WTA Washington Day 1 Predictions Including Simona Halep vs Cristina Bucsa

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The joint event at Washington kicks off with the WTA draw carrying more star power than usual. Not only is the tournament headlined by the comeback of Venus Williams, there are also the returns of Victoria Azarenka and Sofia Kenin. The top seeds of the tournament are all strong contenders here, Jessica Pegula, Emma Raducanu, and Simona Halep all vying for the title. As always, we here at LWOT will preview and predict every match, including four in a separate article. Who do you think will win?

WTA Washington Day 1 Predictions

Daria Saville vs Mirjam Bjorklund

Head-to-head: first meeting

Saville will be hoping to recapture her form from the Sunshine Swing, now back on the U.S. hard courts. The Australian reached the fourth round out of qualifying at Indian Wells and make the quarterfinals at Miami, a month that propelled her back to the Top 100. Bjorklund will be a tricky opponent though, dropping just ten games against Christina McHale and Heather Watson. This is a tough one to call as Saville’s form coming in is not great but I see the former No. 22 having a strong US Open Series this summer, which could start here.
Prediction: Saville in 3

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Greet Minnen vs Kaia Kanepi

Head-to-head: first meeting

Minnen has had a pretty poor season outside of her results on the ITF circuit in February. The Belgian will have the third round at the US Open to defend coming up soon so she will need to start having main tour runs soon to keep herself in the Top 100. 37-year-old Kanepi began the season with a bang, reaching her seventh career slam quarterfinal at the Australian Open. The Estonian has been dangerous at slams for years now and has put together a couple of WTA runs this season though she had a weaker grass season. I see Kanepi as a favorite here as she has shown a higher level throughout the season than the Belgian.
Prediction: Kanepi in 2

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Mayar Sherif vs Donna Vekic

Head-to-head: first meeting

Sherif’s season picked up on clay, winning two WTA 125s, but the Egyptian struggled mightily on the hard courts to start the year, going 1-8. Sherif found a bit more success on hard last year but clay is clearly her best surface. Vekic did not properly start her season until the end of March and only started to find success at the French Open and on grass. The Croat made the second round out of qualifying in Paris and made runs as a qualifier in Birmingham and Eastbourne. Vekic is the better hard-court player even though she is not at her best right now and is a former Washington finalist, so she should be beating Sherif here.
Prediction: Vekic in 2

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Simona Halep vs Cristina Bucsa

Head-to-head: first meeting

30-year-old Halep has been playing with a new vigor this season, going 31-9, and coming off a semifinal run at Wimbledon. The Romanian has only won the title at Melbourne Summer Set 1 but has had five semifinal runs this season. Halep will open her hard-court season against qualifier Bucsa, who had a tough time getting to the main draw. The Spaniard won against both Kimberly Birrell and Caty McNally 7-5 in the third. Bucsa has had a nice season but unless Halep puts out a nightmarish performance, it is hard to see the 24-year-old challenge in this match. Halep should take a successful first step here en route to a potential title run, one of the main favorites in Washington this week in my eyes.
Prediction: Halep in 2

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