In the last tournament leading up the French Open, the players will be looking to gain some form and momentum at the WTA Serbia Open in Belgrade. Here’s a look at five exciting matches and our picks for who’ll be moving through to the second round – and heightening their hopes for Roland Garros. We also have predictions for the rest of the matches in Belgrade on Monday in Kaja Juvan’s match.
WTA Serbia Open Day 2 Predictions
Danka Kovinic vs Cristina Busca
Head to head: First meeting
A mainstay on the ITF circuit, Cristina Busca reached the main draw through qualifiers. The Spaniard sits at World #164. This will be a tall task for Busca, coming up against the eighth seed Danka Kovinic.
The Montenegrin plays well on clay, as evidenced by her run to the final at the Volvo Car Open in Charleston. She also reached the semifinals at the MUSC Health Women’s Open. The first round should build Kovinic’s confidence. Expect a deep run for Kovinic.
Prediction: Kovinic in 2
Aliaksandra Sasnovich vs Wang Xiyu
Head to head: First meeting
Certainly Wang Xiyu got a good look at Aliaksandra Sasnovich’s game at the L’Open 35 de Saint-Malo. The Chinese partnered with Arantxa Rus in doubles, for a quarterfinal clash with Sasnovich. While Sasnovich lost in the semifinals, she had a commanding win over Wang. Perhaps there were some lessons learned there, and Wang may fare better? Yet, it’s doubtful and Sasnovich should quickly run away with this one.
Prediction: Sasnovich in 2
Reka Luca Jani vs Tereza Martincova
Head to head: First meeeting
Reka Jani spends most of her time on the ITF circuit. Undoubtedly an accomplished clay courter, the Hungarian has won all but two of her ITF titles on this surface. Yet, Jani should find herself out classed in this meet up.
Martincova is certainly lacking form. The Czech has lost her last three matches on clay, including failing to qualify in Rome. However, even out of form, Martincova will be looking to break her losing streak and this is a great place to start.
Prediction: Martinova in 2
Alison Van Uytvanck vs Ana Konjuh
Head to head: Van Uytvanck 0-1 Konjuh
A ranking of #193 is very deceiving. Ana Konjuh reached the Top 20 in 2017, before a lengthy absence from the game. The Croatian is a solid clay courter. In fact, in her first clay court tournament since September, Konjuh reached the quarterfinals in Istanbul, before falling in a tight three set clash with Marta Kostyuk. All the weapons are there for this savvy clay courter.
Alison Van Uytvanck has struggled after a return from a three-month hiatus. She failed to reach the main draw in Madrid, and lost her first round in France. A lack of form, no doubt. Van Uytvanck is a solid baseliner, but won’t have the wherewithal to outlast Konjuh in a baseline rally.
Prediction: Konjuh in 2
Leylah Fernandez vs Polona Hercog
Head to head: Fernandez 1-0 Hercog
Polona Hercog’s clay court season hasn’t gone as well as she’d wished. After fighting through qualifying rounds in Madrid and Rome, the Slovenian dropped the main draw opener at each event. Hercog seems to struggle against higher ranked opponents, making her Belgrade opening round against Leylah Fernandez all the more appealing. The young Canadian is certainly going to find ways into the Hercog game. And, if they were playing on hard courts, I’d expect a different outcome. In the end, the veteran should stave off the teen threat.
Prediction: Hercog in 3
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