WTA TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup – Final – Match Preview/Prediction

(1) Caroline Wozniacki vs (2) Roberta Vinci

The top two seeds will compete for the title on Sunday in Istanbul, a rare occurrence on the WTA tour. Both Wozniacki and Vinci cruised through their semi-final matches on Saturday. Wozniacki eased past Kristina Mladenovic 6-2 6-3, whilst Roberta Vinci proved too strong for youngster Anna Konjuh with a 6-4 6-2 victory.

Roberta Vinci hasn't been troubled all week. The Italian has come through all four of her matches in straight sets, she has never really been threatened. Vinci’s victory over Kurumi Nara in the quarter-finals was particularly impressive, she totally outplayed her opponent in a match that loomed as a potential danger game for the Italian.

Caroline Wozniacki is also in ominous form. The Dane demolished Belinda Bencic in the opening round before overcoming Knapp and Pliskova in the three sets. On both occasions Wozniacki was far too good in the final set when it mattered most.

These two last met in Madrid a couple of months ago; it was Vinci who emerged victorious, a comprehensive 6-3 6-3 victory over the Italian. Vinci leads the head-to-head 2-1. Both ladies started the season off in disappointing fashion, especially Roberta Vinci who lost 6 straight matches. Both ladies have found some decent form in the last month and both will be desperate to claim their first title of the season as they move on to the U.S hard court swing.

Although Vinci has troubled Wozniacki in the past, I believe Wozniacki will win this match in straight sets. Ever since Eastbourne, Wozniacki has really impressed me and she will be difficult to beat on Sunday.

Prediction: Caroline Wozniacki to defeat Roberta Vinci in straight sets

WTA TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup Semi-Final Match Previews/Predictions

Semi-Final #1 – (1) Caroline Wozniacki vs Kristina Mladenovic

Caroline Wozniacki reached the semi-finals in Istanbul with a third consecutive three set victory over Karolina Pliskova on Friday. Wozniacki has been serving particularly well all week, she seems to be playing with a level of confidence that she did not have earlier in the year. Her opponent on Saturday, Kristina Mladenovic came from a set down to defeat Schiavone 7-5 in a tense third set. The Frenchwoman has finally strung a couple of wins together, a rare occurrence for her this season.

Wozniacki defeated Mladenovic 6-3 6-4 in the only previous meeting between these two in Monterey earlier this year. I expect a similar outcome on Saturday.

Prediction: Caroline Wozniacki to defeat Kristina Mladenovic in straight sets

Semi-Final #2 – (Q) Ana Konjuh vs (2) Roberta Vinci

16-year-old Ana Konjuh defeated Elina Svitolina in three sets to reach her first ever WTA tour event semi-final. Konjuh will face second seed, Roberta Vinci for a spot in Sunday’s final. Roberta Vinci produced one of her best performances of the season on friday, belting Kurumi Nara 6-0 6-2 in what loomed as a potential danger game for the Italian. Vinci is finally starting to find some form after a terrible start to the season that saw her lose 6 straight matches.

One of those 6 matches was against Ana Konjuh. The Croatian came from a set down to defeat Vinci 3-6 6-4 6-2 in Auckland in what was their first and only meeting. Konjuh has played four straight three set matches whilst Vinci is coming off 3 quick straight set wins. This could be a real factor on Saturday. Roberta is playing with some confidence at the moment and should be too strong for Konjuh on this occasion.

Prediction: Roberta Vinci to defeat Ana Konjuh in straight sets

WTA TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup – Day 3 – 2nd Round Match Previews/Predictions

(1) Caroline Wozniacki vs Karin Knapp

Caroline Wozniacki kicked off her quest for her first title of 2014 with a comprehensive 6-0 6-0 drubbing of Belinda Bencic in just 44 minutes. The Dane’s serve was as potent as ever, she fired down 9 aces and won 78 percent of points on her first serve. Karin Knapp also easily accounted for her first round opponent, defeating local wild card Ipek Soylu 6-2 6-2.

In their only previous encounter which took place in New Haven last year, Carline Wozniacki defeated Karin Knapp 6-1 7-5. We should see a similar result when the two meet on Wednesday night in Istanbul. Wozniacki is clearly determined to do well in Istanbul and was in ominous form on Tuesday. I don't think Knapp has the game to hit past the consistent Dane.

Prediction: Caroline Wozniacki to defeat Karin Knapp in straight sets

(3) Klara Koukalova vs Kristina Mladenovic

Klara Koukalova and Kristina Mladenovic will do battle on Wednesday for a spot in the quarter-finals in Istanbul. Klara Koukalova survived a stern test from youngster Dona Vekic in the opening round, taking the third set 6-4. Whilst Kristina Mladenovic had a comprehensive 6-4 6-2 victory over Mayr-Achleitner in her opening round match.

This will be the first time these two will come up against each other, it promises to be an interesting clash. Mladenovic has had a pretty disappointing season when considering what she is capable of. Klara has had a typically average season; her best result came in Florianopolis where she claimed her only title of the season thus far.

It is hard to pick a winner in this match but I think Mladenovic will prove too powerful for Klara on this occasion.

Prediction: Kristina Mladenovic to defeat Klara Koukalova in three sets

Other match Predictions:

(7) Bojana Jovanovski to defeat Francesca Schiavone in three sets

(4) Elina Svitolina to defeat Stefanie Voegele in straight sets

WTA TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup – Day 2 – 1st Round Match Previews/Predictions

(1) Caroline Wozniacki vs. Belinda Bencic

Caroline Wozniacki is the star attraction at the 2014 Istanbul Cup; the Dane faces a tough opening round match on Tuesday night when she comes up against rising star Belinda Bencic.

After a tumultuous clay court season, both on and off the court, Caroline Wozniacki rebounded with a decent grass court season. Wozniacki had a good run in Eastbourne where she reached the semi-finals before reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon. Wozniacki has been in Istanbul practicing for a couple of days and seems to be enjoying herself. The Dane will be determined to claim her first title of the year in Istanbul.

A lot is expected of Belinda Bencic; for the most part she has dealt with these expectations well in 2014. Belinda had some great results on clay this year, most notably her semi-final run in Charleston where she defeated Sara Errani in the process. Her results on hard courts weren’t as promising earlier in the year, she will need to produce one of the biggest performances of her career to defeat the Dane on Tuesday Night.

This will be the first time Wozniacki and Bencic will come up against each other. I suspect a determined Wozniacki will be too solid for Bencic, however this one might well go to three sets.

Prediction: Caroline Wozniacki to defeat Belinda Bencic in three sets

(6) Kurumi Nara vs (Q) Johanna Konta

In my initial draw analysis I predicted Kurumi Nara to reach the final in Istanbul. Nara will have her work cut out in the opening round when she comes up against qualifier Johanna Konta.

Surprisingly, Johanna Konta has defeated Kurumi Nara in all five of their previous encounters over the past two seasons. Moreover, Nara is yet to take a set off the Britt. Their most recent encounter was only a month ago in Birmingham, Konta easily defeated her Japanese opponent 6-3 6-1. Konta’s dominance over Nara really surprises me, Nara is clearly talented, she has solid flat groundstrokes and good movement.

I’m going to stick to my original prediction. It’s time for Nara to finally defeat Konta; the hard courts of Istanbul should provide the perfect stage for Nara to defeat Konta for the first time.

Prediction: Kurumi Nara to defeat Johanna Konta in three sets

WTA TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup Preview

The lead up to the US Open hard court series is underway. The Istanbul cup returns for the first time since 2010 (Istanbul instead hosted the WTA Championships between 2011 and 2013). World number 15, Caroline Wozniacki is the number one seed at this year’s event and is the headline act in what is an otherwise lackluster field. After a disappointing start to the season, Caroline rebounded with a solid grass court campaign, however her Wimbledon campaign would ultimately end in a disappointing manner when she was defeated by Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in straight sets in the round of 16. The former world number 1 will have her eyes firmly set on claiming her first title of the season in Istanbul.

Apart from Wozniacki there isn’t too much to get excited about here. The remaining seeded players are Roberta Vinci, Klara Koukalova, Elina Svitolina, Magdalena Rybarikova, Kurumi Nara, Bojana Jovanovski and Karolina Pliskova. Other notable participants include: Francesca Schiavone, Belinda Bencic and Kristina Mladenovic.

The top quarter of the draw is occupied by Caroline Wozniacki who has drawn Belinda Bencic in the opening round. This is by far the most intriguing of the first the round matches, Bencic has already claimed a couple of big scalps this season (Pavlyuchenkova, Cornet and Errani) and is certainly a chance to cause an upset here. If Wozniacki gets through her tricky opening round match she is likely to face the 8th seeded Karoline Pliskova in the quarter-finals. Pliskova has troubled Wozniacki in their previous two meetings, pushing the Dane to three sets on both occasions.

Quarter-final 1 prediction: (1) Caroline Wozniacki vs. (8) Karolina Pliskova

Klara Koukalova has also drawn a promising youngster in the opening round; she will take on Donna Vekic. Klara has already beaten the Croatian twice this year, both in straight sets and both on hard courts. The winner of this match will likely face Kristina Mladenovic in the second round. The talented Frenchwoman has a good opportunity to come through this section. Bojana Jovanovski is the other seeded player in this section, the Serb claimed the biggest victory of her career a few weeks a go at Wimbledon, defeating two time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Bojana should be able to navigate her way through her opening round matches to put herself in a position to aim for her fourth career title.

Quarter-final 2 prediction: Kristina Mladenovic vs. (7) Bojana Jovanovski

The bottom half of the draw is wide open. Magdalena Rybarikova and Elina Svitolina are the seeded players in the third section. Svitolina faces Kovinic in the opening round; Kovinic is coming off a decent run in Bucharest. In what looks like the second most intriguing first round match, Tsventana Pironkova takes on Stefanie Voegele.

Quarter-final 3 Prediction: Tsventana Pironkova vs (5) Magdalena Rybarikova

The final section features the number 2 seed, Roberta Vinci as well as the 6th seed Kurumi Nara. Remarkably this section also features 4 qualifiers. Vinci is coming straight from the clay courts of Bucharest, it is hard to see her adjusting to the hard courts of Istanbul well enough to make a deep run this week. Nara continues to steadily climb up the rankings; the Japanese number 1 is my pick to come through the relatively weak bottom half of the draw.

Quarter-final 4 Prediction: (2) Roberta Vinci vs. (6) Kurumi Nara

After all the tough times Caroline has gone through in the past few months, both on and off the court it would be great to see the Dane claim her first title of the year. I think she will do it, she usually comes through these types of events victorious.

Final Prediction: (1) Caroline Wozniacki def. (6) Kurumi Nara

Leave a comment below, who do you think will win the title? 🙂