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WTA Tokyo Day 1 Predictions Including Tatjana Maria vs Liudmila Samsonova

Liudmila Samsonova US OPEN

Following Maria Sakkari’s title in Guadalajara, we’re over to Tokyo for the WTA 500 event. This is a great opportunity for many Japanese players and there are also some established top 100 players that will be looking to rediscover some form. There are a few factors at play on the first day of action. We’ve tried to wrap our head round them and have made our predictions for day one.

WTA Tokyo Day 1 Predictions

Cristina Bucsa vs Rina Saigo

Head-to-head: First meeting

Having established herself in the top 100 this year, Cristina Bucsa has held her own against some of the best players in the world. Her base level is super-solid, troubling even Swiatek, Pegula and Gauff. Her scalps against Andreescu, Bouzkova and Bencic really showcased how well she can play.

Like many of the Japanese players here, Rina Saigo will be competing outside of her weight class. It’s worth keeping mind many of these players will play weaker fields in parts of the world far flung from Europe or North America so it can be tough to compete when thrown in the deep end. Saigo will likely struggle to keep up with the weight of Bucsa’s shot, even in conditions she’s comfortable in.
Prediction: Bucsa in 2

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Anhelina Kalinina vs Ashlyn Krueger

Head-to-head: First meeting

Anhelina Kalinina’s run to the final in Rome was applaudable but she hasn’t come up with anything close to that level since. Her penchant for clay definitely showed that fortnight whilst, on faster courts, she’s being bullied by some of the harder hitters of the tour.

Ashlyn Krueger is that American mould of player with a booming serve and plenty of firepower from the back of the court (see her title last week in Osaka for proof). Form, conditions and match-up all point to her as the favorite.
Prediction: Krueger in 2

Mai Hontama vs Nao Hibino

Head-to-head: First meeting

Both players employ a similar strategy on the court but it’s Nao Hibino that’s really set herself apart from her compatriot this season. A first WTA title of her career in Prague proved she can hang with some of the best in the world, even those that beat her for pace (see her final against Noskova). There probably won’t be much in it but we’ll give the slight edge to Hibino given her accolades this year.
Prediction: Hibino in 3

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Kayla Day vs Moyuka Uchijima

Head-to-head: 1-1

Kayla Day blows a bit hot and cold so this match might go the distance. Moyuka Uchijima has been prone to getting blown off the court in the past against top 100 players, however. Whilst Day doesn’t quite possess the consistency of many of those players, Uchijima will probably give her a little too much time to find her feet.
Prediction: Day in 3

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Tatjana Maria vs Liudmila Samsonova

Head-to-head: Samsonova 1-0 Maria

Though it can feel quite difficult to trust Luidmila Samsonova with each passing tournament, the Russian’s base level hasn’t actually fluctuated too wildly this season. She’s still taking out big names frequently with that huge forehand and her losses haven’t felt too damning.

Whilst Tatjana Maria may be one of the best disrupters on tour, the conditions will probably favor Samsonova too heavily to allow the German to get under her skin. Samsonova should find her form from the get-go.
Prediction: Samsonova in 2

Main Photo Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

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