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WTA Palermo Day 1 Predictions Including Zheng Qinwen vs Ludmilla Samsonova

Ludmilla Samsonova in action ahead of the WTA Palermo Open.

With a field stocked with plenty of talent, there should be no shortage of entertaining tennis over the next week at the WTA Palermo Open. On day one, there are eight first-round matches on the schedule and, as always, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for every match, including Marina Bassols Ribera vs Jil Teichmann. But who will book their place in the second round?

WTA Palermo Day 1 Predictions

Nuria Brancaccio vs Jaqueline Cristian

Head-to-head: first meeting

This is a huge opportunity for (at the time of publication) world #451 Nuria Brancaccio. But the Italian has been in fine form of late. In the first week of June, she reached the final at an ITF-25k event in Grado, where she fell just short against the higher-ranked Nuria Parrizas Dias, and she backed that up by coming through the qualifying to reach the third round at another ITF event in Wroclaw two weeks ago. She was, however, well-beaten in the first round in Turin last week.

Jaqueline Cristian, meanwhile, has been in largely indifferent form. But the Romanian did snap a three-match losing streak to successfully come through the qualifying in Budapest, only to lose in the first round to Ivana Jorovic. Still, she played well enough even in that match to suggest that she can beat Brancaccio. The Italian remains extremely inexperienced at this level and, if Cristian is hardly a tour-level regular herself, she currently has a more complete game.

Prediction: Cristian in 3
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Lara Arruabarrena vs Grace Min

Head-to-head: first meeting

It has been six years since Grace Min achieved her career-high ranking of world #97 with the American’s tour-level appearances having been few and far between of late. But she played some solid tennis last time out in Prague, reaching the quarterfinals with wins over Samantha Stosur and seventh seed Nina Stojanovic, both in three sets, before losing to Wang Xiyu. That said, she will now need to readjust to the clay having played on hard courts in Prague.

That may prove to be easier said than done, particularly against an opponent of Lara Arruabarrena’s quality. The Spaniard has rather lost her way since coming through the qualifying at the French Open, winning just one of the five matches she has played since Paris. But this looks like a good opportunity to get back to winning ways against an opponent who does not share her affinity for clay-court tennis. This may go the distance, but expect Arruabarrena to be the player to reach the second round.

Prediction: Arruabarrena in 3
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Vitalia Diatchenko vs Julia Grabher

Head-to-head: first meeting

Vitalia Diatchenko played some good tennis to come through the qualifying at Wimbledon, but the Russian lost in straight sets to the teenage sensation Emma Raducanu in the first round. She followed that with a narrow loss in the first round in Prague. The Russian will now look to turn things around at the WTA Palermo Open, but will have to contend with the challenge presented by playing on three surfaces in as many tournaments.

Julia Graber does at least have some clay-court matches under her belt having beaten Amarissa Kiara Toth and Jamie Loeb to come through the qualifying in Budapest last week. She lost to Bernarda Pera in the first round despite winning the first set, but it was a solid outing for the Austrian all the same, and in a match that otherwise looks close on paper, that time spent playing on the clay could well give her a crucial advantage.

Prediction: Grabher in 3
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Zheng Qinwen vs Ludmilla Samsonova

Head-to-head: first meeting

It was a grass-court season to remember for Ludmilla Samsonova with the Russian winning her first tour-level title in Berlin before reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon, upsetting 22nd seed Jessica Pegula and former-US Open champion Sloane Stephens along the way. However, she is less comfortable on the clay. She won just a handful of matches on it earlier in the season and now faces what looks like being a tough test up against the qualifier Zheng Qinwen.

The 18-year-old may not have much experience, but she has found a rich vein of form of late. The Chinese won an ITF title in Stare Splavy before reaching back-to-back semifinals in Montpellier and Contrexeville. She then thrashed Louisa Chirico and Melania Delai to reach the main draw at the WTA Palermo Open. This will be a step up in the quality of opposition, but it is one that Zheng looks to be in good position to make.

Prediction: Zheng in 3

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