J&T Banka Prague Open, R1 Preview
?? (3/wc) Daria Kasatkina vs. ?? (LL) Jasmine Paolini
Daria Kasatkina begins her 2018 Prague campaign against Italian lucky-loser Jasmine Paolini in the final match on Centre Court on Tuesday. Kasatkina will be hoping to return to the high level of tennis that saw her reach the Indian Wells final after a couple of poor results in the last few weeks. Clay has always been considered the Russian’s best surface, the 20-year-old looms as one the favourites this week.
Kasatkina has taken her game to the next level in 2018. Runs to the final in Dubai and Indian Wells are proof that Kasatkina has improved significantly. Unfortunately Kasatkina has had a poor couple of weeks to start her clay court campaign, a quarter-final exit in Charleston and more recently a commanding opening round loss at the hands of Magdalena Rybarikova in Stuttgart last week. Prague is a more traditional clay court surface, so this week looms as a good opportunity for Kasatkina to pick up her game.
Jasmine Paolini fell at the final hurdle in the qualifying draw but has been granted a lucky-loser spot in the draw thanks to a few withdrawals from the event. Paolini was beaten by Antonia Lottner in straight sets in the final round of qualifying after a few comfortable wins over a few low quality opponents.
This will be the first career meeting between the pair, seemingly a bit of a mismatch.