1. Camila Giorgi v Dominika Cibulkova (Istanbul, R1)
It’s great to see Dominika Cibulkova back on the WTA tour but not so great to see her down at number 56 in the rankings. It will take time for Domi to get back to where she belongs after she was forced to have surgery to address an achilles injury after the tournament in Antwerp in February. Therefore, she’s going to be a name to watch out for in the upcoming draws. Cibulkova made her comeback in Eastbourne where she reached the third round after taking out the French Open finalist, Lucie Safarova in the second round. At Wimbledon, she lost out to Daniela Hantuchova for a fifth consecutive time in one of those curious WTA head-to-heads that makes you scratch your head.
Cibulkova has drawn the enigmatic Italian, Camila Giorgi in the first round of Istanbul. Giorgi played some great tennis during the grass court season and won her first title in ‘s-Hertogenbosch,. This was obviously a big deal for Giorgi having lost her first three WTA finals. Giorgi matched her seeding at Wimbledon by reaching the third round but put in a disappointing display against Caroline Wozniacki. I hope that Domi gets some better draws over the next few months. I’d give the edge to Giorgi in this one…
Prediction: Giorgi d. Cibulkova in 3 sets
2. Alizé Cornet v Yanina Wickmayer (Istanbul, R1)
Alizé Cornet has taken a late wildcard into the tournament and faces a tough first round match against Yanina Wickmayer who is much better than her current ranking of 93. Cornet leads the head-to-head 2-1 and their last match-up was nearly two years ago in Washington (Cornet won, 6-1 6-3). Cornet has had a largely disappointing year; in her last 12 tournaments she has lost to a player ranked outside of the top 50 on seven occasions. Last year she was gritting out the wins, often in three dramatic sets but it has not been happening this year.
Wickmayer has had the odd decent result notably the run to the fourth round at the Australian Open. However, she has been shaky at times and failed to build on any good results. She lost out in an extra time finish at Wimbledon, 10-8 in the third set against Elizaveta Kulichkova in the first round. Cornet v Wickmayer is one that, in my opinion, could go either way. Wickmayer’s recent form hasn’t been convincing but I think she has a shot at the upset in this match…
Prediction: Wickmayer d. Cornet in 3 sets