WTA Madrid Day 1 Predictions Including Karolina Pliskova vs Marie Bouzkova

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Main draw action begins on Thursday at the 2022 WTA Mutua Madrid Open. As with all WTA 1000 events, even the first round carries plenty of blockbusters. Simona Halep returns after a leg injury, while Karolina Pliskova is desperately seeking match practice. We also look at the rest of the day’s matches, split between three articles. One features Paula Badosa vs Veronika Kudermetova, the second headlines Amanda Anisimova vs Aryna Sabalenka, and the third features Belinda Bencic vs Irina-Camelia Begu. Who do you think will advance a step further in the tournament?

WTA Madrid Day 1 Predictions

Beatriz Haddad Maia vs Tamara Zidansek

Head-to-head: First meeting

Tamara Zidansek reached the semifinals at Roland Garros last year, but it remains to be seen if the 24-year-old can be even half as successful this year. So far, the Slovenian played just four matches on clay, losing to Julia Grabher at Billie Jean King Cup and Laura Siegemund at Stuttgart. Meanwhile, Beatriz Haddad Maia has managed to establish herself as a WTA Tour regular again following her doping suspension. The Brazilian entered the draw as a lucky loser, having lost to Oceane Dodin in the final qualifying round.  This is a great chance for Zidansek to find some confidence, but Haddad Maia is not to be underestimated.
Prediction: Zidansek in 3

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Simona Halep vs Shuai Zhang

Head-to-head: 2-2

The even head-to-head record might not be telling the full story here as the two have never met on clay. Simona Halep, while coming off a short injury break, is known for her prowess on this surface. The Romanian reached the final here four times and ended up taking the title on two occasions. She’s not a certainty to get to the championship match again (by any means), but has to be looked at as one of the possible contenders. Losing to Shuai Zhang here would be a massive upset.
Prediction: Halep in 2

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Jelena Ostapenko vs Ekaterina Alexandrova

Head-to-head: Alexandrova 3-2

Ekaterina Alexandrova won their only clay-court meeting, via retirement at an ITF event in Olomouc seven years ago. Jelena Ostapenko had a fantastic start to the season with a title at Dubai, but her Sunshine Double ended in a couple of second-round losses, both at the expense of Shelby Rogers. She hasn’t touched the court since, while Alexandrova kept herself busy and already has nine clay matches under her belt. This is an advantage that might tip the scales in her favor, out of the two she’s also the one that benefits more from Madrid’s quicker conditions.
Prediction: Alexandrova in 3

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Karolina Pliskova vs Marie Bouzkova

Head-to-head: Pliskova 1-0

Karolina Pliskova has only played four events this year so far, winning just two matches. That includes defeating Petra Kvitova at Stuttgart last week, a tournament where the Czech seemed to be slowly finding some rhythm. It’s quite baffling that out of the two WTA 1000 clay events she’s historically done better at Rome, because it seems like the faster conditions at Madrid would be to her liking. This matchup is definitely a banana skin – Marie Bouzkova has already won 19 matches in 2022 and qualified for the main draw in great style. Feels like a coin toss, but it mostly depends on the quality of the performance of the more accomplished Czech.
Prediction: Pliskova in 3

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