Quarterfinal spots are up for grabs on Day 4 of the 2024 Abu Dhabi Open.
Naomi Osaka and Ons Jabeur teamed up to play doubles here but bowed out in the first round itself. The Japanese also fell at the first hurdle in singles as she was defeated 7-5, 6-0 by Danielle Collins.
Seventh seed Daria Kasatkina was the first player to book her spot in the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 7-5 win over qualifier Ashlyn Krueger in the second round. More players from the bottom half of the draw will join the Russian as the day progresses.
Meanwhile, players from the top half will be eyeing to do the same on Thursday. So here’s a look at the predictions for most of the matches set for Day 4 of the Abu Dhabi Open:
#1 – Barbora Krejcikova vs Sara Sorribes Tormo
Krejcikova’s start to the season was far from ideal as Anna Kalinskaya upset her 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 in the first round of the Adelaide International. She fared better in doubles and made it to the semifinals, but gave a walkover to their opponents due to her partner’s injury.
However, Krejcikova was able to recover from that and made it to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. She knocked out Mai Hontama, Tamara Korpatsch, Storm Hunter, and Mirra Andreeva, after which eventual champion Aryna Sabalenka showed her the door.
As one of the top seeds at the Abu Dhabi Open, she received a first-round bye. As for Sorribes Tormo, she has made the most of her second shot here. She initially fell in the qualifying rounds but found a place in the main draw as a lucky loser.
Sorribes Tormo faced Linda Noskova, a quarterfinalist at this year’s Australian Open, in the first round and defeated her 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. It marked her first main draw win of the season as well.
Sorribes Tormo’s defensive style of play has led plenty of players to self-destruct in the past. Krejcikova is unlikely to fall prey to her tactics and given the Spaniard’s form this year, the former French Open champion has a better shot at victory.
Predicted winner: Barbora Krejcikova
#2 – Liudmila Samsonova vs Anhelina Kalinina
Samsonova barely broke a sweat during her 6-0, 6-1 win over Lesia Tsurenko in the first round of the Abu Dhabi Open. Kalinina started great against Lucia Bronzetti in her opener but had to navigate a tricky second set to score a 6-1, 7-6 (1) win.
Both players have now won their very first match of the season, as the duo went 0-3 during the Australian swing. Given the dominant display of tennis from Samsonova in the previous round, she’ll be favored to win. But her level is known to fluctuate from match to match.
Samsonova finished as the runner-up at last year’s Abu Dhabi Open and usually performs well at the WTA 500 level. Unless the Russian hits herself out of contention with her numerous errors, she’ll be expected to make it to the next round over Kalinina.
Predicted winner: Liudmila Samsonova
#3 – Heather Watson vs Cristina Bucsa
Watson staged consecutive comeback wins over Sofia Kenin and Rebeka Masarova to book her place in the main draw of the Abu Dhabi Open. She was set to face Jelena Ostapenko in the first round, but the latter’s withdrawal led to Veronika Kudermetova being her new opponent.
Watson played a pretty great match to down Kudermetova 6-3, 7-5, and scored her first win over a top 20 player since the 2022 Miami Open. Bucsa failed to make it past the qualifying rounds but found a place for herself in the main draw after a couple of withdrawals.
Bucsa staged a comeback to get the better of Wang Xinyu 5-7, 6-0, 6-3 in the first round here. This a great opportunity for her as well as Watson to gain some points and rise in the rankings.
While Bucsa is the higher-ranked player, Watson is the one with more experience. The former is yet to reach a quarterfinal in singles at the WTA level, while the latter has done so quite a few times in the past. Having defeated some quality players already, the Brit could continue her resurgence here and advance further.
Predicted winner: Heather Watson