First-round action continues at the WTA 500 in Berlin, one of the two biggest grass lead-up events on the road to Wimbledon. With no points awarded at the slam, players are scrambling to make up the points they will be unable to defend so we are sure to see some top players fighting really hard. As always, we here at LWOT will preview and predict every match. We split the rest of the day’s matches between two other articles. One features Aryna Sabalenka vs Veronika Kudermetova and the other features Garbine Muguruza vs Andrea Petkovic. Who do you think will advance?
WTA Berlin Day 2 Predictions
Tamara Zidansek vs Ludmilla Samsonova
Head-to-head: Samsonova 2-1 Zidansek
Samsonova enters Berlin on a five-match losing streak, including a grass loss to Ann Li in Den Bosch. The Russian is defending the title here in Berlin so the pressure is on as she has dropped 17 spots to No. 46 in the live rankings. Zidansek is a nice draw though. The Slovene is not only struggling post-Australia this year, she is also not a stellar grass-court player. Last week, Zidansek beat Harmony Tan 6-4 in the third set before losing to Caty McNally with just two games won in the second round. Samsonova may be unlikely to win Berlin again but I do think she will break her negative streak here.
Prediction: Samsonova in 2
Belinda Bencic vs Jule Niemeier
Head-to-head: Bencic 1-0 Niemeier
The two met in the first round of Berlin last year as well in a stunning match won by Bencic 7-5 in the third set. The Swiss is a very strong grass court player, defending a final here from last year, one of Bencic’s four WTA finals on the surface. Niemeier, a wild card entry into Berlin, may not have much grass experience with the Bencic match being one of just six grass matches in her career but is enjoying a good year. The German won the WTA 125 in Makarska two weeks ago, her first WTA title. Bencic should be the favorite with her wealth of experience on grass though Niemeier might make it interesting again.
Prediction: Bencic in 2
Ons Jabeur vs Karolina Muchova
Head-to-head: first meeting
Definitely the match of the day, closing out tomorrow’s action on Steffi Graf Stadion will be Jabeur and Muchova. Birmingham champion and last year’s Wimbledon quarterfinalist, Jabeur’s variety and slice make her very tough to beat on grass. The 27-year-old was among the favorites entering Roland Garros but was upset in the first round by Magda Linette. Jabeur will definitely be looking to make up for lost points. Muchova, a two-time quarterfinalist at Wimbledon, is also incredible on grass. Her comeback from injury has been tough this season though, an ankle injury forcing her to retire from her third-round match at Roland Garros. This will most certainly be a popcorn match with plenty of entertaining rallies and hot shots but ultimately I expect Jabeur to take it.
Prediction: Jabeur in 3
Main Photo from Getty.