Nature Valley International Eastbourne Predictions
Day 7 – Eastbourne Predictions
Kerber d. Ka.Pliskova in three sets – Both players have been playing brilliant tennis this week, especially Ka.Pliskova who has only dropped 14 games in four matches with wins over Gasparyan, Mertens, Alexandrova and Bertens. Kerber leads the head to head 7-4, and this will be their fifth time meeting in a final. Kerber-Pliskova matches are always loads of fun with their differing styles and ability to bring out their best tennis in each other. Slightly edging towards Kerber since it’s grass but this is definitely going to be a very close match.
Day 6 – Eastbourne Predictions
Kerber d. Jabeur in two sets – Kerber played one of her best matches of the year to beat Halep in straights, firing bullets down the line and defending supremely. Jabeur endured a topsy-turvy three setter against Cornet in which she rolled her ankle at the end, but crawled over the finish line eventually. She’ll have to be fully fit and at her best today if she has any chance of hitting through Kerber. Kerber in 2.
Ka.Pliskova d. Bertens in three sets – Bertens actually beat Pliskova in their recent encounter last year at Wimbledon. Pliskova has not dropped more than three games in a set in her last three matches but this will probably be her most difficult test of the week. Bertens should provide some resistance but Pliskova’s power hitting should see her into the final.
Day 5 – Eastbourne Predictions
Kerber d. Halep in three sets – Match of the day as Halep leads the head to head 7-5, though Kerber won their only meeting in straight sets at Wimbledon in 2016. Both haven’t had overly impressive seasons with Halep in eighth place and Kerber in 11th place in the Race to Shenzhen. While both had rather mediocre clay court swings (by their respective standards), both have had better starts to the grass court season. Seems obvious to go with Kerber on grass, but the Halep-Kerber match-up is always a toss-up and the better player on the day will come through. Kerber’s been improving match by match so ultimately still edging towards her.
Bertens d. Sabalenka in two sets – Sabalenka saved match point to beat Wozniacki in three sets in what sounded like an epic match – perhaps one that could turn around Sabalenka’s season? She seemed a little injured though and you wouldn’t want to be not completely fit against one of the most solid players of the 2019 season. Bertens still hasn’t brought her best tennis to the green stuff but is certainly improving with each match. Bertens’ serve is a thing right now and she will probably be too solid and powerful from the back of the court. Sabalenka will need a much improved performance and not convinced she can produce it after an exhausting match yesterday.
Cornet d. Jabeur in three sets – The most surprising match-up from the last eight slate, especially if you look at their terrible seasons so far! Jabeur was 8-12 in 2019 prior to Eastbourne and was seen vomiting in Mallorca, while Cornet was 13-12 prior to this week and had not beaten a top 20 player on grass since 2014 (d. Serena). No idea who comes through but it’ll most likely depend on Jabeur’s level because she’s so flashy but it means she’s super inconsistent as well. Edging towards the more solid Cornet but anything could happen in this one.
Ka.Pliskova d. Alexandrova in two sets – A superb win for Pliskova over Mertens means that more people will be looking at Pliskova as a contender for Wimbledon. Pliskova is 32-9 for the year and with little points to defend up till the US Open, it’s a good time for Pliskova to gain some points and perhaps edge closer to the No.1 ranking. Let’s not think so far yet because Alexandrova is a very decent hard-hitter who could easily outhit Pliskova and force Pliskova to be on the move. Still think Pliskova will be too solid with the serve but Alexandrova could certainly cause some problems with her booming groundstrokes.
Day 4 – Eastbourne Selected Predictions
Ka.Pliskova d. Mertens in two sets – First time match-up. I don’t think Mertens is the type of player that Pliskova will struggle with as Mertens does not have enough variety to disrupt Pliskova’s rhythm and gameplan.
Halep d. Hercog in two sets – Their last meeting on the tour was a roller coaster as Halep came through, 5-7 7-6(1) 6-2. Can’t believe Halep beat Hsieh with the loss of just two games! Such kind of performance again should likely see her into the quarters as Hercog is not at her best on grass courts.
Konta d. Jabeur in two sets – Jabeur‘s a tricky player but don’t see her causing too many problems for Konta who just does everything a little better than her opponent.
Wozniacki d. Sabalenka in three sets – Head to head is tied at one win apiece with Wozniacki beating Sabalenka in two tight sets in the Eastbourne final here last year. Both players have been struggling in 2019 but Wozniacki seems to be finding her groove in Eastbourne with good wins against Flipkens and Petkovic. Woz can easily be blown off court by a hard-hitter but Sabalenka has gone winless on grass till her win over Zidansek yesterday. Match is typically on Sabalenka’s racket but don’t see her having the consistency at the moment to outhit and outlast a healthy Wozniacki.
Kerber d. Peterson in two sets – Kerber definitely is playing better on the grass courts and slowly finding her rhythm back. She does everything better than Peterson so expecting her to pick up a solid victory here.
Ostapenko d. Alexandrova in three sets – Alexandrova leads the head to head 2-1, beating Ostapenko 6-3 6-2 in their previous encounter in Seoul last year. It was a horror performance from Ostapenko then – it was too in the first set against Stephens yesterday where she hit just one winner to 20 unforced errors! Admirably though Ostapenko turned things around and is definitely starting to find some rhythm after a horrendous start to the year. Usually Ostapenko is the aggressor in matches but Alexandrova loves to play aggressively too; intrigued to see who is the one dictating majority of the rallies in this one. Ultimately going for Penko here but it should be a tight match.
Day 3 – Eastbourne Selected Predictions
Konta d. Sakkari in two sets – Konta continues to be thriving on the grass. Sakkari beat Konta in three the last time they met on Rabat clay, but Eastbourne grass is a totally different surface. Konta should be able to neutralise all of Sakkari’s weapons and continue to make her way through this draw.
Bertens d. Putintseva in three sets – Both players are known for their exploits on clay courts, but both have had a decent number of grass court wins this season: Bertens with four and Putintseva with three. Bertens didn’t look comfortable on the ‘s-Hertogenbosch lawns but her serve was typically solid and the shot that brought her to the final three. She’ll need to use that to good effect here and not get bogged down by Poots in rallies. It should be a struggle but ultimately Bertens’ power should shine through.
Ostapenko d. Stephens in three sets – Stephens hasn’t won a grass court match since 2016 and on paper, it’s definitely not a good surface for her. Ostapenko certainly has the power to hit through Stephens but as all other Penko matches, it all depends on whether she can keep the ball into court and maintain the number of double faults at a reasonable level. Ostapenko’s been showing some signs for resurgence and Stephens always starts slowly after a long break so just edging towards the Latvian here…
Wozniacki d. Petkovic in two sets – Wozniacki leads the head to head 4-1, but they haven’t met since 2015. This should be a good match-up for Wozniacki as Petkovic doesn’t have the weapons or firepower to hit through her. Wozniacki always does well at Eastbourne so expecting her to ease through this one.
Mertens d. Vondrousova in three sets – Vondrousova rather eased past Zheng in straights but will face an ‘upgraded’ version of Zheng in the form of Mertens, who defends better, serves better and is more comfortable on grass. Not sure Vondrousova’s game matches up well with grass and you know Mertens will definitely be relentless with her defending and counter-punching. Edging towards Mertens.
Sabalenka d. Zidansek in two sets – Sabalenka ailing for her first grass court win after falling in the first rounds to Destanee Aiava and Hsieh. Zidansek doesn’t have the firepower or variety to cause too many issues so even if Sabalenka is struggling, I expect her to get the victory here.
Hsieh d. Halep in three sets – Halep’s first match of the grass court season in singles. Hsieh beat Halep at Wimbledon last year in three fun sets so expecting an exciting match too this time round. Can’t believe it’s scheduled on the fourth court (Court 3)! Halep will probably be rusty so expecting Hsieh’s slices and buckets of variety to prove too much to handle here.
Day 2 – Eastbourne Selected Predictions
Ka.Pliskova d. Gasparyan in two sets – Gasparyan played a very solid and contained match against Siniakova but will have to be more aggressive to hit through Pliskova. The Czech isn’t the best on grass but she has a good serve that can be used to set up points. Feel that this will be a minor scare but Pliskova will get through in straights.
Wozniacki d. Flipkens in three sets – Wozniacki’s first match since a first round defeat at the French Open to Kudermetova. Excluding a final run at Charleston, Wozniacki’s year has been disastrous. She always seems to do well in Eastbourne here though so even with Flipkens’ experience on the grass, still expecting the defending champion to come through in this one.
Vondrousova d. Zheng in three sets – Vondrousova also playing her first match since the French Open where she made the final. Expecting her to feel some pressure on her shoulders with the elevated ranking. Still she should be able to get past Zheng who although has buckets of variety, can never seem to put everything together, and doubt she will be able to find some form on grass.
Svitolina d. Cornet in three sets – Svitolina’s first outing on the grass ended in a three-set loss to Gasparyan. Svitolina has suffered first round defeats in her last four of five events. Cornet’s form hasn’t been good either but a very solid straight-set win over Watson, in which she recovered from a 3-5 deficit in the first set, will hopefully give her a confidence boost on the grass. Cornet can definitely cause issues for Svitolina if she sticks to an aggressive gameplan, trying to move Svits as much as possible. Clearly Elina doesn’t feel comfortable on grass but if she plays more consistently and is fully fit from the knee issues, she will likely get the victory.
Kudermetova d. Bencic in three sets – Not ideal for Bencic to get such a big hitter after what would have been a very disappointing loss to Kenin in the Mallorca final. She won’t have much time to recover and against Kudermetova her defensive skills will have to be at her best. Kudermetova leads the head to head 2-0, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see her score a third victory over the Swiss.
Hsieh d. Giorgi in two sets – Giorgi hasn’t played since Miami and it is unknown why Giorgi skipped the entire clay court swing. Injury perhaps? Not ideal for Giorgi to play Hsieh who is so smart in mixing up the spins and speeds. Hsieh will have little time to rest coming from the Birmingham doubles final with Strycova. Nonetheless, don’t see Giorgi having the patience to rally with Hsieh.
Putintseva d. Collins in three sets – Hipster match of the day as two very noisy and dramatic players come up against each other for the first time. Collins is pretty new to grass and Putintseva had a couple of wins in Birmingham which is why I am going with the latter in this one. She has plenty of variety to break the rhythm and game of Collins.
Ostapenko d. Buzarnescu in two sets – Ostapenko played two good matches in Birmingham before she missed out on five match points and hit 20 double faults to lose to Martic. I thought that was one of her best weeks of the year so far and she seems to be playing a little better on grass. Meanwhile Buzarnescu is still in a rut and there’s no signs of her finding her form just yet. Head to head is tied at two wins apiece but I think Ostapenko could come through in straightforward fashion here.
Day 1 – Eastbourne Selected Predictions
Kontaveit d. Dart in two sets – Kontaveit hasn’t won a match in over a month, since Rome. Would expect her to get the win here but Dart is a competent player, even though she hasn’t done much since last year’s Wimbledon where she pushed Ka.Pliskova to three sets. Kontaveit should make things difficult for herself as usual but she should come through this one eventually.
Watson d. Cornet in three sets – Not convinced with Cornet’s level this year and even though she’s 66 places higher than Watson in the rankings, the latter is easily the type of player that Cornet struggles against. It will mostly depend on Watson’s level and whether she can use her home crowd to her advantage. Won’t be surprised to see Watson outhitting Cornet here…
Konta d. Yastremska in three sets – Konta notched one win in Birmingham last week against Kontaveit, but was promptly destroyed by Ostapenko afterwards. Konta didn’t play bad tennis at all and will face a similar player in Yastremska in her first match of the week in Eastbourne, who is very much a hit-or-miss player too. Yastremska and grass sounds like a good match but she is still relatively inexperienced playing WTA main draw matches on grass. Still, she’s fearless and definitely will cause problems for Konta. Ultimately it feels like Konta’s extra variety and buzzing confidence at the moment should bring her to the next round.
Petkovic d. Kasatkina in three sets – This few weeks will be tough for Kasatkina who has quarterfinal points to defend in both Eastbourne and Wimbledon. Both players have had very mediocre seasons and are not at their best on grass. Even though Kasatkina has brought on a new coach in Carlos Martinez, I don’t see her reversing her fortunes so early in their partnership. Petkovic will need to stay solid and rely on Kasatkina’s errors to get the win.
S.Zhang d. Swan in three sets – Zhang Shuai hasn’t had a great year in singles at all and hasn’t had many successes on grass in the past. British wildcard Swan has a huge opportunity to score a top 60 win in this one but not sure she will be able to hold her nerves on the big points; thus going for the Chinese player here.
Gasparyan d. Siniakova in three sets – Gasparyan scored a good win against Svitolina in Birmingham and seems to be enjoying the grass. Siniakova is another player that should be able to play well on this surface but her grass court campaign this season didn’t start well with a loss in Mallorca in the first round. Based on form Gasparyan gets this one, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see both players making things tough for themselves.
Mertens d. Puig in three sets – Feel that grass should be a good surface for Puig but she has had mixed results on the lawns. The match result is simple: Puig gets more balls in, she wins; Puig is too inconsistent, Mertens wins. Edging towards the more solid Mertens here.