Only eight women remain at the star-studded WTA Abu Dhabi Open. The pick of the quarterfinal matches will feature two of the highest-seeded players at the tournament when Ons Jabeur plays the WTA’s marathon woman, Beatriz Haddad Maia. Who do you think will reach the semifinal?
WTA Abu Dhabi Quarterfinal Predictions
Barbora Krejcikova vs Liudmila Samsonova
Head-to-head: Krejcikova 1-1 Samsonova
This should be an instant classic—a conspicuous clash of styles. Barbora Krejcikova brings finesse and an array of hand skills. Liudmila Samsonova, meanwhile, is pure power and loves the fast courts of Abu Dhabi. She has used this tournament to get back into a competitive groove, dropping five games from two matches.
On Friday, she faces Krejcikova on the same court for the second straight year. Last year, the Russian eked out a hard-fought 7-5 7-6 win. The Czech has played nine games since the Australian Open, benefitting from a bye in the opening round and leading 6-2 1-0 when her opponent Sara Sorribes Tormo retired on Thursday. Maybe the additional time spent on the court could benefit last year’s finalist, but this will be anyone’s guess.
Prediction: Samsonova in 3
Elena Rybakina vs Cristina Bucsa
Head-to-head: Rybakina 1-0 Bucsa
It took Elena Rybakina a set and a half before she was able to find her bearings and hit her groundstrokes with shape. It was a great performance and comeback that should lift her spirits, particularly when you factor in the form Danielle Collins was in at the tournament. Now that the first big hurdle is cleared, the Kazakh’s ambitions will be to reach the final as she is the overhwmling favorite to win in Abu Dhabi. The last time Crisina Bucsa entered a tournament as a lucky loser, she was stopped in her tracks by Rybakina in Adelaide just a few weeks ago. Lighting should strike twice here.
Prediction: Rybakina in 2
Daria Kasatkina vs Sorana Cirstea
Head-to-head: Kasatkina 1-1 Cirstea
This should be another great watch. Daria Kasatkina has been surprisingly excellent outside the Grand Slam level, reaching at least a quarterfinal in all three tournaments she has participated in. But this will be a litmus test to ascertain whether she is a contender for the title. Sorana Cirstea had a poor start to 2024, which ultimately forced her to part ways with coach Thomas Johansson–a surprise move in retrospect, considering the career revival ignited by the former Swedish player.
However, the Romanian has enjoyed an upturn in fortunes since, winning two matches in Abu Dhabi against top-tier opponents (beating Caroline Garcia and Maria Sakkari). It will be interesting to see whether that decision will be justified in the next few months, but for now, Cirstea is running into an in-form opponent, and I don’t expect her to have a lot of joy.
Prediction: Kasatkina in 3
Ons Jabeur vs Beatriz Haddad Maia
Head-to-head: Jabeur 1-1 Haddad Maia
Haddad Maia survived a brutal lung buster in her second-round match, beating Poland’s Magda Linette in three sets after three hours and 42 minutes. It is the longest WTA match of 2024 so far, and it will take some beating. The match featured plenty of long rallies, and the Sao Paulo native will be relieved she had a day off to give her bones some much-needed rest.
Ons Jabeur spent only a fraction of the Brazilian’s time in sweeping past the wild card Emma Raducanu 6-4 6-1. This will be the first hardcourt meeting between Jabeur and Haddad Maia at the tour level. While Linette struggled to hit through Haddad Maia, the flamboyant Tunisian has a point-ending shot in her locker to disrupt the sixth seed’s rhythm and pick her out.
Prediction: Jabeur in 2
Main Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports