WTA Nottingham Open Day 1 Predictions Including Harriet Dart vs Vera Lapko

Caroline Garcia Nottingham Open

Defending champion Ashleigh Barty, who won her maiden Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, has withdrawn alongside British #1 Johanna Konta, who reached the last four in Paris. That may leave the door ajar for Donna Vekic, who won the title in 2017 and arrives in good form after reaching the fourth round at the French Open. But who will advance on day one in Nottingham?

Nottingham Open day one predictions

Harriet Dart vs Vera Lapko

Head-to-head: first meeting

22-year-old Briton Harriet Dart finished last season with an 8-5 win-loss record on grass, undeniably impressive even if three of the five tournaments she played were at ITF level. In Eastbourne, she scored a fine win over Kristyna Pliskova and at Wimbledon pushed her sister Karolina, then seeded seventh, hard in the first round. But Dart has struggled with injury this season, and was most recently in action at an ITF event on the clay in Saint-Gaudens, where she lost in the second round. But a victory at WTA level could be just what she needs to kick start her grass-court campaign.

The Belarusian 20-year-old Vera Lapko enjoyed an excellent junior career and looked set for success after finishing 2018 with a 39-24 win-loss record. But this season she has managed just four wins in 16 matches. She does, however, have the advantage of having already played a grass-court tournament this year after reaching the second round in Surbiton. She also made the second round at Wimbledon, Birmingham and Nottingham last season, illustrating her grass-court pedigree. But she has clearly been out of form lately and, with the support of the home crowd, Dart should have enough to advance.

Prediction: Dart in three
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Bernarda Pera vs Katie Swan

Head-to-head: first meeting

World #85 Bernarda Pera of the USA is a far more accomplished player than her ranking suggests. She certainly impressed in qualifying for the French Open recently, though she will have been disappointed by her first-round defeat to Kateryna Kozlova. Last year at the Australian Open, she upset Konta and whilst grass isn’t her favourite surface, she has shown in the past that she can play on it, only losing narrowly last season in Birmingham and Eastbourne.

Bristol’s finest, world #208 Katie Swan, meanwhile, is one of the rising stars in the British game. She will surely have been buoyed by her inclusion in the Fed Cup team earlier this year and has a main draw win at Wimbledon under her belt. Swan recently won two qualifiers at the French Open, only to lose out in two tight sets to Kristina Kucova. On home turf, she should be able to make a real match of it against Pera, despite the gulf between their respective rankings. Ultimately, however, expect the American to prove just too strong.

Prediction: Pera in three
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Donna Vekic vs Dalila Jakupovic

Head-to-head: first meeting

Slovenia’s Dalila Jakupovic, ranked 105th in the world, arrives in Nottingham on a six match losing streak after failing to win a single match during the European clay-court season. She will surely be hoping that a change in surface will bring about a change in fortunes. But the draw has done her no favours in that regard. Donna Vekic traditionally enjoys the grass-court season and this tournament in particular. This match should be reasonably straightforward for the 2017 champion, who comes to Nottingham in good form, after finishing the clay season with a 7-3 record.

Prediction: Vekic in two
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Caroline Garcia vs Naiktha Bains

Head-to-head: first meeting

Top seed Carolina Garcia is an enigma wrapped in a riddle at the moment. Just when she looked like returning to the sort of form that took her inside the WTA’s top ten, she delivered a poor performance to lose to Blinkova at the French Open in the second round. She can unquestionably play on the grass, however, and won the title in Mallorca in 2016.

She may well fancy her fancy her chances of claiming a second grass-court title in Nottingham after Barty and Konta’s withdrawals. 21-year-old wildcard Naiktha Bains, meanwhile, will be making her debut in the main draw at the Nottingham Open, having previously failed to qualify. Bains will need the home crowd support to make a match of this, but it is hard to see her overcoming the quality of the French world #25.

Prediction: in Garcia two

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