Magdalena Rybarikova vs. Dalila Jakupovic, Birmingham QF Preview

🇬🇧 Nature Valley Classic, Birmingham QF Preview
🇸🇰 Magdalena Rybarikova vs. 🇸🇮 (Q) Dalila Jakupovic

Magdalena Rybarikova and Dalila Jakupovic will open proceedings on quarter-final day at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham. This will be the first career meeting between Rybarikova and Jakupovic, an unexpected match-up at this stage of a premier level event. Who will rise to the occasion and book their spot in the semi-finals?

Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia in action at the 2018 Nature Valley Classic WTA Premier tennis tournament

Magdalena Rybarikova has confirmed her grass court prowess in Birmingham this week. The 2017 Wimbledon semi-finalist started the week with a 6-2 6-3 upset win over the 3rd seeded Karolina Pliskova in what was a near-flawless performance from the Slovakian. Rybarikova was not quite as impressive in the second round but was good enough to defeat a fading Kristina Mladenovic 3-6 6-2 6-1.

Dalila Jakupovic has already won 5 matches in Birmingham having come through the qualifying draw, the Slovenian is the last qualifier left in the tournament. Jakupovic claimed 3 solid wins in a tough qualifying draw, beating Jasmine Paolini, Sachia Vickery and Bernarda Pera. Jakupovic started her main draw campaign with a dramatic 3-6 7-6 6-1 win over Elise Mertens, Jakupovic saved 5 match points in the second set before cruising to victory in the third over a dejected opponent. Jakupovic secured her spot in the quarter-finals thanks to Naomi Osaka retiring injured their second round match.

Rybarikova enters this match as a strong favourite but Jakupovic is playing some of the best tennis of her career and has nothing to lose at this stage of the tournament.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Johanna Konta vs. Dalila Jakupovic, Nottingham QF Preview

Nature Valley Open, Nottingham QF Preview
🇬🇧 (4) Johanna Konta vs. 🇸🇮 Dalila Jakupovic

Johanna Konta continues her quest for the Nottingham title on Friday with a quarter-final showdown with Slovenia’s Dalila Jakupovic. This will be the first career meeting between Konta and Jakupovic, the pair both bring good form into this match having won their first few matches this week in straight sets. Nevertheless, this is a big mismatch on paper, Konta will enter this match as an overwhelming favourite.

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Johanna Konta is into just her second quarter-final of 2018. It has been a mostly disappointing season for Konta but she will be hoping to turn her fortunes around on the grass in front of her home fans. Konta reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon last year, there is no doubt that grass can be a very dangerous surface for the Brit. Konta started her Nottingham campaign with a 6-2 6-3 win over Kurumi Nara before surviving a tough test as she beat compatriot Heather Watson 6-4 7-5. Given the state of the draw, Konta is to be considered one of the main contenders to win the title from here, if she were to capture the title it would be a much needed confidence booster heading into the bigger grass court events.

Dalila Jakupovic is also into her second quarter-final of 2018, her first career quarter-final on a grass court. Jakupovic started her Nottingham campaign with a 7-6 6-2 upset victory over the 8th seeded Camila Giorgi before defeating Poland’s Magdalena Frech 6-4 6-3.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Dalila Jakupovic vs. Magdalena Frech, Nottingham R2 Preview

🇬🇧 Nature Valley Open, Nottingham R2 Preview
🇸🇮 Dalila Jakupovic vs. 🇵🇱 Magdalena Frech

Dalila Jakupovic and Magdalena Frech will go head-to-head in an interesting second round encounter in Nottingham. Jakupovic and Frech both claimed upset victories in their opening round matches, both have steadily climbed up the rankings in recent times and will both see this as a great opportunity to reach a rare quarter-final at the WTA Tour level.

Dalila Jakupovic caused the first big upset of the grass swing as she eliminated the 8th seeded Camila Giorgi on Monday, a 7-6 6-2 victory. Jakupovic wasted several leads in the opening set but was steady enough to eventually get over the line in a tiebreak before running away with the match.

Magdalena Frech secured her spot in the second round in Nottingham with a 6-2 3-6 6-3 win over Saisai Zheng in what was her first tour level victory on a grass court. Frech entered this event at a career high ranking is certainly playing the best tennis of her career in recent times, a player on the rise.

This will be the first career meeting between the pair, a huge opportunity for both, who will take it?

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here