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WTA Qatar Day 1 Predictions Including Belinda Bencic vs Clara Tauson

Aliaksandra Sasnovich in action ahead of the WTA Qatar Open.

With 12 first-round matches on the schedule on day one at the WTA Qatar Open, there should be plenty of entertaining tennis for the fans to enjoy. As always, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for every match on the schedule, including Yulia Putintseva vs Victoria Azarenka and Sofia Kenin vs Ann Li. But who will book their place in the second round?

WTA Qatar Day 1 Predictions

Belinda Bencic vs Clara Tauson

Head-to-head: first meeting

Belinda Bencic has enjoyed a solid enough start to the season, reaching quarterfinals in Sydney and St Petersburg, but she will surely be disappointed to have crashed out in the second round at the Australian Open at the hands of Amanda Anisimova. Clara Tauson put together a better run at Melbourne Park, beating Astra Sharma and sixth seed Anett Kontaveit, but she fell just short against eventual finalist Danielle Collins in the third round.

She wasn’t able to back that effort up in Dubai, losing to Dayana Yastremska in the second round of qualifying. That rather points to the depth of talent in the women’s game right now, as does this match. Bencic must be accounted the favourite thanks to her vastly greater experience, but the 19-year-old Tauson has the quality to win this match if she plays her best tennis. Still, Bencic has a more well-rounded game and more options to hurt opponents as a result. Expect her to have enough here.

Prediction: Bencic in 3
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Marta Kostyuk vs Ana Konjuh

Head-to-head: Kostyuk 1-0 Konjuh

Ana Konjuh deserves great credit for the manner in which she has rebuilt her career after a succession of injuries. The Croatian has made a fine start to this season, reaching the quarterfinals at the first of the Melbourne Summer Series events and at the second WTA Adelaide International. She wasn’t able to back that up at the Australian Open, losing to eventual finalist Collins in the second round, but there is no shame in that defeat. She has been out of action for the last month, however.

Rust might be an issue as a result against a player who should be match-sharp in Marta Kostyuk. The Ukrainian impressed in reaching the third round at the Australian Open and has backed that up by qualifying first in Dubai and now at the WTA Qatar Open. Kostyuk also won this pair’s only previous meeting, which came in the quarterfinals last season in Istanbul. That was a close contest, and this may well be too, but expect the same outcome.

Prediction: Kostyuk in 3
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Vera Zvonareva vs Alison Van Uytvanck

Head-to-head: Van Uytvanck 2-0 Zvonareva

There are few players on the WTA Tour more experienced than Vera Zvonareva. The Russian, twice a Grand Slam finalist, may no longer be the force she once was and is currently ranked just outside the top 100, but she should not be underestimated. The technical base of her game remains very solid and she is a fine competitor. This has been a problem match-up for her however, with Alison Van Uytvanck having won both their previous matches without dropping a set.

That includes a 6-1 6-4 hammering last season in Limoges, which does not inspire much confidence in Zvonareva’s chances here. The quick conditions at the WTA Qatar Open should also suit the Belgian better than her opponent. Van Uytvanck’s approach, namely taking big cuts at the ball, is high-risk, but it is also high-reward, particularly on faster surfaces. It may not be quite as one-sided as their last meeting, but expect a reasonably comfortable day at the office for Van Uytvanck.

Prediction: Van Uytvanck in 2
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Zhang Shuai vs Aliaksandra Sasnovich

Head-to-head: Zhang 2-1 Sasnovich

This has the makings of a close match. Zhang Shuai looked very sharp in coming through the qualifying, scoring dominant wins over Dianne Parry and Marina Melnikova – she lost just four games across both matches – but she has not had a particularly consistent 2022 so far. She lost her first two matches of the season in Melbourne and Sydney, before a surprise run to the third round at the Australian Open. But that was followed by further first-round defeats in St Petersburg and Dubai.

Aliaksandra Sasnovich lost narrowly in the first round at the Australian Open, falling in a deciding tiebreak to Zheng Qinwen, but she has bounced back from that disappointment impressively, reaching the quarterfinals last-time out in St Petersburg before beating Ana Bogdan and Kirsten Flipkens, both in straight sets, to come through the qualifying in Qatar. She has lost two out of her three meetings with Zhang, but the most recent came in 2017 and right now she looks to be playing the better tennis.

Prediction: Sasnovich in 3

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