It is the 20th year of the WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and this edition looks set to be a thriller. A lot of the top players in the world have travelled to the Middle East for these championships.
There are eleven singles matches on Day 1. Some are main draw matches and some are qualifying matches.
Find previews and predictions for some of the great matches below. We also have predictions for four more matches.
WTA Dubai Day 1 Predictions
Katerina Siniakova vs Alison van Uytvanck
Head-to-Head: Van Uytvanck 2-1 Siniakova
This qualifying match could be a tight affair. Both players won their previous round in straight sets.
The Belgian is slightly higher ranked and comes into this tournament having had a much better year than her Czech opponent.
Siniakova seems to have hit a ceiling in her rise. She is only 23 but has lost more matches than she has won on tour for a year now and hasn’t won a title in that time.
Van Uytvanck has held serve and broken her opponents at a better ratio than Siniakova on hard courts in the last twelve months as well. Most evidence is pointing in the Belgian’s direction and combining those indicators together helps to make this prediction. Expect Van Uytvanck to progress into the main draw here.
Prediction: Van Uytvanck in 3
Elise Mertens vs Qiang Wang
Head-to-Head: Wang 3-1 Mertens
The series record between these two is a bit of a surprise. All of Wang’s wins are on hard courts and two of them have been in the last two years, so they are relevant.
Mertens though is super consistent. The Belgian has won her first match at 13 WTA tournaments in a row. She is usually excellent on a hard court and has much better statistics than her Chinese opponent on this surface.
It is quite difficult to rectify these two opposite formlines. I favor Mertens for the match because she is the player I trust more to deliver a high level.
Prediction: Mertens in 2
Amanda Anisimova vs Barbora Strycova
Head-to-Head: Anisimova 1-0 Strycova
This a match of great similarity and great difference. The pair are right next to each other in the rankings, Anisimova at #29 and Strycova at #30. Both also reached a Grand Slam semifinal in last year.
But the differences are perhaps more relevant to finding the winner. This is Anisimova’s debut at this event, whereas Strycova has been coming here since 2012. You may think this is an advantage for the Czech, but her record here is moderate. She has won five and lost five, and in fact, has lost her last four matches in Dubai.
Anisimova was last seen in Australia and she wasn’t anywhere near her best, losing to Zarina Diyas in the first round. That is a worry and if it wasn’t for that match there would be no hesitation in predicting an Anisimova victory. I will still go for this but with a little more doubt in my mind, she is still the player with the higher ceiling when she puts it together.
Prediction: Anisimova in 2
Kim Clijsters vs Garbine Muguruza
Head-to-Head: First meeting
So this is it then. Clijsters announced her comeback in the latter part of 2019. Despite a few hiccups along the way in preparation, the Belgian is going to step back into the WTA Tour against the Australian Open finalist.
It is difficult to assess this match for obvious reasons. Clijsters’ level will be interesting to see but I doubt that Muguruza will have been jumping for joy when she found out she had to play Clijsters. This will be much more of an event than she would be comfortable with.
Muguruza has to be the choice to win. As unpredictable as she is, she has just reached a Grand Slam Final and is near the top of her form. Expect her to progress but with a few moments of worry along the way.
Prediction: Muguruza in 2
Main Photo from Getty.
Disagree with our WTA Dubai Day 1 Predictions? As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.