An action-packed Day 1 at the WTA Palermo Ladies Open will feature a staggering eight main draw matches.
We offer our predictions on all of those matches. We have four in this article and the other four in a separate article.
WTA Palermo Ladies Open Day 1 Predictions
Laura Siegemund vs Irina-Camelia Begu
Head-to-head: Siegemund 2-1 Begu
Laura Siegemund made a decent start to the year by making the quarterfinals in Auckland, beating Cathy McNally and Coco Gauff before falling to eventual champion Serena Williams. She also reached the last eight at the Indian Wells Challenger at the start of March before the tour was temporarily suspended. Siegemund, now 32, is very much a late bloomer. She won her first WTA title in Bastad in 2016, and then went one better on her return to Stuttgart in 2017 where she beat a trio of top-10 players en route to the biggest title win of her career. The German has been ranked as high as No.27. However, she underwent surgery for a knee injury which kept her out for the 2018 season, and she is slowly scaling her way back into the elites. She has a very winnable first round match against the World No.81 Irina Camelia-Begu.
The 29-year-old Romanian, much like Siegemund, has had her fair share of injury troubles in the past. Knee and ankle injuries resulted in the former World No.22 sinking out of the Top 100 last May for the first time in five years. Begu managed to creep back in after a terrific run of results in the first quarter of 2020. She won an ITF title in Egypt and then captured the Indian Wells Challenger in March. Begu would have been devastated by the tour’s shutdown after carrying momentum during the North American swing.
Siegemund should start as a slight favorite here, having beaten Begu in straight sets in their last meeting in Bucharest last year. Also, the German veteran’s ability to change the pace of the ball in baseline exchanges to her advantage should unsettle the crafty Romanian.
Prediction: Siegemund in 3
Ekaterina Alexandrova vs Kristina Mladenovic
Head-to-head: Alexandrova 1-0 Mladenovic
Ekaterina Alexandrova was the WTA’s in-form player heading to the Australian Open after winning back-to-back tournaments in December and January. Her 10-match winning streak propelled her to become Russia’s No.1. Although she lost comfortably in the third round of the Australian Open to Petra Kvitova, she maintained her consistent start to the year with a semifinal showing in her hometown in St. Petersburg.
Alexandrova has fared poorly on clay over the years despite reaching the third round of French Open in 2019. During the mid-season hiatus, she played in the Tipsport Exhibition tournament in Czech Republic where she won just one of her five matches.
Mladenovic does have some clay-court pedigree, but she is a shadow of the player that once streaked into the quarterfinals at Roland Garros three years ago. Expect the power-hitting Russian to squeeze her way into round two.
Prediction: Alexandrova in 2
Polona Hercog vs Elisabetta Cocciaretto
Head-to-head: Hercog 1-0 Cocciaretto
Polona Hercog must be thinking that surely disaster is not going to strike twice. The experienced Slovenian was famously knocked out in the third round of Wimbledon by a 15-year-old Coco Gauff last year despite holding two match points. It was a defeat so damaging that the 29-year-old hasn’t quite come to terms with.
Elisabetta Cocciaretto will be licking her lips at the prospect of inflicting yet another “teenage defeat” on the World No.45. The 19-year-old is highly regarded by her peers in the Italian tennis community and it was no surprise to see her name up in the list of wildcard entrants. Cocciaretto has made a rapid rise from a lowly World No.779 at the start of last May to her current No.157.
Hercog naturally will bring variety to the table, with her dexterous sliced backhand causing plenty of trouble to the inexperienced Italian.
Prediction: Hercog in 2
Dayana Yastremska vs Sara Sorribes Tormo
Head-to-head: First meeting
Dayana Yastremska has endured some sort of a roller-coaster during the last few months. From the lows of a controversial social media post to the highs of pursuing a second career in music.
But back on the tennis court it will be intriguing to see where her head is at especially when she comes up against a dangerous floater in the shape of Sorribes Tormo, who could be primed to punish any jaded efforts.
Prediction: Sorribes Tormo in 3
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