First round action commences on Monday at the WTA 1000 level Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. It’s the final big event before the final Grand Slam of the year begins in New York in a couple of weeks time. The top eight seeds receive a bye through the opening round in Cincinnati, but there are still plenty of big names in action on day one. Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka are a couple of Major champions in action on Day 1. We also predict the rest of the day’s matches, split between two articles. One features Sloane Stephens vs Alize Cornet and the other headlines Amanda Anisimova vs Daria Kasatkina. Let’s take a closer look at some of Monday’s opening round matchups.
WTA Cincinnati Day 1 Predictions
Alison Riske vs Sara Sorribes Tormo
H2H: First meeting.
Alison Riske-Amritraj and Sara Sorribes Tormo will go head-to-head for the first time when they meet in the opening round in Cincinnati. Riske is coming off a decent week in Montreal where she recorded a pair of three set wins over Petra Kvitova and Jelena Ostapenko before succumbing to Yulia Putintseva in straight sets. A defeat to Putintseva is a bad sign for Riske heading into this matchup. Sorribes Tormo will posses a very similar threat, I believe Sorribes Tormo will be able to unsettle Riske just as Putintseva did last week. I favour the Spaniard to prevail more often than not in this matchup.
Prediction: Sorribes Tormo in 3
Jil Teichmann vs Petra Kvitova
H2H: Teichmann 2-1.
Petra Kvitova has only played one match over the last couple of months since her third round exit at Wimbledon. The Czech was defeated by Alison Riske in the first round in Montreal last week, another disappointing result for Kvitova in 2022. Jil Teichmann is coming off a comparatively better week in Montreal where she claimed wins over Venus Williams and Anett Kontaveit before succumbing to eventual champion Simona Halep in straight sets.
Teichmann defeated Kvitova 6-3 7-5 in Madrid earlier this year in the most recent meeting between the pair. I suspect Teichmann will again have the edge in the battle of the lefties. Kvitova is rusty, Teichmann has the game to take advantage.
Prediction: Teichmann in 3
Taylor Townsend vs Ajla Tomljanovic
H2H: Townsend 1-0.
Taylor Townsend and Ajla Tomljanovic both successfully came through the qualifying draw in Cincinnati and would see this as a winnable opening round matchup in the main draw. I think Tomljanovic is more likely to emerge victorious in this matchup. It should be noted that Townsend’s lefty patterns feed into the strong Tomljanovic backhand. Tomljanovic generally gets the job done in matches she should win, I’d class this as one of those.
Prediction: Tomljanovic in 3
Victoria Azarenka vs Kaia Kanepi
H2H: Azarenka 2-0
Victoria Azarenka and Kaia Kanepi will do battle for the first time since 2009, when Azarenka twice defeated the Estonian. 2022 has been lackluster for the Belarusian by her lofty standards. It is during this part of the season where Azarenka frequently finds her best tennis. Azarenka has won the Western & Southern Open on two occasions and has finished runner-up at the US Open on three occasions. I wouldn’t put another deep run past Azarenka at either event, and I suspect she’ll be too solid for Kanepi in this matchup. Azarenka absorbs and redirects power better than most, making this a bad matchup for Kanepi. Azarenka should draw a heap of errors from the Estonian with her relentless hitting, especially in heavier conditions at night.
Prediction: Azarenka in 2
Main Photo from Getty.