The new tennis season is here! One of the WTA spots this upcoming week is Auckland, where players will look to start their season strong in preparation for the Australian Open! Who will win and who will fall? Read on to find out! We also have more WTA Auckland predictions for you!
WTA Auckland Day 1 Predictions
Taylor Townsend vs Carolina Garcia
Head to Head: never played
Taylor Townsend takes on Carolina Garcia in the first round of Auckland. Taylor Townsend has only played one tournament since her impressive trip to the round of 16 at the US Open, where she came within one set of the quarterfinals before falling to Bianca Andreescu. Townsend’s game is very old school, where she tries to get to the net as often as possible. This disrupts her opponents’ rhythm. Caroline Garcia, a solid baseline player, has really struggled in the second half of 2019 and into the December Limoges Challenger. In Limoges, she lost in the first round in straight sets to Paulien Parmentier.
These two have never played before. Given Townsend’s ability to disrupt rhythm, and Garcia’s poor form, look for Townsend to get the win to start her season.
Prediction: Townsend in 3
Carla Suarez Navarro vs Daria Kasatkina
Head to Head: 1-0 Kasatkina
Carla Suarez Navarro takes on Daria Kasatkina in the first round of Auckland. Carla Suarez Navarro is in her last season on tour, having announced her retirement following the 2020 tennis season. Suarez Navarro is known for her excellent backhand, which features extremely heavy topspin, but can also be powerful. Daria Kasatkina sometimes emphasizes topspin too much at the expense of power. While Kasatkina has had a lot of success before 2019, the 2019 season is one she will want to block out of her memory. Kasatkina really struggled, but with 2020 season comes a blank slate.
Kasatkina won in straight sets at the 2015 Moscow tournament. With Suarez Navarro’s retirement at the end of the year, who knows how focused her offseason was. Expect Kasatkina to come into this season with a new determination and drive. Kasatkina wins.
Prediction: Kasatkina in 3
Eugenie Bouchard vs Kirsten Flipkens
Head to Head: 1-0 Flipkens
Eugenie Bouchard goes up against Kirsten Flipkens for a spot in the second round of Auckland. Eugenie Bouchard has not been the same since that special 2014 season and has dropped down to World No. 215. When Bouchard is on her game, however, she can play a high level of power baseline tennis. Kirsten Flipkens utilizes a variety game in order to befuddle opponents. Her desire to get to the net as often as possible makes it very difficult for opponents to handle.
Flipkens won their only meeting, a three set victory in Indian Wells last season. It’s really hard to trust Bouchard, given how far her game has fallen. While Bouchard will put up a fight, expect Flipkens to frustrate Bouchard with her variety.
Prediction: Flipkens in 3
Coco Gauff vs Viktoria Kuzmova
Head to Head: never played
Coco Gauff battles Viktoria Kuzmova with a trip to the second round of Auckland at stake. Coco Gauff, who is only 15 years old, made major headlines when she reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon last season. She also won her first WTA title as a lucky loser in Linz, beating Jelena Ostapenko in the final. Gauff has a very powerful backhand. Viktoria Kuzmova is a powerful young player. Despite the lack of headlines, Kuzmova is actually the higher ranked player of the two.
These two have never played before. Gauff’s forehand is quite loopy and that loopy forehand should sit up in Kuzmova’s strike zone well. While Gauff will have success on the backhand wing and defends the court well, her forehand is a major weakness that players will take advantage of as they get more used to her game. Kuzmova moves on.
Prediction: Kuzmova in 3
Main Photo from Getty.