WTA Yarra Valley Classic Day 1 Predictions Including Fiona Ferro vs Shelby Rogers

Varvara Gracheva in action ahead of the WTA Yarra Valley Classic

The usual Australian Open warm-up events, with the exception of the Day at the Drive exhibition in Adelaide, have all been relocated to Melbourne Park due to restrictions on travel in Australia. But the intensity of competition should still remain high, with plenty at stake for every player in the field. But who will book their place in the second round at the inaugural WTA Yarra Valley Classic?

WTA Yarra Valley Classic Day 1 Predictions

Ankita Raina vs Aliona Bolsova

Head-to-head: Bolsova 1-0 Raina

Since her breakout run to the fourth round at the French Open in 2019, Aliona Bolsova has struggled for consistency, particularly on the main WTA Tour. However, it is worth remembering that she is still only 23 and was playing college tennis for Oklahoma State and then Florida Atlantic University until 2018. The quality of NCAA competition may be high, but it is a far cry from the professional game and it is no surprise that Bolsova has not immediately adjusted to the higher demands imposed by the latter.

Ankita Raina, meanwhile, arrives at the WTA Yarra Valley Classic after the disappointment of falling just short of Australian Open qualification, losing in the third and final round to Olga Danilovic to miss out on the chance to make a Grand Slam debut. And, in truth, it is hard to see her recovering from that disappointment here. In their only previous meeting, Bolsova emerged a comfortable 7-5 6-2 winner. Expect a similar result in Melbourne.

Prediction: Bolsova in 2
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Samantha Stosur vs Marie Bouzkova

Head-to-head: Bouzkova 1-0 Stosur

There is no doubting Samantha Stosur’s professionalism and commitment, but the Australian is a far cry from the player she was when she won the US Open in 2011. Her forehand, in particular, has lost much of its pace and penetration, robbing the 36-year-old of what was her most effective weapon. She has fallen outside the top 100 as a result. Marie Bouzkova, in contrast, looks to have a fine career ahead of her, despite lingering inconsistencies.

She will also surely head into this match with real confidence, having beaten Stosur in similar conditions in Brisbane two years ago. Stosur did take the Czech the distance in that match and it would not be a surprise to see her take a set off Bouzkova once again. But the 22-year-old has more power at her disposal than the veteran Stosur, whilst her ability to change direction early in the rally also seems destined to trouble the former-world #4.

Prediction: Bouzkova in 3
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Fiona Ferro vs Shelby Rogers

Head-to-head: Rogers 1-0 Ferro

This may not quite be the headline clash of day one at the WTA Yarra Valley Classic, but it is one of the more intriguing matches on the slate particularly because their only previous meeting, which came in Mallorca in 2019, was a three-set thriller. Both women enjoyed memorable runs in 2020, with Rogers reaching her second Grand Slam quarterfinal at the US Open and Ferro winning the second title of her career on the clay in Palermo, as well as making the fourth round at her home Slam in Paris.

What may concern Ferro is that whilst she is far from incapable on hard courts – she reached the third round at the US Open in 2019 on her debut – she does prefer the clay. Rogers, in contrast, is typically at her best on hard courts, where her powerful groundstrokes can make her almost unplayable when she is at her best. The problem for Rogers is that when she is not at her best, she can be rather wayward. With Ferro accurate off the ground and quick around the court, if Rogers cannot impose herself quickly, she may well find herself under real pressure.

Prediction: Ferro in 3
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Lizette Cabrera vs Varvara Gracheva

Head-to-head: first meeting

Lizette Cabrera will have another chance to win her first Grand Slam match in the coming weeks, having been awarded a wildcard into the Australian Open for the fourth time. However, she will first seek to get the better of Russia’s Varvara Gracheva in what looks like a tough test on paper. Cabrera does not want for industry, but the Australian lacks power off the ground, which can see her struggle to hurt opponents. Gracheva is not a huge hitter either, but the Russian does have the edge in that regard and that should be enough to see her into the second round of the WTA Yarra Valley Classic.

Prediction: Gracheva in 3

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