TennisSection previews the 2023 Abu Dhabi Open as Belinda Bencic takes on Marta Kostyuk in the second round on Wednesday, February 8, 2023.
Will Belinda Bencic avoid a second-round upset when she takes on Ukrainian star Marta Kostyuk? This promises to be a highly engrossing match at the Abu Dhabi Open. Who will prevail?
Belinda Bencic will return to the courts at the Abu Dhabi Open, making her first appearance since exiting the Australian Open at the fourth round stage. There is no shame in losing to eventual tournament winner Aryna Sabalenka while her other defeat in 2023 came at the United Cup against Iga Swiatek. So the Swiss has lost to the top two players in the world. Bencic will be pleased with her great start to the season having already bagged a WTA title in Adelaide last month. How will she fare on her Abu Dhabi Open bout?
Marta Kostyuk, for her part, started the Abu Dhabi Open at the first round stage. She scaled a very difficult hurdle against Romania’s Sorana Cirstea. The Ukrainian won 6-2 1-6 6-2, with Kostyuk saving multiple break points at the start of the third set that proved pivotal in the outcome of the match. She will be looking to exact revenge from her previous loss to Belinda Bencic in Miami in 2022.
Belinda Bencic leads Marta Kostyuk 1-0 in their head-to-head. That win came on the hard courts of Miami almost a year ago. Bencic’s two defeats this year have come against the top two players in the world. While Kostyuk is not in the same league as the likes of Swiatek and Sabalenka at the moment, she possesses the ground stroke power that can make life problematic for the second seed. But at the same time, her game leaves no margin for error which is where Bencic will shine. The Swiss is a dogged competitor and is one of the most resolute performers inside the top 10. I expect the second seed to keep the Ukrainian at bay.
Free Tennis Prediction and Pick: Belinda Bencic in 2 sets
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