The second round action at the 2019 Tashkent Open kick-starts from Wednesday, September 25 with all but one of the seeded players in action today. Get the latest Viktoria Kuzmova v Greet Minnen & Margarita Gasparyan v Danka Kovinic tips and predictions with their previews along with other matches can be found below.Get the best odds for the WTA Tashkent Open 2019 with 888Sport here.
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Viktoria Kuzmova v Greet Minnen Preview
This will be the first time that the top seeded Viktoria Kuzmova and Greet Minnen will be going head to head at this level. The world number 56, Kuzmova was a 7-6, 6-3 winner over Francesca di Lorenzo in her opening round match while Minnen defeated Kateryna Bondarenko 6-2, 6-2 to set up this meeting.
It’s not been the best of recent times for Kuzmova despite her superior ranking. Since the end of the clay court season, she has played at the Cincinnati Open, New York Open and US Open before this tournament at Tashkent and lost in the opening round at each one of them.
She had it much better in the previous leg of the hard court competitions with a semi-final in Auckland and quarter-final appearance at Dubai. But Minnen would now look to take confidence from her performances at the lower circuits – she’s won a title on hard court at the ITF level – to try and push her opponent.
Minnen’s record isn’t extraordinary at the higher levels but can be expected to give Kuzmova a fight and push this into a third set.
Tip: Three sets in the match: 6/4 with Unibet
Margarita Gasparyan v Danka Kovinic Preview
The world number 55 Margarita Gasparyan is also the second seed in this competition and starts off as an obvious favourite against the 120th-ranked Danka Kovinic. However, there’s a catch in that Kovinic has beaten Gasparyan in two of the three matches they have played each other in so far.
Gasparyan’s only win came at the WTA Mumbai last year and it was a match that lasted the distance. And she is also coming off a tight three-setter here, having edged out Stefanie Voegele in the first round.
Kovinic might have slipped down the rankings but a fighting win over Sabina Sharipova should hold her in a good stead, since that was her first win in a WTA main draw this year. Whether she is able to convert that into something bigger is a big if, and Gasparyan could be expected to win this in a tough two-setter.
Tip: Gasparyan to win in straight sets: 11/10 with 888Sport
Alison van Uytvanck v Monica Niculescu Preview
Both of the previous meetings between Alison van Uytvanck and Monica Niculescu came in 2014 and the spoils were shared. Now, van Uytvanck, ranked 61st in the world, takes on Niculescu who is 106th, having earlier reached a career-high of 28th.
While Van Uytvanck has a poor win-loss ratio on hard-court surfaces, 6-9 to be exact this year, she did manage a quarter-final berth at the Hiroshima Open. And her 6-0, 6-1 drubbing of Ludmilla Samsonova also made for a confident showing in the first round in this competition.
On the other hand, Niculescu’s best performance on hard courts came at Miami where she needed to qualify to make it through but once there she defeated Garbine Muguruza as well to make round three. There was a quarter-final at Shenzhen and a second round in Hua Hin but can she convert that into surprising her opponent in this one? It’s a distinct possibility.
Tip: Monica Niculescu to win: 13/10 with 888Sport
Tatjana Maria v Anna Kalinskaya Preview
This will be the first meeting between Tatjana Maria and Anna Kalinskaya and while the former is a seeded player, there’s not a lot to separate in terms of their rankings. Maria enters the tournament ranked 87th in the world while Kalinskaya is 116th on the WTA rankings, and that should make for an interesting contest.
Maria, who was on a five-match losing streak before this tournament, would have been relieved to finally win a match when she overcame Olga Govortsova in her opener despite going in as the second favourite (and as we had predicted here too!). However, a tougher battle awaits her as she faces a more in-form Kalinskaya, who has won 18 of the 23 matches she has played in on hard court this year.
These wins obviously largely include the ITF circuit, but there was a string of qualifying wins and a second round appearance at the US Open and a semi-final at the Washington Open too. Kalinskaya is on the move up the rankings chart and we think she could add to her 6-4, 6-4 win over Harriet Dart here.
Tip: Kalinskaya to win: 21/20 with Unibet