WTA Gippsland Trophy Day 1 Predictions Including Daria Kasatkina vs Mihaela Buzarnescu

Irina-Camelia Begu in action ahead of the WTA Gippsland Trophy
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The WTA Gippsland Trophy is one of three WTA lead-up events for the upcoming Australian Open. Some of the top players in the world will feature at this tournament. Every player in the draw will surely be determined to make an impact, with the first Grand Slam of the year looming large on the horizon. But who will reach the second round?

WTA Gippsland Trophy Day One Predictions

Bernarda Pera vs Olivia Gadecki

Head-to-head: first meeting

Tournament organizers are often good at spotting potential and we can only assume Australia’s wildcard entrant Olivia Gadecki is a star in the making. But with that said, she is in uncharted waters here, having played just 20 matches so far in her career and none at this level. It would be a real shock as a result if the 18-year-old world #988 were to get past the experienced Bernarda Pera, even if the American did endure a below-par 2020, playing just 15 matches.

Prediction: Pera in 2
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Daria Kasatkina vs Mihaela Buzarnescu

Head-to-head: Kasatkina 1-0 Buzarnescu

Nothing has clicked for Daria Kasatkina in spite of a change in coach in the last two seasons. There have been some small glimpses of promise, such as in Lyon last year where she made the semifinals (her best run by far), but just when she seemed to be gathering momentum towards the end of the season, she suffered a horrible ankle injury playing against Victoria Azarenka in Rome. But the 23-year-old Russian did pick up a confidence-boosting win to start off the year against Wang Qiang in Abu Dhabi.

She then had the misfortune of drawing Elena Rybakina in the third round, after her second-round opponent Karolina Muchova withdrew. Kasatkina had actually beaten the Kazakh in their previous meeting in Ostrava, but was well-beaten in Abu Dhabi, winning just seven games. But Buzarnescu is no Rybakina and the Russian should be feeling confident ahead of her first outing at the newly established WTA Gippsland Trophy against an opponent she has beaten quite handily before.

Prediction: Kasatkina in 2
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Rebecca Marino vs Jasmine Paolini

Head-to-head: first meeting

For Rebecca Marino, there will be a return to Grand Slam tennis for the first time in eight years at the Australian Open after she came through the qualifying, without even dropping a set. When she burst onto the scene as a 20-year-old in 2010, few would have envisaged the struggles that followed as she slipped into the wilderness, battling depression and the unexpected loss of her father before retiring in 2013, aged only 23.

Thee 30-year-old, now in her second coming as a tennis player, has said that she feels like ‘a different player’ and will surely be full of confidence after her exploits in the qualifying in Dubai. Her opponent Jasmine Paolini, has lately manage to break into the world’s top 100 after spending years on the ITF circuit painstakingly building up her ranking. The 25-year-old is a good athlete, but she is far more at home on the clay and may well struggle to combat Marino’s power on the hard courts at Melbourne Park. Expect the Canadian to progress.

Prediction: Marino in 2
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Irina-Camelia Begu vs Zheng Saisai

Head-to-head: Zheng 2-0 Begu

Irina-Camelia Begu has captured four of her five career singles titles on hard courts, including last year’s WTA 125K in Indian Wells. It is an eyebrow-raising stat considering she has fared marginally better on clay overall. Zheng Saisai looks like a dangerous opponent for her in the first round, but the Chinese hasn’t played a tour-level match since March last year as a result of COVID-19 restrictions on travel for Chinese players.

Zheng did participate in an event in her native China which was organized by the Chinese Tennis Association towards the end of last year in an effort to finetune her game for the upcoming season, but one would still expect the Romanian to have an edge as far as match sharpness in concerned. That could prove to be decisive in what would otherwise likely be an even contest.

Prediction: Begu in 3

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