Eugenie Bouchard vs. Veronika Kudermetova, Prague R1 Preview

🇨🇿⬛ Prague Open - R1 Preview + Prediction
🍁 (wc) Eugenie Bouchard vs. 🇷🇺 (8) Veronika Kudermetova

An interesting opening round clash on day 1 of the 2020 Prague Open sees the 8th seeded Veronika Kudermetova come up against Canadian wild card Eugenie Bouchard. This will be the first match for back for both since the tour restart.

On paper this should be a very one-sided contest, Kudermetova is ranked almost 300 places above Bouchard, the Russian currently sits at world number 40 whilst Bouchard’s spiralling ranking is all the way down to 332. However, I suspect Bouchard has a decent chance here with a few factors working in the Canadian’s favour.

Eugenie Bouchard of Canada during practice at the 2020 Prague Open WTA International tennis tournament

Bouchard has been busy during the official tour shutdown. Bouchard was involved in a couple of exhibition events in the USA, whilst the results weren’t quite there for Bouchard, the signs were decent. Bouchard competed well with some good players and is now working with Rennae Stubbs, a partnership that could rejuvenate the career of the former Wimbledon finalist.

Conversely, Veronika Kudermetova hasn’t played a single exhibition match during the tour shutdown.

It was Bouchard who emerged victorious in the only previous meeting between the pair, a 7/5 6/0 victory on clay in Gstaad in 2018.

I’m going for the upset here. This is an important match for Bouchard, it would be a big disappointment for her to get a wild card, travel all the way to Prague and lose in the first round. Bouchard has been practising in Prague for a few days and unlike Kudermetova, Bouchard is battled hardened heading into this match given all the exhibition events she has played over the last few months. Kudermetova has the type of attacking game that might malfunction coming off limited preparation.

Prediction: Eugenie Bouchard to defeat Veronika Kudermetova in 3 sets

Anett Kontaveit vs. Fiona Ferro, Palermo Final Preview

🇮🇹☀️ Palermo Ladies Open – Final Preview + Prediction
🇪🇪 (4) Anett Kontaveit vs. 🇫🇷 Fiona Ferro

The first WTA title since the tour shutdown will be up for grabs in Palermo on Sunday as the fourth seeded Anett Kontaveit comes up against France’s Fiona Ferro. Kontaveit and Ferro will both be playing for their second WTA career title, a big moment for both. Who will prevail?

Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in action during the quarter-finals at the 2020 Palermo Ladies Open WTA International tennis tournament

It has been a great week for Anett Kontaveit. The Estonian started the event with a comfortable straight set win over Patricia Maria Tig before requiring 3 sets to get the better of Laura Siegemund and Elisabetta Cocciaretto. Kontaveit secured her spot in the championship match with a 6/2 6/4 win over the top seeded Petra Martic, however it’s hard to read too much into this win given Martic played a terrible match and was seemingly injured.

Fiona Ferro is in outstanding form. Ferro arrived in Palermo having won 10 consecutive matches at exhibition events in France. The 23-year-old cruised through her first 3 matches in Palermo with straight set wins over Nadia Podoroska, Ekaterina Alexandrova and Sara Errani. Ferro booked her place in the final with a hard-fought 2/6 6/2 7/5 win over Camila Giorgi, a gutsy win given she was thoroughly outplayed in the first set.

Fiona Ferro of France in action during her quarter-final match at the 2020 Palermo Ladies Open WTA International tennis tournament

The only previous match between the pair took place in Poitiers in 2016, a 7/5 6/7 6/2 victory for Kontaveit.

I’m going to side with Ferro. It is Ferro who has been the more consistent of the two this week and who looks to be in better shape heading into the final. Kontaveit had her left thigh heavily strapped in her semi-final match and looked quite shaky trying to close out the match against an injured opponent. Ferro has a far superior recent record on clay and is generally better suited to the surface. It is Ferro who has the more reliable point construction and better overall form.

Prediction: Fiona Ferro to defeat Anett Kontaveit in 2 sets

Fiona Ferro vs. Camila Giorgi, Palermo SF Preview

🇮🇹☀️ Palermo Ladies Open – SF Preview + Prediction
🇫🇷 Fiona Ferro vs. 🇮🇹 Camila Giorgi

A pair of surprise semi-finalists will do battle for the second spot in the Palermo Ladies Open final when Fiona Ferro takes on Camila Giorgi. Ferro is on fire; the Frenchwoman has won 13 matches in a row but will need to maintain a high level against a red-hot Camila Giorgi.

Camila Giorgi of Italy in action during the second round at the 2020 Palermo Ladies Open WTA International tennis tournament

Ferro arrived in Palermo having won 10 matches in a row at exhibition events and has continued that strong run to reach her third WTA tour level semi-final. Ferro is yet to drop a set this week, the 23-year-old started the event with a 6/2 6/1 win over Nadia Podoroska before defeating the 8th seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova 7/5 6/2. Ferro booked her spot in the final 4 with a strong 6/4 6/1 win over the always-tough Sara Errani, Ferro’s was clinical in winning 9 of the last 10 games against Errani.

Giorgi is through to her second WTA tour level semi-final on a clay court. The Italian reached the final 4 in Palermo with a remarkable comeback victory over the 7th seeded Dayana Yastremska. Giorgi saved a pair of match points in the second set, one with a stunning return as Yastremska served for the match at 5-4. The damaging baseline hitting from Giorgi was ultimately too much for Yastremska to handle, as it would have been for most on tour. Previously Giorgi defeated Rebecca Peterson 7/5 6/4 and Kaja Juvan 3/6 6/2 6/4.

This will be the first career meeting between Ferro and Giorgi.

I’m going to give the edge to Giorgi here. Granted Ferro is in great form but facing a confident Giorgi is a whole new challenge. Giorgi played brilliantly in her comeback win over Yastremska, arguably the best anyone has played this week. Giorgi has won a couple of tough matches this week whilst Ferro is yet to be tested, this could work in the Italian’s favour in what should be a tense match. Having saved match points and escaped in her last match Giorgi can play with added freedom here, which is always a dangerous prospect given her extreme firepower and added home court advantage.

Prediction: Camila Giorgi to defeat Fiona Ferro in 3 sets

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Petra Martic vs. Anett Kontaveit, Palermo SF Preview

🇮🇹☀️ Palermo Ladies Open – SF Preview + Prediction
🇭🇷 (1) Petra Martic vs. 🇪🇪 (4) Anett Kontaveit

The first of the semi-finals at the Palermo Ladies open sees the top seeded Petra Martic come up against the fourth seeded Anett Kontaveit. Martic and Kontaveit are the two remaining seeded players heading into the final 4 and will both fancy their chances to go on and win the title if they can get through this clash.

Petra Martic of Croatia in action during the quarter-final at the 2020 Palermo Ladies Open WTA International tennis tournament

Martic started her Palermo campaign with a comprehensive 6/0 6/3 win over Alison Van Uytvanck before fighting from behind to outlast an in-form Ludmilla Samsonova 5/7 6/4 6/2. The Croatian booked her spot in the semi-finals with a hard-fought 7/6 7/6 triumph against Aliaksandra Sasnovich, two wins in a row for Martic against confident players that came through the qualifying draw in Palermo.

Kontaveit has followed a similar pathway to Martic into the semi-finals in Palermo. The Estonian cruised through her opening round match against Patricia Maria Tig 6/3 6/3 before battling from a set down to defeat Laura Siegemund 3/6 6/2 6/2. The fourth seed cemented her spot in the semi-finals with a topsy-turvy 6/1 4/6 6/1 win over local wild card Elisabetta Cocciaretto. Kontaveit’s best has looked good this week but she has been typically inconsistent.

Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in action during the quarter-finals at the 2020 Palermo Ladies Open WTA International tennis tournament

Martic emerged victorious in the only previous meeting between the pair, a 7/6 6/1 victory on the hard courts of Dubai earlier this year.

I’m going to side with Martic here to make it 2 from 2 against Kontaveit in 2020. Martic was too solid for Kontaveit on a hard court earlier this year and should be further advantaged on the clay in Palermo. Martic has generally been the more impressive of the two this week and has a much better recent record on clay. The versatility and reliability of Martic should get the job done against an erratic opponent.

Prediction: Petra Martic to defeat Anett Kontaveit in 2 sets

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Fiona Ferro vs. Sara Errani, Palermo QF Preview

🇮🇹☀️ Palermo Ladies Open – QF Preview + Prediction
🇫🇷 Fiona Ferro vs. 🇮🇹 (wc) Sara Errani

A pair of clay court specialists will go head-to-head when Fiona Ferro takes on Sara Errani for a spot in the semi-finals at the Palermo Ladies Open.

Sara Errani of Italy in action during the second round at the 2020 Palermo Ladies Open WTA International tennis tournament

Fiona Ferro is on a roll. The 23-year-old has won 12 matches in a row having arrived in Palermo with a 10-match winning streak at exhibition events. Ferro cruised through the opening round in Palermo with a 6/2 6/1 win over Nadia Podoroska. Ferro secured her spot in the final 8 with a 7/5 6/2 win over the 8th seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova. Ferro has a strong clay court record having amassed a 45/18 win/loss record on clay since the start of 2018,

Sara Errani has been in vintage form in Palermo to reach her first tour level quarter-final in over a year. The Italian claimed a pair of gutsy 3 set wins to reach the final 8. Errani started the week with a 7/5 1/6 6/4 win over Sorana Cirstea, followed by a 3/6 6/4 6/3 victory against Kristyna Pliskova, an especially encouraging win for the 33-year-old over a powerful opponent. Errani has more tour-level wins on a clay court than any other active player on the WTA tour.

It was Ferro who emerged victorious in the only previous meeting between the pair. The Frenchwoman claimed a 1/6 6/3 6/4 win during the qualification stage in Rabat last year.

Ferro comes into this match as a very strong favourite but don’t discount Errani. Expect this to be closer than the odds suggest but ultimately Ferro should be too strong for Errani. Ferro is full of confidence at the moment given her large winning streak and has the complete game on this surface to deal with the threats of Errani. Ferro has the controlled power and the stamina to outlast Errani.

Prediction: Fiona Ferro to defeat Sara Errani in 3 sets

Sara Errani vs. Kristyna Pliskova, Palermo R2 Preview

🇮🇹☀️ Palermo Ladies Open – R2 Preview + Prediction
🇮🇹 (wc) Sara Errani vs. 🇨🇿 Kristyna Pliskova

An interesting second round clash at the Palermo Ladies Open sees Sara Errani come up against Kristyna Pliskova in a match-up that features a huge contrast in styles. The consistent, grinding game of Errani against the big serving Pliskova.

Sara Errani of Italy in action during the first round at the 2020 Palermo Ladies Open WTA International tennis tournament

Errani advanced to the second round in Palermo with a typically gutsy win. The veteran Italian outlasted Sorana Cirstea to claim a 7/5 1/6 6/4 victory. Errani seemed to be struggling physically towards to the end of her match with the Romanian but somehow managed to dig deep, raising her level just when she needed to in order to secure an important win. Importantly Errani seems to have improved her terribly vulnerable serve, Errani served only a couple of double faults in her win over Cirstea and didn’t serve underarm.

Pliskova caused the biggest upset of the tournament thus far when she defeated the third seeded Maria Sakkari in straight sets, a surprisingly easy 6/4 6/4 win. Pliskova’s biggest weapon was firing in her win of Sakkari, her serve, Pliskova went through the match without dropping serve and consistently came up big under pressure. Pliskova won a whopping 81% of points behind her first serve.

This will be the first career meeting between the pair.

I’m fascinated to see how this match-up pans out. I’ll give the slight edge to Errani, I think the Italian will be smart enough to get the better of Pliskova on a clay court. Pliskova was awesome in the first round but the chances of her repeating that level here are low, anything other than her best won’t get the job done against Errani on a clay court. Errani showed great signs herself in the first round and will fancy her chances here. Expect the consistency and versatility of Errani to be the undoing on Pliskova.

Prediction: Sara Errani to defeat Kristyna Pliskova in 3 sets

Donna Vekic vs. Elisabetta Cocciaretto, Palermo R2 Preview

🇮🇹☀️ Palermo Ladies Open – R2 Preview + Prediction
🇭🇷 (6) Donna Vekic vs. (wc) 🇮🇹 Elisabetta Cocciaretto

The 6th seeded Donna Vekic continues her Palermo Ladies Open campaign on Wednesday with a second round clash against local wild card Elisabetta Cocciaretto.

Donna Vekic of Croatia in action during the first round at the 2020 Palermo Ladies Open WTA International tennis tournament

Vekic made a commanding start to the tournament with a dominant 6-1 6-2 victory over Arantxa Rus in just 77 minutes. Vekic was strong behind her first serve where she won 77% of points and generally had too much firepower for her opponent. Vekic won 80% of points behind her opponents second serve.

Elisabetta Cocciaretto claimed her first WTA MD victory by defeating Polona Hercog 7/6 6/3 in just under 2 hours in the opening round in Palermo. The 19-year-old showed great fighting spirit to twice come from a break down in the opening set and again come from a break down in the second set.

This will be the first career meeting between the pair.

On paper this looks like an easy victory for Vekic given her vastly greater experience and far superior ranking. However, Cocciaretto enters this match with nothing to lose and is better suited to the clay court surface. Cocciaretto is a player on the rise but I’ll give Vekic the benefit of the doubt here, the Croatian knows how to get the job done.

Prediction: Donna Vekic to defeat Elisabetta Cocciaretto in 3 sets

Anett Kontaveit vs. Maria Patricia Tig, Palermo R1 Preview

🇮🇹☀️ Palermo Ladies Open – R1 Preview + Prediction
🇪🇪 (4) Anett Kontaveit vs. 🇷🇴 Maria Patricia Tig

The 4th seeded Anett Kontaveit restarts her 2020 season with an opening round clash against Romania’s Maria Patricia Tig at the Palermo Ladies Open on Tuesday.

Anett Kontaveit of Estonia during practice ahead of the 2020 Palermo Ladies Open WTA International tennis tournament

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. Both prior meetings between the pair took place in 2015. Kontaveit won 3/6 6/0 6/1 on a hard court in Vancouver, Tig won 6/3 6/3 on an indoor hard court in St. Petersburg.

Kontaveit and Tig both enter this tournament off limited preparation. Tig didn’t take place in any exhibition events during the tour shutdown while Kontaveit did play a one-off match against Jelena Ostapenko last week which she won in 3 sets.

I believe this match will be closer than the odds suggest. Kontaveit is a very big favorite and on paper the Estonian looks the logical winner. However, Tig is a tough player on a clay court and on her day, she has what it takes to make this very close. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to Kontaveit who is generally a class above the Romanian.

Prediction: Anett Kontaveit to defeat Maria Patricia Tig in 3 sets

Camila Giorgi vs. Rebecca Peterson, Palermo R1 Preview

🇮🇹☀️ Palermo Ladies Open – R1 Preview + Prediction
🇮🇹 Camila Giorgi vs. 🇸🇪 Rebecca Peterson

The top ranked Italian Camila Giorgi will begin her Palermo Ladies Open campaign with a tricky opening round clash against Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson on Tuesday.

Rebecca Peterson of Sweden during practice ahead of the 2020 Palermo Ladies Open WTA International tennis tournament

Both Giorgi and Peterson did not take place in any exhibition events during the official tour’s shutdown. Therefore, the pair enter this opening round clash with a very limited form guide.

This is a match-up of contrasting styles, the all-out aggressive game of Giorgi compared to Peterson who is much steadier and likes to construct points from the baseline with her strong forehand.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece, both meetings took place in 2019. Peterson led 6-2 before Giorgi retired in their most recent match in Wuhan last year. The only completed match between the two took place in Washington last year where Giorgi won 3/6 6/3 6/4. This will be their first match on a clay court surface.

I will side with Peterson here. Clay is easily the preferred surface for Peterson whilst clay is probably Giorgi’s least preferred surface. Giorgi is erratic at the best of times, so I expect her to be rusty here given the Italian hasn’t played a competitive match for almost 4 months. Peterson should be solid enough to capitalize on the errors.

Prediction: Rebecca Peterson to defeat Camila Giorgi in 2 sets

Dayana Yastremska vs. Sara Sorribes Tormo, Palermo R1 Preview

🇮🇹☀️ Palermo Ladies Open – R1 Preview + Prediction
🇺🇦 (7) Dayana Yastremska vs. 🇪🇸 Sara Sorribes Tormo

A huge contrast in styles will be on show as the 7th seeded Dayana Yastremska takes on an in-form Sara Sorribes Tormo at the opening round stage of the 31st Palermo Ladies Open.

Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine during practice at the 2020 Palermo Ladies Open WTA International tennis tournament

This will be the first career meeting between the pair, the huge hitting and aggressive game of Yastremska up against the consistency and determination of Sorribes Tormo.

The pair enter this clash with contrasting preparations. Yastremska was not involved in any exhibition events during the tour shutdown but did look like a player that would do plenty of damage this year in the early stages of the season. Conversely, Sorribes Tormo played a couple of exhibition events in Spain last month where she went on an 8-match winning streak to win both events, albeit against relatively weak opposition.

I will side with Yastremska here despite her limited preparation. There is no doubt that Yastremska has the game to absolutely dominate this match-up. The match probably will not turn out to be a straightforward one for a potentially rusty Yastremska, but she should eventually find the level required to hit through the Spaniard.

Prediction: Dayana Yastremska to defeat Sara Sorribes Tormo in 3 sets