WTA Brisbane International: Day 1 Predictions Including Elise Mertens vs Kiki Bertens

The 2019 tennis season is just under 24-hours away to officially start. Even though the tennis off-season is probably the shortest in all of sports, it still makes the wait extremely unbearable for fans. Brisbane, Shenzhen, and Auckland will be the three major cities for WTA action in the opening week of the calendar.

The first Premier event of the year will be the WTA Brisbane International, which will feature seven of the top 10 players on the WTA tour. Elina Svitolina, the defending Brisbane champion, will be joined by Naomi Osaka, Daria Kasatkina, Petra Kvitova, and Sloane Stephens. It is fair to say there will be no shortage of quality on the court with the names on offer.

Here are predictions of the stand-out matches of Day 1.

Kimberly Birrell vs Daria Kasatkina

Daria Kasatkina starts her 2019 season against the German-born Australian player Kimberly Birrell. Kasatkina’s 2018 season ended with a trophy win in her home country Russia as she captured the Kremlin Cup. She was the first alternate in Singapore, but was never needed to replace anyone. She is playing an opponent who has had too much tennis during the last month or so. Birrell won the last Australian Open wildcard playoff and is going to be in fine spirits. Kasatkina’s experience is a big factor and should win this comfortably.

Prediction: Kasatkina in 2
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Mihaela Buzarnescu vs Lesia Tsurenko

Since suffering that ankle injury in Canada, I don’t think Mihaela Buzarnescu has fully recovered. She withdrew from the US Open, and lost pretty much all the matches she played thereafter. Lesia Tsurenko is another player whose fitness is always a concern. However, the Ukrainian has been putting a lot of work during the off-sesaon in Italy and has two months of preparation. Buzarnescu currently leads the head-to-head 2-0, but I think this match has come too soon for her against a player of Tsurenko’s caliber.

Prediction: Tsurenko in 2
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Kristina Mladenovic vs Destanee Aiava

Destanee Aiava has come through qualifiers against some tough opposition, beating Mandy Minella and Christina McHale along the way. I think Aiava is favorite here, and should cause the upset. Mladenovic seems unable to compete in singles matches.

Prediction: Aiava in 2
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Elise Merten vs Kiki Bertens

This is the best of first round matches. Elise Mertens has won both matches against Kiki Bertens. The Dutchwoman though had a better season overall, winning Cincinnati and eventually qualifying in the season-ending WTA finals in Singapore. Mertens’ 2018 season was not bad by any means. She won three titles and managed to reach a Slam semifinal. I think Mertens will win this. She is a very good hard court player, and she is known to make fast starts during the early part of the season.

Prediction: Mertens in 2

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