The WTA Tour is well and truly underway in 2021, with tournaments being played in both Doha and Lyon this week. Lyon will see a new champion crowned as Sofia Kenin has elected not to defend her title here. Among those hoping to lift the trophy in her place are home favourites Fiona Ferro and Caroline Garcia. This should be a hotly contested tournament, with many in the field hopeful of climbing the rankings on the tour. We take a look at who should be able to do just that in our WTA Lyon day 1 predictions.
WTA Lyon Day 1 Predictions
Arantxa Rus vs Xiyu Wang
Head-to-head: Rus 1-1 Wang
Tour veteran Rus takes on young up-and-comer Wang in this first round clash. In truth this match will likely come down to who can find something close to their best levels first. Neither has any real form coming in to the match and both will be hopeful of changing that with a good run here. Wang has shown immense promise at times over the last 12 months and certainly has the bigger game of the two. However, Rus has been on the tour for far longer and that will surely count for something given how little tennis players have had in recent months.
If Wang finds her game she should win this comfortably. I think given the lack of form these two players have coming in to this match that it will go on long enough for her to find that level. The Chinese starlet also won their most recent encounter in Abu Dhabi. With that in mind I’m taking her for the win, It may be close, but Wang will advance
Prediction: Wang in 3
Nina Stojanovic vs Sorana Cirstea
Head-to-head: Stojanovic 0-1 Cirstea
Both of these players are in relatively good form. They both run red hot or ice cold and have big games when everything is clicking. The two have only met once on the clay in Nurnberg and Cirstea took the win in three sets there. I imagine this match will be similarly closely contested. However, Cirstea has picked up some good wins to start the year and this could just be her first real wobble after a string of good results.
Stojanovic has a powerful and flat forehand that could cause the Romanian real problems on the indoor hard courts of Lyon. Cirstea should be the favourite going in, but I think Stojanovic has enough on hard courts to come away with the win here and level the head-to-head between the two.
Prediction: Stojanovic in 3
Fiona Ferro vs Magda Frech
Head-to-head: First meeting
Ferro is undoubtedly one of the favourites to win this tournament. She has established herself as a top player on the women’s tour in the last two years. In fact, She picked up a title in both 2019 and 2020. Admittedly both were on clay, but she is showing herself to be more than capable on other surfaces as well. Ferro is a brilliant mover with a lethal forehand that she is learning to flatten out consistently. If that forehand is firing she is a menace for just about anyone on the women’s tour. She made the third round of the Australian Open, and will be looking to success with a deep run in Lyon.
Frech on the other hand has done little of note this year. The Pole has only played four matches in 2021 and two of them were in qualifying for this tournament. The lack of tennis available to players in recent months means a lack of match fitness is unsurprising. Frech would have been a long shot to win this match in any event. However, that lack of rhythm will surely prove costly against someone as effective at putting balls back in play as Ferro. This should be a routine win for the #2 seed,
Prediction: Ferro in 2