WTA Gippsland Trophy Day 1 Predictions Including Martina Trevisan vs Andrea Petkovic

Tamara Zidansek in action ahead of the WTA Gippsland Trophy
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There should be no shortage of entertaining action on day one at the inaugural WTA Gippsland Trophy, with a number of intriguing matches on the slate and plenty of motivation for the competitors with the Australian Open looming large on the horizon. As ever, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for the matches on day one, including Yafan Wang vs Kaja Juvan and Daria Kasatkina vs Mihaela Buzarnescu. But who will book their place in the second round at Melbourne Park?

WTA Gippsland Trophy Day One Predictions

Lesia Tsurenko vs Aliaksandra Sasnovich

Head-to-head: Tsurenko 2-0 Sasnovich

It is a testament to the sharp decline that Lesia Tsurenko has suffered over the past 18 months that she found herself the 30th seed in the Australian Open qualifying draw. The Ukrainian, who was ranked 23rd in the world as recently as February, 2019, battled through the first two rounds in Dubai, but fell short at the final hurdle, losing to Russia’s Ludmilla Samsonova in straight-sets. Sasnovich too has struggled for consistency, but the Belarusian was able to begin her season at the Abu Dhabi Open, reaching the second round.

She starts this match as the favourite, just about, and although she was dismissed in both of her previous meetings with Tsurenko, they have not played since 2014. Sasnovich, who is still only 26, has improved considerably in the interim, whilst Tsurenko looks rather a spent force. The Ukrainian may yet come again, but Sasnovich generally plays well in Melbourne and it is hard to see this match marking the start of Tsurenko’s revival.

Prediction: Sasnovich in 3
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Astra Sharma vs Kaia Kanepi

Head-to-head: first meeting

Kaia Kanepi does not play particularly regularly, at least by the standards of a modern touring professional, but she found a rich vein of form at the close of 2020, winning back-to-back ITF titles in Turkey and Spain, proving that she remains very much a force to be reckoned with when she is on song. Naturally, her aggressive approach can lead to costly numbers of unforced errors, but it can also make her almost unplayable when she is at her best.

Astra Sharma, meanwhile, enjoyed a solid 2020, highlighted by reaching the second round at the French Open as a lucky loser and will be looking to take advantage of the opportunity to play on home turf. But Sharma has not always thrived in Australia, last year losing in the first round in both Hobart and Melbourne, and she may well lack the power to really hurt Kanepi. It certainly looks likely to be a match that will be on the Estonian’s racquet and that is rarely good news for her opponents.

Prediction: Kanepi in 2
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Martina Trevisan vs Andrea Petkovic

Head-to-head: first meeting

Martina Trevisan enjoyed a breakthrough run at the French Open last season, coming through the qualifying to reach the quarterfinals. However, the Italian remains relatively uncomfortable away from her preferred clay, as evidenced by her 3-6 3-6 loss at the hands of Yulia Putintseva in the first round at the Abu Dhabi Open, a match in which the Kazakh looked supremely comfortable. Andrea Petkovic is no longer a player of Putintseva’s calibre, but she is a wily and experienced campaigner. She has struggled in Melbourne in recent years, having won just two matches since reaching the last eight in 2011, but this matchup should suit her.

Prediction: Petkovic in 3
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Tamara Zidansek vs Danka Kovinic

Head-to-head: first meeting

This looks to have the makings of a fairly evenly matched contest. Neither Danka Kovinic and Tamara Zidansek can call upon particularly impressive hard-court resumes, with both yet to advance further than the second round at either Melbourne Park or the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Kovinic did reach a final on a hard court at the Tianjin Open in 2015, but as she won just three games there that run may not be one she draws great confidence from.

Zidansek, meanwhile, is yet to reach a final on hard courts and continues to play the majority of her matches on the clay. However, she does arrive at the WTA Gippsland Trophy in some form after a run to the last 16 at the WTA Abu Dhabi Open, where she beat 11th seed Jennifer Brady and the Canadian young Leylah Annie Fernandez. Kovinic, in contrast, lost 1-6 4-6 to the Czech Republic’s Karolina Muchova. It’s hard not to like Zidansek’s chances as a result.

Prediction: Zidansek in 3

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