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WTA Ostrava Day 1 Predictions Including Paula Badosa vs Varvara Gracheva

Oceane Dodin in action ahead of the WTA Ostrava Open.

There should be plenty of entertaining action on day one at the WTA Ostrava Open. Although most of the big guns won’t enter the fray until later in the week, there are five intriguing first-round matches on the slate and, as always, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for all of them. But who will book their place in the second round?

WTA Ostrava Day 1 Predictions

Anastasia Zakharova vs Sara Sorribes Tormo

Head-to-head: first meeting

Sara Sorribes Tormo has had a largely impressive year, with the Spaniard scoring some big wins including over Ashleigh Barty at the Tokyo Olympics. But she arrives at the WTA Ostrava Open having mustered just two games in her last match; a 0-6 2-6 defeat at the hands of Emma Raducanu in the second round at the US Open. If that defeat looks more understandable in the wake of the 18-year-old winning the title, Sorribes Tormo will doubtless still be disappointed by her performance.

This should be a good chance for her to get back to winning ways, however. Anastasia Zakharova played well to come through the qualifying with wins over Rebecca Peterson and Astra Sharma, but Sorribes Tormo represents a step up in the quality of opposition. The Spaniard excels at making herself an awkward opponent to play against and although there are players who can hit her off the court, Zakharova is surely not one of them.

Prediction: Sorribes Tormo in 2
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Paula Badosa vs Varvara Gracheva

Head-to-head: Gracheva 2-1 Badosa

When this pair met last month in the second round at the US Open, Varvara Gracheva emerged a fairly comfortable 6-4 6-4 victory. That was something of a surprise as Paula Badosa was seeded 24th in New York and came into the final Major of the year in good form, although far from a total shock. Gracheva did beat her there in the first round in straight sets in 2020 after all. But it is a testament to the strides that Badosa has made this season that it is still hard to write her chances off heading into this match.

Most of her successes have come on the clay, including a breakthrough run to the semifinals in Madrid and a quarterfinal showing at the French Open, but she has also played some good tennis on faster surfaces, reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon and the quarterfinals in Cincinnati. Still, Gracheva does seem to have her number in these sorts of conditions and, only in the draw as a lucky loser, should be able to play freely.

Prediction: Gracheva in 3
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Caroline Garcia vs Anastasia Potapova

Head-to-head: Garcia 1-0 Potapova

Anastasia Potapova has played some very good tennis this season, but only really in brief flashes. There have also been too many first round exits, including a run of three straight that she carries into this match. She did snap her losing streak, however, with wins over Stefanie Voegele and Ekaterina Alexandrova (via retirement) to reach the main draw at the WTA Ostrava Open. And, perhaps fortunately, she has been rewarded with a first-round match against one of the tour’s most mercurial players.

There is no doubting Caroline Garcia’s talent, but the Frenchwoman has been unable to string it together consistently for some time. That being said, she is in the typically happy habit of finishing the season well and there have been some encouraging signs in recent weeks. A return to the lofty heights she once occupied seems unlikely, but Garcia could do some damage over the coming weeks – even if she will not be playing in Asia – and should have too much for Potapova.

Prediction: Garcia in 3
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Sorana Cirstea vs Anett Kontaveit

Head-to-head: Kontaveit 4-0 Cirstea

Anett Kontaveit has struggled for consistency at times this season, but she has also enjoyed some excellent weeks, not least in Cleveland where she won her second career title. The Estonian was ultimately unable to back that up on the biggest stage, reaching the third round at the US Open but losing there in three sets to Iga Swiatek despite putting in a spirited performance. She should be able to get back to winning ways here. She has beaten Sorana Cirstea in all four of their previous meetings and comes into their fifth playing the better tennis.

Prediction: Kontaveit in 2
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Oceane Dodin vs Magda Linette

Head-to-head: Linette 1-0 Dodin

Over the past few years, it has, at times, been easy to forget that Oceane Dodin has been ranked as high as world #46, but the Frenchwoman has had a good 2021. She has got her ranking back down into double-digits and started the week with a solid, if not spectacular, 26-24 record for the year on the WTA Tour. Dodin then looked sharp in beating Anna-Lena Friedsam and Varvara Gracheva to come through the qualifying.

However, she will likely need to be at her best if she is to get past Magda Linette. The Pole also had to come through the qualifying, but dismissed both of her opponents – Rutuja Bhosale and Katarzyna Kawa – for the loss of only a handful of games. She also beat Dodin in their only previous meeting, albeit four years ago and on a different surface. Still, if she maintains the level of tennis she has shown so far, she should have just about enough to make it two wins from two against Dodin.

Prediction: Linette in 3

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