Shenzhen R1: (6) Eugenie Bouchard vs Donna Vekic
The most exciting first round match-up at the Shenzhen Open sees Eugenie Bouchard and Donna Vekic go head-to-head for the very first time. Both Eugenie and Donna were in the news for the wrong reason in 2015 and will be keen to make the headlines due to improved results in 2016. This is an important match for both ladies, especially Bouchard who will desperately want to avoid a disappointing first round loss to start the season.
Eugenie Bouchard is yet to complete a match since she sustained a head injury prior to her fourth round clash at the U.S Open. That injury came at a terrible time for Eugenie, just as she was seemingly starting to find some form after a terrible string of results prior to the event. I expect 2016 to be a much better year for Eugenie, she is undoubtedly much more talented than her current ranking of 49 suggests. It is important for Bouchard to gather some winning momentum over the next couple of weeks where she will play back-to-back international events in Shenzhen and Hobart before the Australian Open.
Donna Vekic had a reasonable year in 2015 but she is still ranked just outside the top 100 and will be looking to rapidly improve her ranking in season 2016. This is a big year for Vekic, she now has enough experience under her belt and should be making a push towards the top 50. Vekic was a late entrant into the Shenzhen main draw courtesy of some late withdrawals. The Croatian should see this match as a real opportunity to claim a big scalp early in the season.
This will be an interesting first encounter between the pair. Both love to take the ball early and dictate play.Ultimately, Bouchard should be too strong in this match-up. The Canadian has had a couple of hits in Shenzhen to get used to the conditions and is seemingly fit and ready to go. It would be pretty disastrous for Bouchard to start the year with another first round loss, I expect a focused and determined Bouchard to get the job done here.