(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