The second edition of the WTA Abierto Zapopan tournament kicks off on March 8, 2021 in Guadalajara, Mexico. Thirty-two players will compete for their share of this WTA 250 prize money. Top seed Nadia Podoroska will be on the hunt for her first title. Canada’s rising star Leylah Fernandez and resurgent Eugenie Bouchard stand ready to thwart Podoroska’s title attempt. Coco Vandeweghe will be looking to make a splash playing in her first tournament since March 2020. We also predict Monday’s other four matches.
We’ll be predicting all eight opening day matches at the WTA Abierto Zapopan 2021.
WTA Abierto Zapopan Day 1 Predictions
Coco Vandeweghe vs Mihaela Buzarnescu
Head to head: First meeting
Coco Vandeweghe will begin her campaign against the crafty Mihaela Buzarnescu. No doubt, Vandeweghe is going to find her game rusty, to say the least. The American will be playing her first tournament since March 2020. The hard hitting Vandeweghe has been known to hit a hot streak, blowing her opponent off the court with a lethal combination of precision and power. Yet, with a year off of tournament action, it seems unlikely. Buzarnescu’s spin, deft slice and unpredictable balls should frustrate Coco, making her singles start to 2021 short-lived.
As a side note, Vandeweghe’s comeback success will most likely come from doubles. Partnering with Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard, the two veterans make a formidable doubles teams. Their solid experience should take them to the semifinals in Mexico.
Prediction: Buzarnescu in 3
Astra Sharma vs Harriet Dart
Head to head: Sharma 1-0 Dart
Qualifiers Astra Sharma and Harriet Dart meet again. In the final round of qualifying, Sharma defeated Dart 6-3, 6-2. This opener will be a repeat of their Sunday match. And, this time playing for a second round berth. Certainly, Dart will remember Sunday’s mistakes and will hope to craft a strategy to better her outcome. While the Brit is a solid player, she hasn’t yet accumulated the weapons in Sharma’s arsenal. And, her second bite at the apple won’t taste much different than the first.
Prediction: Sharma in 2
Nao Hibino vs Anna Karolina Schmiedlova
Head to head: Hibino 0-1 Schmiedlova
With her textbook perfect groundstrokes, Nao Hibino will attempt to move to the second round with a win against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova. The Japanese is seeded fifth in Guadalajara, and will look to improve her 1-2 record. Having played only two tournaments this year, Hibino will need some time to find her rhythm.
Schmidelova is an intelligent player, capable of creating a winning strategy. Former World #26 Schmiedlova hasn’t found the success since a knee injury which kept her out of most of 2019. Certainly, the pandemic didn’t help her comeback campaign. And, the Slovak’s start to 2021 has been inconsequential. Yet, it’s within Schmiedlova’s power to start a strong campaign in Mexico, as she breaks down the Hibino game with another win over the fifth seed.
Prediction: Schmiedlova in 3
Irina Bara vs Marie Bouzkova
Head to head: First meeting
Despite Marie Bouzkova’s poor showing at the Australian Open, her visit Down Under was anything but disappointing. An exception run at the Phillip Island Trophy saw this tournament’s second seed reach the finals. While Daria Kasatkina was able to claim the title in a decider, the Czech made quite a statement en route, defeating the likes of Jil Teichmann and Bianca Andreescu.
Irina Bara is coming off disappointing performances. A loss in the opening round of qualifiers at the Australian Open and a first round loss at the Lyon Open indicates that Bara’s form needs improvement. The Romanian has remained outside the Top 100. Against an in-form Bouzkova, don’t expect that ranking to improve.
Prediction: Bouzkova in 2
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