The final round of qualifying dominates the schedule on day one at the WTA Stuttgart Open, but main draw action will get underway with two intriguing matches in Germany’s motor city. As always, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for both matches. But who will book their place in the second round?
WTA Stuttgart Day 1 Predictions
Zhang Shuai vs Ekaterina Alexandrova
Head-to-head: Zhang 1-1 Alexandrova
Neither player comes into this match in particularly sparkling form. Ekaterina Alexandrova has had an especially poor season by her recent high standards, winning just eight of her first 15 matches, but she enjoyed a welcome return to form last-time out, reaching the semifinals at the WTA Charleston Open, though she was well-beaten there by eventual champion Belinda Bencic. Still, it was an encouraging week for the Russian ahead of the European clay-court swing.
Zhang Shuai boasts a more impressive record, having gone 12-9 so far in 2022 and won the title at the WTA Lyon Open. She also reached the third round in Miami, but was beaten in the second round in Charleston by American young gun Claire Liu. That defeat might just be a sign of things to come for Zhang. She is not at her best on the clay, despite some good results on the surface including a run to the fourth round at Roland Garros in 2020, and Alexandrova may be well placed to capitalise on that.
Prediction: Alexandrova in 3
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Ludmilla Samsonova vs Chloe Paquet
Head-to-head: Samsonova 2-1 Paquet
Ludmilla Samsonova will be the favourite heading into this match, but the Russian may have her work cut out for her. Chloe Paquet has been in solid form of late. She reached the semifinals at an ITF-event in Croissy-Beaubourg and, although she then lost in the first round in Oeiras, she looked sharp in beating Ellen Perez and Stefanie Voegele to come through the qualifying at the WTA Stuttgart Open. She has also beaten Samsonova before, getting the better of the Russian in Bagnatica in 2018.
Samsonova has won their other two matches, however, including their most recent. Equally, she is in indifferent form. Besides reaching the third round in Indian Wells, there has been precious little for the Russian to celebrate of late. Rather, she has suffered a concerning number of early exits. Still, this looks like a winnable match for a player of her ability. Paquet may prove a tough nut to crack, but Samsonova should have just about enough to get across the line.
Prediction: Samsonova in 3
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