A strong draw featuring multiple top WTA players has been assembled in Sydney as final preparations take place before heading to Melbourne Park for the first Grand Slam of the year. With just one week to go until the main draw begins at the 2022 Australian Open the stakes are getting higher at the Sydney Classic. Day 1 of the Sydney Classic features a fun matchup between Sofia Kenin and Daria Kasatkina, whilst former champion Petra Kvitova begins her campaign, as does local wild card Priscilla Hon. We also predict the rest of the day’s matches in a separate article.
WTA Sydney Day 1 Predictions
Petra Kvitova vs Arantxa Rus
H2H: Kvitova 1-0
Petra Kvitová’s start to the 2022 season wasn’t ideal. The 2-time former Wimbledon champion was beaten by Priscilla Hon in the opening round of the Adelaide International, a rusty performance to say the least. Kvitova gets a shot at redemption in Sydney before heading to Melbourne, Sydney is a venue Kvitova has had great success at having won the title on 2 previous occasions. Kvitova faces a fellow lefty in the form of Arantxa Rus. Rus will be playing her first match of the season but will have little say in the outcome of the result. Kvitova possesses superior firepower in all departments and should be able to overpower Rus quite easily.
Prediction: Kvitova in 2
Priscilla Hon vs Jaqueline Cristian
H2H: Cristian 1-0
Priscilla Hon arrives in Sydney full of confidence after claiming the biggest win of her career in Adelaide last week. Hon came from a set down to defeat Petra Kvitova 6-7 7-5 6-2 before pushing Victoria Azarenka in a tight straight set loss. It was a week that showed Hon that she belongs at this level, it also helped to earn her a wild card into this event and the Australian Open main draw. Cristian began her season in Melbourne where she was beaten by Kaia Kanepi in 3 sets in the opening round. The Romanian will be keen to score at least one victory in Sydney before heading to Melbourne.
Cristian smashed Hon in their only previous meeting, a 6-2 6-0 victory in Lyon in 2020. A very different result is likely on this occasion. The Aussies always receive a boost when the Australian summer comes around and she can draw on the confidence she gained in Adelaide last week. I’ll give the slightest edge to Hon.
Prediction: Hon in 3
Sofia Kenin vs Daria Kasatkina
H2H: Kenin 2-0
Kenin and Kasatkina both made reasonable starts to their 2022 campaigns. Kenin reached the quarterfinals in Adelaide where she succumbed to a red-hot Ash Barty. Whilst Kasatkina made the semi-finals in Melbourne where she was blasted off the court by Amanda Anisimova. Both have work to do before heading to Melbourne Park for the Australian Open.
Kenin prevailed in each of the pair previously completed matches, both on a hard court. A 3-6 6-2 6-2 win at the Miami Open in 2018 was followed by a 6-3 2-6 6-4 win in Dubai of 2019. I’d side with Kenin to maintain her unbeaten record over Kasatkina. Kenin can match the versatility of Kasatkina, both like to change up the play and make their opponents uncomfortable. Critically, Kenin possesses more firepower, Kasatkina’s weak serve will come under fire in this matchup, especially on a hard court.
Prediction: Kenin 3
Main Photo from Getty.