French Open Day 1 Women’s Predictions Including Kaia Kanepi vs Garbine Muguruza

Dalma Galfi in action ahead of the French Open.
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The French Open starts on Sunday with 20 first-round matches in Paris and, as always, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for every match on the schedule, including Ons Jabeur vs Magda Linette, Kristina Mladenovic vs Leylah Fernandez, Clara Burel vs Maria Sakkari and Bernarda Pera vs Jil Teichmann. But who will secure their spot in the round of 64?

French Open Day 1 Predictions

Sloane Stephens vs Jule Niemeier

Jim: There has been little to celebrate so far this clay-court swing for Sloane Stephens. The former-finalist is still searching for her first win on the terre battue and her confidence must be low. Jule Niemeier, by way of contrast, will surely be full of belief after a dominant run through the qualifying. Expect her to continue her charge at the French Open.

Prediction: Niemeier in 2

Jakub: Trying to predict what Stephens is going to do here is a fool’s errand. To her credit, the 2018 finalist has not lost her opener in Roland Garros since 2011 and has reached the fourth-round in seven out of ten appearances. Stephens is coming into this year’s French Open winless on clay, including to Zheng Qinwen and world #306 Nefisa Berberovic. Niemeier looked dominant in qualifying, losing just seven games in three matches. Those performances make the German the favorite for me.

Prediction: Niemeier in 3
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Kaia Kanepi vs Garbine Muguruza

Jim: Will Kaia Kanepi add another famous first-round upset to her CV? It’s certainly not out of the question with Garbine Muguruza having been in indifferent form of late. Of course, Muguruza has the quality to break out of this slump at any time, but Kanepi is not the sort of opponent one would want to face whilst struggling for form.

Prediction: Kanepi in 3

Jakub: Kanepi is having a pretty good clay season with an 8-3 record and a semifinal run at the Paris 125k. Muguruza is meanwhile surprisingly struggling this year, going 7-8 and 2-3 on clay, including losses to Anhelina Kalinina and Martina Trevisan. It’s tough to know what is going to happen in this match but I will be going with Muguruza as my favourite here.

Prediction: Muguruza in 3
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Belinda Bencic vs Reka Luca Jani

Jim: It is never straightforward to come up against a lucky loser and the jeopardy is probably increased for Belinda Bencic. After all, the Swiss has never been a particularly consistent player. That being said, she is a better player than Reka Luca Jani. If she maintains her composure and plays her best tennis, or at least something close to it, she should win this match.

Prediction: Bencic in 2

Jakub: Bencic looked great in her Charleston title run and though she did not come up with a deep run on red clay, her losses to Ons Jabeur and Amanda Anisimova are nothing to be ashamed of. The Swiss has never gone past the third round here. She should be beating Jani though, who comes in as a lucky loser with decent clay ITF results but lacking a bigger win.

Prediction: Bencic in 2
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Olga Danilovic vs Dalma Galfi

Jim: This should be an interesting match. Olga Danilovic tends to be a momentum player and she has plenty of that after coming through the qualifying with wins over Rebecca Masarova, Simona Waltert and Viktoria Tomova. But Dalma Galfi has been in solid form in her own right. Still, expect Danilovic’s greater familiarity with the conditions in Paris to give her a decisive edge.

Prediction: Danilovic in 3

Jakub: Danilovic came back this May after seven months out and had to battle in every match to qualify, spending almost seven hours on court over those three matches. She could be in for another battle with Galfi. The Hungarian has a decent 19-12 record on the season, though lacking impressive wins. It should be a close one but I see Danilovic coming out on top.

Prediction: Danilovic in 3

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