It’s Day 1 of the Abierto Akron Zapopan in Guadalajara, the first of back-to-back WTA 250 level tournaments played in Mexico. An open draw presents chances to many different players in the draw this week, it will be interesting to see who steps up and makes the most of the opportunity. One of the most intriguing matchups on day 1 sees the sixth seeded Sloane Stephens take on 14-year-old qualifier Brenda Fruhvirtova. We also predict the day’s four other matches in a separate article.
WTA Guadalajara Day 1 Predictions
Nuria Parrizas Diaz vs Anna Karolina Schmiedlova
H2H: First meeting.
Nuria Parrizas-Diaz is currently at a career high ranking of #47. The Spaniard is definitely the weakest player in the top 50 and doesn’t really have the game to back up her ranking. The 30-year-old was lucky at the Australian Open; she drew Irina Bara, then received a walkover to reach the third round of a Major for the first time. Schmiedlova has had little luck in recent times but is still a good player with the ability to rise up the rankings. I’ll side with Schmiedlova here, she has more to her game and should enjoy the conditions in Guadalajara.
Prediction: Schmiedlova in 3
Caty McNally vs Lucia Bronzetti
H2H: First meeting.
Caty McNally is struggling to make her mark on the WTA Tour. The American is having success at the ITF level and at the qualifying stages of WTA events, but main draw wins are a rarity. This looks like a good opportunity for the 20-year-old to get a win at this level. Bronzetti’s hard court form is streaky, she’s successfully qualified for the main draw this week so she’s seemingly playing some decent tennis. This one could go either way, I’m not convinced by McNally at this level, Bronzetti makes live tough for her opponents and will probably be favoured by the slower conditions in this matchup.
Prediction: Bronzetti in 3
Misaki Doi vs Marie Bouzkova
H2H: Doi 1-0
Doi defeated Bouzkova 6-3 6-7 6-3 in the only previous meeting between the pair on the hard courts of Chicago last year. Expect another similarly close contest on this occasion. Doi might seem like the logical choice here, the Japanese player has generally displayed better form over the last 6 months and won their previous meeting. However, Bouzkova is probably more likely to win in this matchup more often than not, especially on a slower hard court. Bouzkova’s movement and consistent style probably prevails on this occasion.
Prediction: Bouzkova in 3
Sloane Stephens vs Brenda Fruhvirtova
Sloane Stephens is notoriously vulnerable when she’s rusty, especially at lower level events where her effort is often questionable. That’s the scenario we’ve got here. Stephens has only played one match in 2022, a opening round loss to Emma Raducanu at the Australian Open. The former US Open champion hasn’t won a match since Indian Wells in last year. There were generally better signs for Stephens in the latter half of last season, signs that she is capable of climbing back up the rankings with her unquestionable talent.
Brenda Fruhvirtova will become the first player born in 2007 to make her debut in a WTA main draw. The 14-year-old Czech progressed through the qualifying draw in Guadalajara with wins over Sara Errani (7-6 3-6 6-2) and Leonie Kung (6-2 6-1). Fruhvirtova won back-to-back ITF titles in Argentina on clay earlier this year, clearly, she’s very advanced for her age.
There’s no excuses for Stephens here. There’s no doubt that she should be winning this match. However, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her throw in a lame effort. I’ll give Stephens the benefit of the doubt, surely she will win.
Prediction: Stephens in 3
Main Photo from Getty.