The first round action at the 2021 WTA Belgrade Open continues on Monday, May 17 and some of the matches in action are as follows: Danka Kovinic will face Cristina Bucsa, Aliaksandra Sasnovich takes on Wang Xiyu, Shuai Zhang will be up against Maria Camila Osorio Serrano while Alison van Uytvanck faces Ana Konjuh on this. Get the live streaming options along the predictions, preview and head to head for these all of these opening round matches below.
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Danka Kovinic v Cristina Bucsa Preview
In what will be their first meeting, the 62nd-ranked Kovinic will take on the world number 169 and Spaniard Bucsa for a place in round two.
This will be Kovinic’s first match since she suffered an opening round loss at the Madrid Open two weeks ago, but that’s not to say she has had form issues.
Because just prior to that Madrid Open stint, Kovinic had made the final at Charleston Open and followed it up with a semifinal appearance at a second competition played at that very venue.
On the other hand, Bucsa is more versed with the ITF circuit and has four titles under her belt on it. At the WTA level, however, Bucsa’s performances haven’t quite been up to the scratch with the 23-year-old yet to win a main draw match there this season.
That said, she did make the main draw with a couple of qualifying wins and has performed well on clay in recent times.
Kovinic v Bucsa Tip
Kovinic to win in straight sets: 4/6 (bet365)
Aliaksandra Sasnovich v Wang Xiyu Preview
It’s a battle between two players ranked outside the top 100 and it could go either way. And that’s because neither player has a great record this season and those struggles have meant a fall in the rankings for both.
In what will be their first meeting, Sasnovich will hope she can capture some of her form on clay from the previous season. As a qualifier she had made the quarterfinal at Palermo, and then made the last eight stage of the Istanbul Open as well.
And it’s that experience at the highest level on this surface that should give Sasnovich bit of an advantage too, because her opponent Wang Xiyu hasn’t won one. So much this will be her first main draw clay-court match on the WTA tour!
Sasnovich should come away an easy winner.
Sasnovich v Xiyu Tip
Sasnovich to win: 8/13 (bet365)
Shuai Zhang v Maria Camila Osorio Serrano Preview
In what will be their first ever meeting, the 41st-ranked Zhang will be up against Colombia’s Serrano, a 19-year-old who is currently at her career-best ranking of 119th in the world.
And while Zhang is so many places ahead of Serrano, it’s the latter who starts off a heavy favourite in this one at 2/5.
The reason? Her recent record on clay has been one of the best for a player ranked that low. The Colombian player went on to win her maiden WTA title at the Bogota Open, and followed that up with a semifinal appearance in Charleston where she fell to Astra Sharma.
While such a bounce in her ranking did not help her get a direct qualification for this tournament, Serrano made it to the main draw with a couple of wins in the qualifiers.
Zhang’s overall record this season? 0-6. Non-contest.
Zhang v Serrano Tip
Serrano to win: 2/5 (bet365)
Alison van Uytvanck v Ana Konjuh Preview
It’s the experience of Alison van Uytvanck taking on the youth and comeback of Ana Konjuh in this opening round encounter in Belgrade. Their only previous match had come eight years ago on the ITF circuit where the 16-year-old Konjuh had managed a three-set win indoors.
Things have drastically changed with Konjuh falling from a career-best ranking of 20th in the world to outside the top 1000 after being out of action and thanks to injuries.
This year, however, things have changed drastically for Konjuh whose performances in Miami and Istanbul have helped her return back to the top 200. At the former, she defeated Madison Keys and Iga Swiatek to make the fourth round while in Istanbul on clay she was a quarterfinalist.
Her opponent, van Uytvanck hasn’t won anything on clay this year and had just two wins last season on the same surface. And that’s why Konjuh starts a favourite here.
Van Uytvanck v Konjuh Tip
Konjuh to win: 4/11 (bet365)