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January 22, 2023

The grass swing kicks off in earnest on day one of the WTA Nottingham Open with four intriguing matches on the schedule in the English Midlands. As always, at LWOT, we will offer our predictions for every match on the schedule. But who will reserve their place in the second round?

WTA Nottingham Day 1 Predictions

Donna Vekic vs. Harriet Dart

Face-to-face: first meeting

Donna Vekic has the advantage in terms of experience going into this game and a strong record on grass. But the Croatian has struggled for form and fitness lately, with her ranking dropping from a career-high #19 to 90.e in the ranking. Harriet Dart, meanwhile, broke into the top 100 for the first time in her career earlier in the season but has since slipped to 114e. She also lost her first grass match of the season last week to Nikola Kostic.

It continued a miserable run of form for the Briton, who has lost seven matches in a row since reaching the fourth round at Indian Wells. While Vekic hasn’t been at her best lately, she has been in better shape than this and impressed as she made it through qualifying to reach the second round at Roland Garros. She will have to adapt to the different demands of lawn tennis, but now seems like a good time to play Dart.

Prediction: Vekic in 3
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Heather Watson vs. Katie Volynets

Face-to-face: Watson 1-0 Volynets

Heather Watson was beaten quite comfortably in the first round of Roland Garros by French wild card Elsa Jacquemot, but the Briton usually saves her best tennis for the season on grass at home. Katie Volynets, meanwhile, has made slow but steady progress as she adjusts to life as a professional on tour and won her first match at a Major a fortnight ago when she upset Viktorija Golubic at the first round of Roland-Garros.

She however was unable to sustain that against Elena Rybakina, losing 4-6 0-6 and she was then beaten 6-4 6-4 by Lulu Radovcic in the first round in Surbiton. With Watson sure to have the crowd behind her and with far more lawn tennis experience than Volynets, it could be a tough day at the office for the 20-year-old American. Don’t be surprised if this one goes the distance, but expect Watson to have the advantage.

Prediction: Watson in 3
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Zhu Lin vs. Jodie Burrage

Face-to-face: Burrage 1-0 Zhu

Jodie Burrage had been in indifferent form on clay to say the least, but she appeared to be playing with renewed confidence last week on the grass courts in Surbiton. The Briton reached the semi-finals beating, among others, Zhu Lin en route. It may be a more competitive affair, with Zhu having had the opportunity to adapt to the grass, but Burrage looked very sharp in Surbiton and clearly enjoys playing on the grass. Zhu, on the other hand, has generally struggled on the surface despite reaching the second round at Wimbledon last season. Still, with Burrage surely full of confidence, expect her to still have too much for Zhu.

Prediction: Burrage in 3
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Oceane Dodin versus Tereza Martincova

Face-to-face: first meeting

Neither Oceane Dodin nor Tereza Martincova seem particularly well suited to lawn tennis, but that might just serve to make this match more entertaining, not less. They are at least relatively well-matched, with Martincova the higher ranked of the two but Dodin with the better record in 2022. Dodin comes into this game after a disheartening French Open first-round loss to Andrea Petkovic, but she reached the semis. -finals in Strasbourg a week earlier.

Martincova also crashed out in the first round of French Open, losing 3-6 4-6 to Shelby Rogers. She does, however, have a better grass record than Dodin and last year reached the third round at Wimbledon. Dodin, on the other hand, has only made the Championships main draw once after failing to qualify three years in a row. There’s still time for Dodin to improve his skills on the grass, but expect Martincova to have the advantage here.

Prediction: Martincova in 3

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