Prague’s schedule for Tuesday was affected by rain which means they are already playing catch-up as two first round matches are still yet to be finished. This means a couple of players will have to play two matches on Wednesday; one of them could be the number two seed Lucie Safarova who opens against Tereza Smitkova first up at 10am local time. Tuesday’s completed matches saw Karolina Pliskova come from a set down to beat Annika Beck and Barbora Strycova snap a four match losing streak with a win over Madison Brengle. Strycova had a whole host of set points in the first set as she twice failed to serve out the set before hanging on in the tiebreak. Four seeds are already out including Belinda Bencic who lost an eventful match to Ana Konjuh…
Today also saw more announcements for the grass court season… finally there was a player announcement for Eastbourne! Petra Kvitova has been officially confirmed for the Aegon International, which i’m naturally delighted about. The full lists for Nottingham and s’Hertogenbosch have also been revealed (via Women’s Tennis Forums). Nottingham’s list is uninspiring with the likes of Shuai Peng, Varvara Lepchenko, Zarina Diyas, Mona Barthel and Heather Watson. The list for s’Hertogenbosch is more impressive with Andrea Petkovic, Jelena Jankovic, Elina Svitolina and Belinda Bencic all in there. The full list for Birmingham will be announced this time next week with Eastbourne the week after. Anyway, here’s a Prague preview and some misguided predictions to brighten your Tuesday evening (or morning depending where you are reading this from)…
Alize Cornet v Denisa Allertova (Prague, R2)
Alize Cornet and Denisa Allertova will meet third up on court 1 on Wednesday after both won their first round matches in straight sets. Cornet beat Kristina Schmiedlova, the younger sister of Anna Karolina, 6-3 6-3. Allertova enjoyed a good win over Coco Vandeweghe, 6-4 6-1 although it must be said that the American player has never played her best on clay. Cornet’s year has been somewhat disappointing; she has managed just 9 victories this year compared to the 17 that she had racked up at the same time last year. Cornet remains in the world’s top 30 though and has plenty of space to move up after a poor clay court season in 2014. She is already halfway to matching her number of wins on clay from last year.
Allertova is still a reasonably new name to WTA tour events. She won seven ITF titles in 2014, prevailing in a mixture of $10K, 25K and 50K events. It was in Luxembourg where she made a name for herself, winning six matches to reach the semi-finals. Along the way, she secured wins over Sabine Lisicki and Varvara Lepchenko in what was her first ever WTA main draw appearance on the tour. Allertova has been in qualifying for five tour-level events this year, but has only been successful at one, which was the Australian Open back in January. Her victory over Vandeweghe was her first main draw win since Melbourne.
Cornet and Allertova met back at the Australian Open in the second round. Cornet had her struggles, but she eventually prevailed in three sets, 6-4 6-7(2) 6-2. Allertova has a pretty potent game that could certainly trouble Cornet. The Frenchwoman has not been as reliable in 2015 and has been losing to players she was eeking out wins against last year. This match is worthy of an “upset alert”, but i’d still fancy Cornet to battle her way into the quarters.
Prediction: Cornet d. Allertova in 3 sets
WTA Prague 2nd Round Predictions
Karolina Pliskova d. Tsvetana Pironkova in 2 sets
Klara Koukalova d. Ana Konjuh in 3 sets *tough one*
Barbora Strycova d. Elena Vesnina in 2 tight sets
Katerina Siniakova d. Polona Hercog in 3 sets
Yanina Wickmayer d. Aleksandra Krunic in 2 tight sets
WTA Marrakech 2nd Round Predictions
Garbine Muguruza d. Kristina Mladenovic in 3 sets
Timea Bacsinszky d. Tatjana Maria in 2 sets
Flavia Pennetta d. Laura Siegemund in 2 sets
Roberta Vinci d. Karin Knapp in 3 sets
Teliana Pereira d. Timea Babos in 2 sets
Lara Arruabarrena d. Monica Puig in 3 sets
Elina Svitolina d. Christina McHale in 2 tight sets
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova d. Maria Irigoyen in 2 sets