The WTA Lyon tournament has already served up a shock upset on Day 1 in France. Top seed< a href="https://www.flashscore.com/match/Wx4g8sNJ/#match-summary/match-summary" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Ekaterina Alexandrova exited the tournament in the first round after a straight sets loss to Clara Tauson. Hometown favourites Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic will hope to avoid a similar fate as they take to the court on day 2. However, neither has an easy draw and there could well be more upsets on day 2. With that in mind, I look at who should make through to the next round in my WTA Lyon Day 2 predictions.
WTA Lyon Day 2 Predictions
Giulia Gatto-Monticone vs Tereza Martincova
Head-to-head: First meeting
Both of these players came through qualifying to make the main draw in Lyon. Gatto-Monticone is a veteran of the women’s tennis circuit but has never managed to break into the top 100 on the tour and as such has only featured on it sporadically. The Italian is now 33 and so that is unlikely to change, particularly given the quality of opponent she is up against in this match. The Italian is also yet to win a title on the ITF circuit, which is usually a good indicator of WTA Tour level potential. She will certainly have her hands full playing someone who has shown that potential on several occasions.
Tereza Martincova has looked on several occasions in the last couple of years like she would break through and feature regularly on the main tour. However, that breakout season is yet to materialise. Nevertheless, I have seen a fair bit of the Czech and she has game, particularly on hard courts. She hits the ball hard and flat and moves her opponents around the court well when she is on form. She has given top opponents trouble on more than one occasion in recent years and should like her chances of a decent showing here given the weak field in Lyon. These two aren’t separated by many places in the rankings, but I think there is a clear divide in the levels they can take their game to. If Martincova finds her best she should win comfortably here
Prediction: Martincova in 2
Stefanie Voegele vs Irina Maria Bara
Head-to-head: Voegele 1-0 Bara
Irina Bara is undoubtedly far more comfortable on clay courts than hard. In fact, she has never played more than 11 hard court matches in a season at ITF level or higher. She has also never featured inside the top 100 on the tour. The fact that she didn’t need to qualify given her #128 ranking is an indication of how weak this field is. This week represents a golden opportunity for the Romanian to pick up some valuable ranking points. However, her chances of doing so do not look good.
Voegele is fairly accomplished in comparison. The Swiss player has won four ITF tournaments and feature far more often on the main tour than Bara has. She has finished the year ranked inside the top 100 on five separate occasions and has never been far off doing so since 2008. She also won three of her ITF titles on hard courts. This match looks like it could be close on paper, but reliance of Bara on clay courts to prop up her ranking is telling. Voegele is far more accomplished on the surface and on the tour and should be confident of a comfortable first round victory in Lyon.
Prediction: Voegele in 2
Paula Badosa Gilbert vs Harmony Tan
Head-to-head: First meeting
Badosa Gilbert will take on another French women in the draw when she faces off against Harmony Tan. Tan is off to a flying start this year. She won her first ITF tournament on indoor hard courts in France at the end of January. She is ranked inside the top 200 for the first time as a result and will surely be full of confidence coming in to this match. However, she faces stiff opposition in the form of the Spaniard Gilbert.
Gilbert is quietly becoming quite the player on the women’s tour. She is seeded #7 here with a current ranking of #73. I was lucky enough to watch her play in the Australian Open at the start of last year. In that match she lost a tight contest to Petra Kvitová and played some brilliant tennis. She is a great mover around the court and hugs the baseline well, taking balls early and rushing opponents. Her best level is good enough to make a deep run here in Lyon and the indoor hard courts should lend themselves nicely to her ability to take the ball early. Han is in good form coming in to this match, but Gilbert is the better player with the higher ceiling. I think the Spaniard takes this comfortably.
Prediction: Badosa Gilbert in 2
Caroline Garcia vs Oceane Dodin
head-to-head: Garcia 1-0 Dodin
This match features two big what ifs in the world of women’s tennis. Garcia and Dodin were both considered rising stars in the women’s game in recent years. Both have now fallen from those lofty heights, although Garcia did feature inside the top five in the world before doing so. After a dismal patch from mid-2019 to mid-2020, Garcia is showing signs of having found her feet again. A first round loss in Adelaide last week was a little bit of a setback, but the French star played good tennis to finish 2020. There are signs that she is rediscovering confidence in her game. She has shown that, at her best, she is among the best in the world. If she does indeed find that form then the tour better watch out.
Hoping to put a stop to Garcia before she builds up momentum is another French woman in Oceane Dodin. Dodin is an incredibly clean striker of the ball and generates effortless power from both wings. Her forehand is particularly fierce when it is on. Dodin was once a rising star on the tour years ago before suffering injury setbacks that somewhat derailed her career.
She has shown signs of that old ability on occasion in recent months and will be hoping a good showing here leads to more opportunities on the WTA Tour. If Dodin is striking the ball cleanly she may well cause Garcia problems here. Equally, if Garcia finds something close to her best she shouldn’t have much difficulty coming away with the win. In truth it’s hard to guess which is more likely given the mercurial nature of these two. I think Garcia has been more consistent recently however, so she should have enough here.
Prediction: Garcia in 3
Main Photo from Getty.