Zhuhai Day 2 Match Previews & Predictions
The inaugural Huajin Securities WTA Elite Trophy commenced on Monday in Zhuhai. It looks like the controversial tournament will be much better than expected. The opening day was a major success with 3 entertaining, hard-fought matches in front of a large crowd. Venus Williams, Jelena Jankovic and Elina Svitolina all recorded victories. Play will continue on Wednesday with 3 more group stage matches.
Group D: (4) Roberta Vinci vs (11) Svetlana Kuznetsova
The first match from Group D will kick-start proceedings on Wednesday, U.S Open finalist Roberta Vinci will come up against Moscow champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. Both veterans of the tour have ended the season on a high and are showing no signs of letting up.
Kuznetsova arrives on Zhuhai on a high after claiming her biggest title in year at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. Conversely, Vinci’s form has deteriorated since her stunning run to the final at the U.S open, suffering early round losses in Beijing and Linz.
Kuznetsova holds a 3-2 head-to-head record over Vinci and won their most recent clash 6-2 6-3 in Moscow back in 2013. The Russian should have a slight edge in this match-up, I think she will continue her recent winning ways with a victory over the Italian.
Prediction: Svetlana Kuznetsova to defeat Roberta Vinci in 2 sets
Group C: (3) Karolina Pliskova vs (9) Jelena Jankovic
Karolina Pliskova will make her Zhuhai debut on Wednesday against Jelena Jankovic. The Serb made a winning start to her campaign on Tuesday by defeating Sara Errani 6-4 7-5. A victory for Jankovic in this match will see her confirm her spot in the semi-finals.
In their only previous encounter, Jankovic defeated Pliskova 6-2 3-6 7-5 in Cincinnati earlier this year. Pliskova squandered a major lead in the final set of that match. This isn’t the greatest match-up for Pliskova because of Jankovic’s solid return and ability to absorb pace.
Pliskova’s recent form has been poor and she will probably be rusty in her first match at the event. Jankovic’s recent form has been good and she will be better adjusted to the conditions. The Serb should get the job done here if she makes the most of her opportunities.
Prediction: Jelena Jankovic to defeat Karolina Pliskova in 3 sets
Group B: (2) Carla Suarez Navarro vs (10) Andrea Petkovic
Arguably the 2 most out of form players in Zhuhai will go head-to-head in the final match of the day. This will be Carla’s first match of the tournament, whilst for Andrea Petkovic it is a must win clash after she lost her opening match 6-7 3-6 to Elina Svitolina.
Andrea Petkovic has now lost 4 matches in a row whilst Suarez Navarro’s last match was a disastrous early round loss in Moscow which saw her squander an opportunity to compete in Singapore. Carla did however reach the doubles final in Singapore alongside Garbine Muguruza.
Suarez Navarro holds a 3-2 head-to-head record over Andrea, including a 6-3 6-3 victory in their most recent encounter at the semi-final stage in Miami earlier this year. This is a tough match to call because both players are in such poor form, I will side with Andrea just because she has already played a match in Zhuhai and the quicker conditions should help her.