Some of the first round action at the 2021 WTA Charleston Open will see Misaki Doi take on Yaroslava Shvedova and Paula Badosa face Varvara Gracheva. Get the live streaming options along the predictions, preview and head to head for these matches along with Ajla Tomljanovic v Christina McHale and Lauren Davis v Madison Brengle.
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Misaki Doi v Yaroslava Shvedova Preview
In one of the first round matches on the opening day of the Charleston Open, the 77th-ranked Doi will be against Yaroslava Shvedova, who is looking to make a comeback after being away from the sport for two years.
Shvedova, now ranked outside the top 700 after missing out of the competitions in 2018 and 2019, hasn’t played too much even after the comeback. And those wins have been difficult to come by.
This year itself, Shvedova’s only victory came in the qualifiers of the WTA Doha, but she lost the very next match, to go with five others across five tournaments. Making it worse for Shvedova is her poor record on clay, which means she gets no respite.
Doi, a former world number 30, started out the season with back to back opening round defeats but has since won her first round encounters at four successive competitions. More interestingly, for a player who hasn’t won too many matches on clay, Doi’s last WTA title came on that very surface – at Bastad in 2019.
Not surprising then, Doi starts off at 1/3 to win this to her opponent’s 12/5.
Doi v Shvedova Tip
Doi to win in straight sets: 4/5 (bet365)
Paula Badosa v Varvara Gracheva Preview
The only previous match between Badosa and Gracheva came at the 2020 US Open. It was Gracheva who came through in straight sets in that match before overcoming Kristina Mladenovic to record her best ever performance at a Grand Slam.
What makes it intriguing is Gracheva’s strength lies in playing on clay, having reached the final of nine ITF tournaments, all of which came on the clay court surfaces. She won seven of those.
Up against her is a player ranked 25 places above her, but more vitally Badosa has shown some early season spark. She was a semifinalist at the Lyon Open having earlier defeated Anastasija Sevastova and Alize Cornet to make it to the third round at the Abu Dhabi Open.
And it’s not like Badosa doesn’t like clay either. She had made it all the way through to the fourth round at the French Open last season, and was a semifinalist in Istanbul just prior to that.
So while we think Gracheva should put up a strong showing, Badosa will be a heavy favourite here.
Badosa v Gracheva Tip
Badosa to win: 1/2 (bet365)
Ajla Tomljanovic v Christina McHale Preview
Tomljanovic and McHale are evenly-matched when it comes to their WTA rankings, with the former ranked 78th while the latter just 11 places behind her. But that’s not where the evenness of this contest ends.
Both players, for starters, have been struggling for form.
Tomljanovic has won just four first round matches all season and to go with those second round defeats, she has also fallen in opening rounds of two other tournaments. It’s been worse for McHale, who has featured in five tournaments in 2021, lost six matches and won just one – a qualifier.
On clay, Tomljanovic didn’t win a single match last year and her last win on that surface had come in Nurnberg in 2019. McHale has done slightly better on clay, winning a round at the French Open last year but that was her only win at that tournament since making it to the third round there in 2012.
In short, there’s not much to choose between these two players who haven’t too much going for them in recent times.
Tomljanovic v McHale Tip
Three sets in the match: 6/4 (bet365)
Lauren Davis v Madison Brengle Preview
A match between a 79th-ranked and an 81st-ranked player could get rather close as Americans Lauren Davis and Madison Brengle go head to head in what will be their fourth competitive encounter. All the previous three had come in 2018, one of which was played on the WTA circuit and the other two at the ITF level.
Brengle leads 2-1 but then again all those matches came on hard courts, and this one makes a switch to clay.
Both players have struggled on the red dirt in the past but Davis did show some signs of resurrection in 2019 when she featured in a couple of title-deciders on the ITF circuit – she won one and lost the final of the other.
At some point, early in her career, Brengle too had pouched a few clay court ITF titles but her fallen away since, having never made it past the second round at the French Open. Davis’ best performance in Roland-Garros is no different either, but she has a slight edge on this surface when one looks at their overall record.
Davis v Brengle Tip
Davis to win: 10/11 (bet365)