Australian Open Day 1 Women’s Predictions Including Naomi Osaka vs Marie Bouzkova

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Day 1 of the Australian Open is about to begin. The first Grand Slam of the season season is here, and LWOT writers will offer our thoughts. Not only did we do a roundtable set of predictions, but we will do match-by-match predictions for as much as we can throughout the tournament. On Day 1, we have five sets of predictions for you. Each set includes four matches. In addition to this one, we also have sets featuring Kristie Ahn vs Caroline Wozniacki, Ashleigh Barty vs Leisa Tsurenko, Anastasia Potapova vs Serena Williams, and Venus Williams vs Coco Gauff. Predicting this set of matches are Tracey Essex, myself (Yesh Ginsburg), and Jim Smith.

Australian Open Day 1 Women’s Predictions

Margarita Gasparyan vs Maria Sakkari

Tracey:
Neither Adelaide nor Brisbane proved fruitful for the competitive Grecian star. And, Russia’s Margarita Gasparyan’s single match of 2020 saw her claim a mere three games. Neither player is in form and playing at the level of which they’re capable. But, Sakkari’s fight and determination will see her live to fight another day.
Prediction: Sakkari in 2

Yesh:
Sakkari is a very solid player and can beat just about anyone. She gets somewhat outplayed against the very elite players, but hits past and wears down just about everyone else. Gasparyan is a potential elite player, but she’s not there yet or consistent enough.
Prediction: Sakkari in 2

Jim:
Margarita Gasparyan is a great player to watch and she can be tough to stay with when she’s at her best. But when she’s not, she is picked off all too easily. Maria Sakkari, in contrast, established herself as one of the WTA’s most consistent performers last season. With the large Greek population in Melbourne certain to give her their fulsome backing, expect Sakkari to advance comfortably enough.
Prediction: Sakkari in 2

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Bernarda Pera vs Elena Rybakina

Tracey:
Elena Rybakina has started 2020 red hot with two trips to finals. The Kazakh was narrowly edged out of the Shenzhen title and as of this writing, will be looking for the title in Hobart. It’s hard to imagine this rising star not making a deep run in Melbourne as well.
Prediction: Rybakina in 2

Yesh:

Jim:
Rybakina arrives in Melbourne as one of the form players after making the final in Shenzhen before winning the title in Hobart. But this is a tougher draw than it looks on paper. Bernarda Pera played some fine tennis in Adelaide and was unlucky to run into Aryna Sabalenka at something approaching her best in the second round. That said, Rybakina would surely be disappointed not to win this match and rightly so.
Prediction: Rybakina in 3

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Sloane Stephens vs Shuai Zhang

Tracey:
Perhaps exhaustion may catch up with Zhang Shuai who’s playing in the singles and doubles finals in Hobart. That would be the only reason the Chinese couldn’t bounce Sloane Stephens. The American has the talent but just can’t seem to get anywhere. Kamau Murray just wasn’t the magic ticket Sloane hoped he’d be. With first round losses in Brisbane and Adelaide, Stephens’ confidence has got to be at an all-time low.
Prediction: Zhang in 2

Yesh:
Stephens has been playing awful tennis recently, but it’s hard to pick against her here. She has a consistent trend of bringing her best out of nowhere for some Majors, and when she does that she should win this matchup easily. Maybe she won’t, but if she comes out with confidence she’ll win without trouble.
Prediction: Stephens in 2

Jim:
It’s hard to describe Sloane Stephens’ start to the season as anything short of disastrous, particularly her humiliation at the hands of Arina Rodionova in Adelaide. Zhang Shuai, in contrast, played well in Hobart, reaching the final. She hasn’t had much turnaround time, but fatigue seems likely to be just about the only thing standing between her and a place in the second round.
Prediction: Zhang in 3

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Naomi Osaka vs Marie Bouzkova

Tracey:
Naomi Osaka reached the semifinals of Brisbane, her only tournament leading up to the Australia Open. She was pushed to a decider in each of her four matches and eventually fell to an in form Karolina Pliskova, who went on to win. Certainly the competition was stiff as she faced Maria Sakkari, Sofia Kenin, and Kiki Bertens. And, perhaps this will help the Japanese superstar find her footing in Melbourne.
Prediction: Osaka in 2

Yesh:
Bouzkova is a good and rising young player. She was going to be a terrible draw for whoever she got, but beating Osaka might be a bridge too far for her. Osaka hasn’t quite been at Major-winning level since winning her last Major, but she’s solid enough to beat anyone but the other top players.
Prediction: Osaka in 3

Jim:
This is a potentially tricky opening test for the defending champion. Particularly because Naomi Osaka has hardly excelled at defending titles in the past. That said, the Japanese found some much-needed stability towards the end of last season, winning back-to-back titles in Tokyo and Beijing. Expect her to overpower Bouzkova.
Prediction: Osaka in 2

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Disagree with our Australian Open Day 1 Women’s Predictions? As always, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.