Professional tennis is back, at least on the women’s WTA tour for now. The 2020 Top Seed Open (WTA Lexington) is the first event after the break to take place in the United States. The event in Lexington, Kentucky will see a great field including Serena Williams and Aryna Sabalenka. Who will prevail on the first day of main draw action? We also have predictions for other Monday matches.
Jamie Loeb vs Caroline Dolehide
This is a final round of qualifying match. The two Americans stayed rather active throughout the pandemic break and actually faced each other three times in June. Dolehide won two of these matches, adding to Loeb’s disastrous 3-13 win/loss record in exhibitions this year. It should be very tight yet again, with both ladies scoring pretty impressive wins in their respective first rounds here. They obviously know each other well and the low-key atmosphere of a tournament with no-crowd will make them feel as if they’re back playing another exhibition against each other. Only this time the stakes are much higher and it’s Dolehide who, despite being younger, has more experience in playing under big pressure.
Prediction: Dolehide in 3
Heather Watson vs Jennifer Brady
Head-to-head: Brady 1-0
Heather Watson dominated the Battle of the Brits exhibitions, but the standard of the opposition will be massively increased here. Jennifer Brady was very active recently, especially during the WorldTeamTennis series. Getting so much matchplay can only help her and good wins over Sofia Kenin or Sloane Stephens make us expect Brady to be on top of her game from the get-go. Is the home court advantage still an advantage without any crowd? Probably just a tiny bit, but it’s yet another argument working in Brady’s favor.
Prediction: Brady in 3
Magda Linette – Lauren Davis
Head-to-head: Davis 3-1
With two titles in the past 12 months, it’s Linette who seems to be the in-form player. Her latest exhibition results don’t tell us to expect much though as the Pole got upset by Renata Zarazua and Panna Udvardy. Lauren Davis showed up on court just once during the pandemic break, also losing to a much lower-ranked opponent (Katrina Scott). Davis has a lead in the head-to-head and won their only 2020 meeting in Hobart. This will likely be very close and probably entirely reliant on the form of the day. The American has a slight power advantage and if she can consistently keep Linette on the back foot, she should prevail.
Prediction: Davis in 3
Marie Bouzkova – Johanna Konta
Head-to-head: Bouzkova 1-0
Konta has recently played in the Battle of the Brits, defeating Katie Boulter and going down in a shocking upset to Jodie Anna Burrage. A fun fact here – Konta’s last professional match was… a loss to Bouzkova in Monterrey. The young Czech is in the middle of breaking through to the top of the game and that tournament was where she reached her first WTA final. The pandemic might have halted her progress but as she defeated Konta quite comfortably in Monterrey and the five-month break left us with little information – we’ll pick her to repeat the feat in Lexington. Konta hasn’t been at her best in what we’ve seen of her in 2020 and Bouzkova is the player on the more upward trajectory.
Prediction: Bouzkova in 3