WTA Istanbul Day 1 Predictions including Johanna Larsson vs Margarita Gasparyan

The 2019 WTA Istanbul Cup starts on Easter Monday with two top 30 players taking part, Carla Suarez Navarro and Mihaela Buzarnescu. Three main draw matches are to be played today including the first round for the sixth seed Petra Martic. But who will advance?

Rebecca Peterson vs Pemra Ozgen

Head-to-head: Peterson 1-0

In eight previous appearances at the WTA Istanbul Cup, 32-year-old Pemra Ozgen has advanced to the second round just once. And it may once again be difficult for her to take advantage of her wild card. Her only encounter against Peterson, which came two years ago in Padova was fairly close, but the Swede has improved considerably since then. Her heavy topspin forehand should serve her well on the clay courts of Istanbul and its hard to see Ozgen being able to stand up to the sustained quality Peterson brings to the court. Expect another year of disappointment for Ozgen.

Prediction: Peterson in two
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Petra Martic vs Tamara Zidansek

Head-to-head: First meeting

The only seed to be playing on Monday at the WTA Istanbul Cup, Petra Martic, faces a much tougher challenge. The Croat had a difficult start to the year, but recently reached the semifinals in Charleston, defeating Amanda Anisimova and Belinda Bencic along the way. Her huge topspin strokes usually work best on clay and she reached a final in Budapest last year. Zidansek, meanwhile, played very well last year in smaller events on the red dirt and has managed her step up to the main WTA Tour fairly successfully so far in 2019. She reached the quarterfinals in Bogota two weeks ago and made a semifinal appearance in Hua-Hin in February. But there is still no substitute for experience. Expect it to be pretty close, but for Martic to play the big points better.

Prediction: Martic in three
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Johanna Larsson vs Margarita Gasparyan

Head-to-head: Larsson 1-0

This is probably the most interesting match-up of the day. Larsson hasn’t won consecutive main draw matches in almost a year and possesses a miserable 1-7 record so far in 2019. Indeed, her only win came via Vera Lapko’s retirement at the Australian Open. It will be very interesting to see if she can recover her mojo back on her favourite surface. So far, however, the signs have not been hugely encouraging as she lost to Jelena Ostapenko in her first match in Charleston. Margarita Gasparyan, meanwhile, is on the comeback trail after a serious knee injury picked up in 2016 forced her off-court for almost a year and a half. She’s had a better season than Larsson so far, but the Russian has never won a tour-level match on clay and she hasn’t played a tour-level event on the surface since 2016. As a result, this looks like the perfect opportunity for Larsson to gain a confidence building win.

Prediction: Larsson in three

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