The WTA Tour returns to Madrid for its first 1000 level clay-court tournament of the season. Wet conditions are expected throughout the 10-day duration of the event, but that should not slow down the high-level tennis we see. Day 1 in Madrid features some heavy-hitting matchups including #2 seed Paula Badosa vs Veronika Kudermetova. We at LWOT have the prediction for that match as well as all other action around the grounds–split between three articles. One features Belinda Bencic vs Irina-Camelia Begu, the second headlines Amanda Anisimova vs Aryna Sabalenka, and the third features Karolina Pliskova vs Marie Bouzkova. Who do you think will win?
WTA Mutua Madrid Open Day 1 Predictions
Ons Jabeur vs Jasmine Paolini
Head-to-Head: First meeting
#8 seed Ons Jabeur is looking to continue her fine form on the clay having reached the final in Charleston and the quarterfinal in Stuttgart over the past month. Her opponent is Italian Jasmine Paolini. Paolini has not seen the same success as her opponent in 2022, having struggled to string together back-to-back match wins all season. This will be the first career meeting between the two. Ons Jabeur is the better and more in-form player. She favors the clay-court season, holding a career 67.7% tour-level winning percentage on the surface. She should cruise here.
Prediction: Jabeur in 2
Shelby Rogers vs Yulia Putintseva
Head-to-Head: First meeting
Shelby Rogers and Yulia Putintseva are separated by just four spots in the WTA live rankings as both women are looking to rally into form here in Madrid. The American Rogers holds just a 6-9 record on the season, and is 0-1 on clay. Yulia Putintseva reached the semifinals in Istanbul a week ago and should be feeling confident about her game here on the clay in Madrid. Putintseva has always shown to be a strong clay-court player and should give Rogers all she can handle in this Round 1 matchup. Shelby Rogers certainly will battle, but in the end, I have to favor the more in-form player.
Prediction: Putintseva in 3
Greet Minnen vs Dayana Yastremska
Head-to-Head: Minnen 1-0 Yastremska
Greet Minnen has seen success on the ITF Tour this season but is 0-5 in her main draw, tour-level appearances. She received a Lucky Loser spot in this draw after losing to Anna Bondar in the second round of qualifying. Dayana Yastremska won her two qualifying matches to reach the main draw. She reached a final earlier this year in Lyon and has strung together some solid weeks of tennis. The 21-year-old has proven that she can play Top 30 tennis in the world and I believe is heading back towards that form. Combine that with the fact Greet Minnen has won just one career main draw tour-level match on clay, and Dayana Yastremska is the pick here.
Prediction: Yastremska in 2
Paula Badosa vs Veronika Kudermetova
Head-to-Head: Kudermetova 3-1 Badosa
In what is arguably the Round 1 matchup with the most firepower, #2 seed Paula Badosa takes on Veronika Kudermetova for the fifth time. Badosa is looking to back up her semifinal run here in Madrid in 2021. She comes into this tournament in very fine form having reached two quarterfinals and two semifinals in her last four events. Veronika Kudermetova started off her clay season in style, reaching the final last week in Istanbul. She is playing the best tennis of her career and is currently ninth in the singles race. Both Badosa and Kudermetova favor clay as their favorite surface. Kudermetova won their only meeting on clay, 6-3 6-3 in Charleston last season. Unlike that match, I see this one being a three-set battle. I slightly favor Badosa, who will have the home crowd on her side.
Prediction: Badosa in 3
Main Photo from Getty.