Top seed Aryna Sabalenka will be out to extend her dominance over wildcard Veronika Kudermetova when they meet on Thursday in Berlin. The winner of this German Open second-round tie will play either fifth seed Cori Gauff or unseeded Ekaterina Alexandrova next. Sabalenka took just one hour and six minutes to get the better of the qualifier Vera Zvonareva in the first round. The straight-sets win marked her debut on grass for the season. Sabalenka is the number two ranked player in the WTA. The Belarussian has been outstanding so far and has won 35 matches and lost only six times. Her form has seen her win three titles one of which was in Melbourne, her first Grand Slam success. Sabalenka and Kudermetova have played each other four times with the former winning on three occasions.
Veronika Kudermetova’s only win against Sabalenka came in the first round here last season. She won in three sets on her way to making the quarterfinals for the first time. The Russian will be confident of winning again, especially with how she has taken to grass for the season. Five of Kudermetova’s 23 wins so far have come on grass where she has played only six matches. In her latest victory, the 26-year-old got the better of Qinwen Zheng in straight sets in the first round. Kudermetova is currently up one place to 12th in the live ranking.
Our prediction for Aryna Sabalenka v Veronika Kudermetova is for Kudermetova to win in three sets. This tie should turn out to be a spectacle given the two players’ strength on grass and recent form. Our pick however is for Kudermetova to win as she has done it before on grass and has settled already on the surface.