Play begins at the WTA Mutua Madrid Open in its unusual mid-week slot, and hopefully the pouring rain that greeted the footballers on Tuesday will not be dished out to the far more important tennis players over the next week and a half of play. The draw is stacked for this tournament and the exciting matches start right on Day 1.
We preview and predict four matches in this article. We also have the rest of the Day’s matches split between three other articles. One features Ash Barty vs Shelby Rogers, the second highlights Garbine Muguruza vs Sloane Stephens, and the third features Kiki Bertens vs Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva.
WTA Madrid Day One Predictions
Petra Martic vs Bernarda Pera
Head-to-head: 2-1 Martic
Neither player is in particularly good form this year and this could be a long three-setter. The American has already endured two such matches in qualifying, but importantly, has emerged victorious. This could be the confidence boost that Pera has needed and may fire her on to victory here against a higher-ranked opponent. This does represent a good chance also for Martic to find some of her old form but on recent evidence it’s a tough one to call. I will go with Pera to edge it in the third.
Prediction: Pera in 3
Angelique Kerber vs Marketa Vondrousova
Head-to-head: First meeting
This one feels like a meeting of two generations. Kerber is a Grand Slam champion of course, but it is the young Czech that has the more recent big match experience having reached the French Open final in 2019. The youngster also has the advantages of a far superior clay court record, a higher ranking and a good record against left-handers so it is fairly easy to side with Vondrousova in this match.
Prediction: Vondrousova in 2
Petra Kvitova vs Marie Bouzkova
Head-to-head: 1-0 Bouzkova
An all Czech encounter here and Kvitova will surely be out to assert herself over her younger compatriot after falling to a surprise defeat in “Cincinnati” last year. Bouzkova has been an improving player but mainly shows her best work on the hard courts, she has a losing record on clay over the last two years. Kvitova is playing with confidence following her recent title win and she will begin to feel more secure on the clay now also having played in Stuttgart last week.
Prediction: Kvitova in 2
Alison Riske vs Iga Swiatek
Head-to-head: First meeting
It will be nice to see Alison Riske back on the court again for the first time since the Australian Open. The American had probably her best season in 2020 but has suffered with form and injury problems more recently. This will be a tough task to return to as well, meeting the Roland Garros champion on a clay court. Swiatek herself has been playing quite infrequently this season and this will be her first clay-court match on tour since that incredible run to glory in Paris in September. Given the unknowns around Riske’s injury and the undoubted class of the Pole on this surface, it would be wise to side with Swiatek.
Prediction: Swiatek in 2
Main Photo from Getty.