French Open Predictions Day 1 Women’s Matches–Including Qiang Wang vs Venus Williams

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The second Slam of the season is here, and that means that the LWOT team is here to predict the best matches for you every day. Predicting today are writers Brett Margolies and Nurein Ahmed, along with editors Steen Kirby and Yesh Ginsburg.

French Open Predictions Day 1 Women’s Matches

Jelena Ostapenko vs Kateryna Kozlova

Brett:
It’ll be interesting to see how Jelena Ostapenko handles the pressure of being the defending champion at a grand slam. Hopefully, she’s not looking ahead at a potential 2nd round meeting with Victoria Azarenka, but she should have no trouble against Kozlova.
Prediction: Ostapenko in 2

Nurein:
Jelena Ostapenko starts her title defense against a woman she has lost twice to on head-to-head. WTA always has a habit of throwing up the upsets as early as round one. This could be be one of them.
Prediction: Kozlova in 3

Steen:
Kozlova has a surprising H2H record in this one, but on clay Ostapenko should be a solid favorite.
Prediction: Ostapenko in 2

Yesh:
Jelena Ostapenko is the defending champion in Paris, a level of pressure she has never had to contend with in her young career. She has been a very good player in the year since winning her Slam, but not a stellar one. Still, her level should be more than enough to breeze through this match.
Prediction: Ostapenko in 2
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Johanna Konta vs Yulia Putinseva

Brett:
I don’t like to look too much into results the week before a slam, but Yulia Putintseva had a nice win over Sloane Stephens in Nurnberg. Konta isn’t anything special on clay, but her game will frustrate Putintseva.
Prediction: Konta in 2

Nurein:
I will be massively surpirised if Johanna Konta loses this match. Putintseva is a moon-baller at best, and how she beat a below-par Sloane Stephens last week is still a mystery.
Prediction: Konta in 2

Steen:
Konta leads the H2H 3-0 and she’s in better form. I’d be surprised if this is close.
Prediction: Konta in 2

Yesh:
Johanna Konta has fallen from the high standard she set for herself in 2016-17, much to the chagrin of British tennis fans. A challenging first-round match that she should win could be just what Konta needs to get back on track–or it could be another heartbreaking loss.
Prediction: Konta in 2
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Francesca Schiavone vs Victoria Kuzmova

Brett:
Former Roland Garros champion Francesca Schiavone looked determined in qualifying after not receiving a main draw wildcard. The Italian has great memories in Paris and might use the snub as extra motivation. Kuzmova doesn’t have a win at a Grand Slam, and I don’t think she’ll get one today.
Prediction: Schiavone in 3

Nurein:
Schiavone just loves the Parisian dirt. This is her 18th appearance in the French Open and once again did it the hard way to qualify to the main draw. Both these players have not played much clay court matches in the build-up to the French Open. Kuzmova is only 20 but with vast potential. It will be interesting to see if the Italian has the legs to go the distance but I think she has enough in her locker to beat Kuzmova.
Prediction: Schiavone in 3

Steen:
Schiavone is in terrible form, despite being the more accomplished player. Anything but a Kuzmova win would shock me. Prediction: Kuzmova in 2

Yesh:
Well, I say that Steen should get ready to be shocked. Schiavone is a former champion who just had to come through qualifying to make the Main Draw, and did so in impressive fashion. This former champion has at least one match win in her this year.
Prediction: Schiavone in 2
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Alize Cornet vs Sara Errani

Brett:
Alize Cornet always does a good job playing to the French crowd. This is one of the most physically grueling first round matches as well; I think the crowd will help Cornet get through in a tight three-set match.
Prediction: Cornet in 3

Nurein:
This is such an intriguing first round match and I think it will be a long one. Matches involving Cornet have always been grueling and I can see another marathon here. I watched Sara Errani lose to Timea Babos in Rome where she led in both sets but succumbed to some great serving and backhand strokes from the Hungarian to lose in straight sets. But I don’t see the Frenchwoman displaying such a performance from the bit I have seen from her this year.
Prediction: Errani in 3

Steen:
Cornet won the last two meetings. This match could go either way, but I’ll go with Cornet by a slight margin.
Prediction: Cornet in 3

Yesh:
This should absolutely be one of the best women’s matches on Day 1. Both players have a ton of talent and each has fallen off from her peak. If Errani can pull out her top game she should win, but Cornet has looked better recently.
Prediction: Errani in 3
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Venus Williams vs Qiang Wang

Brett:
You never know what you’re going to get with Venus on clay. It’s no secret that it’s the surface where she’s most vulnerable. She’s 2-0 H2H against Qiang Wang including a straight-set win in the first round at Roland Garros last year. I think she’ll repeat that and win in straight sets again.
Prediction: Williams in 2

Nurein:
This has the making of an upset. I have not been overly impressed by Venus Williams on the dirt this season. She lost to Anett Kontaveit in successive clay court matches. Make no mistake about Estonian who is a very clean hitter of the ball, but Venus’ inconsistency seems to have taken shape again. This could be bad news for her. Qiang Wang lost narrowly to Ashleigh Barty in Strasbourg last week, and to Kasatkina in Madrid in a tight straight sets defeat. Bearing in mind she took a set off Venus at last year’s Wimbledon, I think this won’t be easy either. I’m going for the upset of the day.
Prediction: Wang in 2

Steen:
This match could trouble Venus, but she should find form and confidence from it and notch a win.
Prediction: Williams in 3

Yesh:
If this was on a hard court I’d have more faith in Wang to make this a closer match. On clay, even though Venus is also weaker on the surface, I don’t think Wang has the game to really challenge the ageless American.
Prediction: Williams in 2

Main Photo:
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