WTA Melbourne 1 Day 2 Predictions Including Destinee Aiava vs Simona Halep

Katerina Siniakova in action ahead of the WTA Melbourne Summer Set.
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The tennis season is well-underway again with action across Australia ahead of the forthcoming Australian Open, which starts in under two weeks. But tennis is already gracing the courts at Melbourne Park, with three tournaments taking place across the complex this week, including two WTA Melbourne Summer Set events. As always, we here at LWOT are offering our predictions for every match, including Veronika Kudermetova vs Viktoria Kuzmova. But who will advance?

WTA Melbourne 1 Day 2 Predictions

Zhang Shuai vs Clara Burel

Head-to-head: Zhang 2-0 Burel

Clara Burel clearly has a bright future and the Frenchwoman will no doubt be desperate to start making her mark this season after a solid, but not spectacular 2021. She did struggle with fitness at times and had to retire with an injury in the quarterfinals when she last took to the court in the second week of December at a WTA 125 event in Angers, but she should be match sharp once again ahead of this encounter. She has, however, lost in both of her previous meetings with Zhang Shuai.

The Chinese is not the force she once was and has slipped from a career-high ranking of world #23 in November 2016 to her current position of 60th in the WTA rankings. But she is an experienced campaigner, one who has clearly enjoyed this matchup. That said, there wasn’t a great deal between them when they met and both of those matches came in 2020. With another year of experience under her belt, Burel might just be able to avenge those defeats here.

Prediction: Burel in 3
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Zheng Saisai vs Zheng Qinwen

Head-to-head: first meeting

Youth take on experience in this meeting. Zheng Saisai has enjoyed more success on the doubles court than she has in singles over the course of her career, but she has been ranked as high as world #34 and has been a consistent presence on the main tour over the last few years in both disciplines. One suspects that her compatriot Zheng Qinwen would sign for such a career if it was offered to her and with Zheng Saisai still just 27, there is scope for further improvement.

Zheng Qinwen has been making impressive strides of her own however and last month achieved a career-high ranking of world #125. She has dropped one place in the rankings since then, but still looks well-placed for an assault on the top 100 in the first half of this season. She certainly looked sharp in coming through the qualifying, beating Jule Niemeier and Bernarda Pera, and the match sharpness she gained through winning those matches might just prove the difference here.

Prediction: Zheng Qinwen in 3
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Destinee Aiava vs Simona Halep

Head-to-head: Halep 1-0 Aiava

Though it was through no fault of her own, 2021 proved to be little short of a disaster for Simona Halep. The former-world #1 struggled badly throughout the season with injuries, ultimately playing just 34 matches in total as she fell out of the top ten for the first-time since 2014. Her first-round opponent at the WTA Melbourne Summer Set, Destanee Aiava, has experienced injury woes of her own and missed the second half of last season.

But she made a winning return to action by beating sixth seed Wang Qiang and 16-year-old Taylah Preston to book her place in the main draw. It is hard to see her getting past Halep, however, if the Romanian plays anything like her best tennis. Aiava did cause Halep some trouble when they met before, also in Melbourne, but Halep ultimately proved too strong that day, recording a 7-6 6-1 win, and she should have the edge once again.

Prediction: Halep in 2
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Anna Bondar vs Katerina Siniakova

Head-to-head: first meeting

Anna Bondar justified her position as second seed in the qualifying, scoring solid straight-sets wins over Switzerland’s Leonie Kung and Mai Hontama of Japan to reach the main draw. Her reward is a shot at the eighth-seeded Katerina Siniakova who, though still very much at her best on the doubles court, is a force to be reckoned with when she is on song in singles as well. The Czech can, however, be rather boom or bust. Bondar is less aggressively minded by nature and she may well struggle to match Siniakova on courts that typically reward first-strike tennis.

Prediction: Siniakova in 2

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