WTA Kremlin Cup Day 1 Predictions Including Dayana Yastremska vs Anna Kalinskaya

The WTA tour is moving on from the American hard court swing following the conclusion of Indian Wells. ‘Tennis Paradise’ may be over and done with, but there are still great players in great tournaments with lots to play for before the year ends. Several of those players are featured here at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. Reigning champion Belinda Bencic is out with a knee injury. However, the likes of Aryna Sabalenka and Maria Sakkari are waiting in the wings to grab the trophy for themselves. As ever, we take a look at who should move a step closer to doing exactly that in our WTA Kremlin Cup day 1 predictions.

WTA Kremlin Cup Day 1 Predictions

Aleksandra Krunic vs Bernarda Pera

Head-to-head: 1 – 0 Pera

Both Pera and Krunic won their qualifying matches in straight sets. That means the pair should be acclimatised to the conditions in Moscow, and will hit the ground running in this match. Pera is the better player on paper, but has had a poor 2021 campaign and is in danger of slipping outside the top 100 for the first time since 2017. Conversely, Krunic hasn’t been inside the top 100 at year end since 2018. The Serbian has struggled to find the form that saw her charge up the WTA rankings. Pera has more weapons here and should be the favourite given both have had a few matches on these courts. It could be tight, but I suspect the American will emerge victorious here.

Prediction: Pera in 2
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Liudmila Samsonova vs Ajla Tomljanovic

Head-to-head: First meeting

I like Samsonova for the win here. The Russian is having a career year that has seen her move well inside the top 100 in the women’s game and lift her first WTA title. Tomljanovic performed incredibly well at Wimbledon earlier this year but has very few other significant results to speak of either side of that tournament. At her best the Aussie is a handful. She moves well and has power off both wings as well as a decent serve. However, Samsonova is equally capable and slightly better in almost every area. She is also playing in her home country which should add to her confidence. The Russian should move on here.

Prediction: Samsonova in 3
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Qinwen Zheng vs Lesia Tsurenko

Head-to-head: First meeting

This is a tough match to call. Zheng is relatively unknown on the WTA tour whereas Tsurenko is an established veteran with some great results to her name over the course of her career. Nonetheless, the Chinese teenager has taken the ITF circuit by storm in the last 12 months, claiming six titles in that timeframe. She certainly looks like a future star of the game and tournaments like this will give us a good indication of whether she is ready to step up to the big leagues. Tsurenko is moving into the twilight of her career and has done little of note in months. She was a fine player in her day, but she will likely have to move aside for new, exciting young talent here.

Prediction: Zheng in 2
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Daria Kasatkina vs Anhelina Kalinina

Head-to-head: 1 – 0 Kasatkina

Kasatkina should win this comfortably enough. She is playing at home in a tournament she enjoys and is in stellar form. The Russian won this trophy in 2018 and will have fond memories of the Kremlin Cup as she looks to replicate that result. Kalinina is a capable player but has never found the level needed to get a foothold on the main tour. Her current career-high ranking is more a reflection of four titles on the ITF circuit this year than her performances on the WTA tour. She can be a handful on her day, but Kasatkina has the weapons and tennis smarts to navigate this match easily enough.

Prediction: Kasatkina in 2
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Dayana Yastremska vs Anna Kalinskaya

Head-to-head: 1 – 0 Yastremska

Rising star Dayana Yastremska continues her efforts to reignite her spark after months away from the game due to a failed drug test. The Ukrainian is yet to find the form that saw her knocking on the door of the top 20 but is slowly finding her footing again. She has more power off the ground than most on the WTA tour and certainly isn’t afraid to go for her shots. She will need to learn to play with more margin and maturity if she is to become a truly elite player on the tour. Still, she has more than enough in her locker to push past Kalinskaya in this match.

Prediction: Yastremska in 2
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