24 aces enroute to beating sister Karolina. Kr.Pliskova does suit the grass with her big serve and potent groundstrokes, but Strycova is a smart veteran and will know how to use her variety best on the grass courts. Kr.Pliskova may cause some problems, but Strycova should be too smart and guile for her fellow Czech eventually.
Martic d. Ostapenko in three sets – Ostapenko has had her best tournament of the year so far here and as she said in her post-match interview, this is just the second time she has won back-to-back matches all year! Meanwhile Martic has had an excellent season so far and has brought her clay court form to the grass so far. Ostapenko will be a tough ask for Martic as she certainly does not have the power to outhit her, but Martic has the very handy slice and good court sense to be able to put Ostapenko under pressure. Ultimately it’ll still depend on Ostapenko’s level – while she loved the pace coming from Swiatek and Konta, Martic will pose a different challenge with the variety. Not convinced Ostapenko can keep her level from the first two rounds; edging towards Martic here.
Barty d. V.Williams in two sets – The most fascinating match from the slate of quarters IMO but feel this could be the one that ends the quickest. Venus has played two great matches on the grass, but playing three days in a row could prove to be tough. And while her first two opponents mostly played flat ground strokes, Barty is so different and is so much smarter. She is on a nine-match win streak at the moment and it looks like there is no stopping the Aussie at the moment. Think she’ll be too smart and come through this one in straights.
Goerges d. Putintseva in three sets – Haven’t watched Goerges’ matches this week but two straight sets wins on the grass will definitely do Goerges a world of good in terms of her confidence. Can’t believe Putintseva’s first victory over a top 70 player on grass has come against the World No.1 and Goerges is a very similar type of player to Osaka. This could go either way but going with the safer pick in this one.
Day 4 – Birmingham Predictions
Barty d. Brady in two sets – Barty the clear favourite, but Brady has played some good ball lately with a semifinal run in Nottingham. Barty looked so comfortable on grass with a clean and solid victory over Vekic in the first round.
Osaka d. Putintseva in two sets – Putintseva won their only previous meeting 3 & 3 at Hobart last year. Osaka’s a different player now and a tough three-set victory over Sakkari will raise her confidence. Don’t see Putintseva causing too many troubles on grass, although in theory Osaka’s game doesn’t match too well with Putintseva.
Goerges d. Rodina in two sets – Clearly all on the racket on Goerges and whether she can keep the ball in the court more often than not. Rodina needs to mix it up with the slice and variety but don’t see her putting up too much resistance unless Goerges is having an off day.
V.Williams d. Q.Wang in three sets – Venus scored a solid win over Sasnovich and clearly feels more at home on the grass courts. Playing back-to-back days can be a tough challenge for Venus though and Wang is a brick wall on her day. Wang has had decent results on grass in the ITFs but never on the WTA level. In fact this is just her second grass court WTA event outside of Wimbledon. Feel that Venus may struggle a little but in the end, her experience should come through.
Day 3 – Birmingham Predictions
Martic d. Gasparyan in three sets – Rather surprised both players notched first round wins – Martic successfully dodged past the power of Alexandrova in straights, while Gasparyan notched the second top ten win of her career over Svitolina. Don’t know how their games match-up against each other but siding with Martic as she’s so confidence at the moment and her slice can trouble anyone on the grass.
Hsieh d. Strycova in two sets – Rather excited for this one as they’re doubles partners and good friends off the court. Strycova snapped a four-match losing streak in an unconvincing three-set win over Heather Watson, while Hsieh successfully navigated the power of Sabalenka and delighted the crowd with her brand of tennis. Form book suggests Hsieh should win but anything can happen with these two players!
Konta d. Ostapenko in two sets – Ostapenko was ruthless against Swiatek in 1R, something that has rarely been seen by the Penko this season. Her serve stats were probably the most surprising thing out of this match as she hit more aces than doubles! Doubt she can sustain this level though and she’ll need a really good performance to hit through the confident and consistent Konta right now.
Ka.Pliskova d. Kr.Pliskova in two sets – Excited for this one but in truth, Karolina should win this comfortably as she does everything better than her sister. Wonder whether there’ll be personal feelings involved her but if not, Ka.Plisk for the win.
Day 2 – Birmingham Centre Court Predictions
Yastremska d. Goerges in three sets – Haven’t seen Yastremska on grass but clearly her game is suitable for this surface and she’s a former Wimbledon junior finalist. Goerges has struggled with her game and injuries ever since winning the title in Auckland and will have to find back some form before heading to Wimbledon to defend her semi finalist points. Goerges played doubles with Ash Barty yesterday so having already had a match on grass will do her a world of good. Not convinced though she’ll be able to maintain her level and constantly fend off Yastremska’s aggressive streak.
Osaka d. Sakkari in two sets – First match for both players on grass (Sakkari didn’t get to play on the lawns of Nottingham after constant rain delays). Grass definitely is a surface that Osaka can thrive on, and not for Sakkari who is more suited to the clay with her topspin shots and solid defence. Head to head is tied at one win apiece with Sakkari winning their last encounter last year at Cincinnati, just before Osaka won the US Open. Feel that this one should be rather smooth sailing for Osaka though.
V.Williams d. Sasnovich in three sets – Amazing that this is Venus’ first appearance in Birmingham in her illustrious career! Venus has always played her best tennis on grass courts and with her form in the doldrums at the moment, taking a wildcard into the tournament is a great choice. Other than a great run to the fourth round at Wimbledon last year, Sasnovich hasn’t produced her best tennis on grass. Sasnovich hasn’t had many good results since Brisbane and Sydney and so Venus should be able to take advantage of this and come through this one.
Barty d. Vekic in two sets – Barty’s first singles match since claiming the title at Roland Garros. Barty is clearly one of the contenders for a Wimbledon and this match will be the first sign of whether she’s feeling the pressure on her shoulders. Vekic had a narrow loss to Caroline Garcia in the Nottingham final and was pretty emotional during the post-match interview. Coupled with the fact that Barty’s slice is so potent on grass and that Vekic isn’t the best at dealing with this shot, Barty for the win.
Day 1 – Birmingham Selected Predictions
Svitolina d. Gasparyan in three sets – No idea what to expect from Svitolina after the knee still seemed to trouble her at Roland Garros. Grass is not her thing and Gasparyan is a tricky customer with her flat game and having played some matches in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, she’s going to be ready for this one. Svitolina’s usually good at navigating her first round opponents so still heading with the safer choice here.
Hsieh d. Sabalenka in three sets – Should be a delight with their clash of styles. Both players struggled during the clay court swing, especially Sabalenka who has been struggling with her serve and not living up to her ranking this season. Sabalenka fell to Destanee Aiava in the first round at ‘s-Hertogenbosch and is clearly not having a lot of confidence at the moment. Hsieh can play on the grass and her slices and spins will definitely drive Sabalenka crazy. Going for the upset.
Konta d. Kontaveit in three sets – One ‘Konta’ had a good clay court swing, the other didn’t – Konta was amazing on the clay this year which has elevated her ranking to become the No.7 seed in this draw, while Kontaveit has struggled since reaching the finals of Stuttgart. Both players can play on grass and this should be a hard-hitting battle at its finest. Have to go with Konta based on recent form and confidence level.
Ka.Pliskova d. Buzarnescu in two sets – Buzarnescu’s 7-17 for the year and a first round exit at the French Open wouldn’t help her cause at all. She just can’t get out of her rut and beating the super solid and consistent Pliskova will take a very fine performance from the opponent. Pliskova suffered a loss to Petra Martic at the French Open but she’s really quick to bounce back from disappointments. Good to see her wanting to get more matches on grass as she said herself that she doesn’t like the surface. Still think she will be too strong for the Romanian for her first match on grass.
Strycova d. Watson in three sets – Strycova leads the head to head 3-2, though Watson won their last meeting in Eastbourne 2017 in three sets enroute to a semifinal run. Strycova’s lost her last four matches while Watson is currently lingering outside of the top 100, but both like the grass and Watson always plays her best tennis in front of her home crowd. Still tend to think Strycova will come through as she’s the more solid and smart player.
Mladenovic d. Rodina in two sets – Don’t see Mladenovic having problems with this one on grass. Grass should be a good surface for her so intrigued to see what she can do on it in the next few weeks.