Some of the first round action at the 2021 WTA Nottingham Open will have Kristie Ahn taking on British wildcard Jodi Burrage and Russian Anastasia Gasanova up against Kateryna Kozlova. Get the live streaming options along the predictions, preview and head to head for these matches along with Maddison Inglis v Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove and Katie Volynets v Marina Melnikova.
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Maddison Inglis v Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove Preview
In a match between the 135th-ranked Inglis and 177th-ranked Kerkhove, it’s tough to pick favourites. And the reason isn’t just about their rankings but about the lack of wins for both players.
Inglis, for instance, last played in Adelaide in February, while Kerkhove hasn’t been in the best of form featuring at the ITF level.
Interestingly, both players haven’t won main draw matches on grass in a while with their only victories on this surface in 2019 coming in qualifiers and the ITF circuit.
What could distinguish their performances is Inglis is returning after a while and might take some time getting used to her return while her opponent has been around playing on clay. Backing Kerkhove to edge out her opponent in this one.
Inglis v Kerkhove Tip
Kerkhove to win: 4/5 (bet365)
Anastasia Gasanova v Kateryna Kozlova Preview
The 159th-ranked Kozlova will be up against Gasanova who is ranked 173rd in the world in this first round match on the grass of Nottingham.
Kozlova did not kick-start her season till April this year when she straightaway played on clay, and is yet to win a main draw match on the WTA tour. It was no different last year when she barely played a handful of matches.
Add to that her record on grass, with Kozlova having last won a match in grass in the qualifiers of Wimbledon four years ago, it sounds like things could get very difficult for her.
Gasanova’s form, on the other hand, should tip the scales in her favour with the Russian having made the quarterfinal of the St. Petersburg Open and third round appearance in Abu Dhabi.
What’s interesting to note? Gasanova has never played on grass. Not even on the ITF circuit.
Sure makes the plot interesting?
Gasanova v Kozlova Tip
Three sets in the match: 6/4 (bet365)
Kristie Ahn v Jodie Burrage Preview
The 123rd-ranked Ahn kick-starts her grass season against Britain’s 250th-ranked Burrage who has been playing only on the ITF circuit barring a couple of matches at the Abu Dhabi Open and French Open qualifiers.
Ahn’s form has been abysmal though. Spread across qualifiers, ITF competitions and WTA main draws, she has featured in nine matches and won just one, which was a qualifying round in Miami.
More recently Ahn is on a seven-match losing streak, having failed to make the French Open qualifying second round either. Burrage had the same issue and is on a four-match losing streak making this is a match of the struggling equals in many ways.
Where this tips the scales in favour of Burrage is her experience of playing in the UK, those home conditions should count for something. Tipping her to edge this.
Ahn v Burrage Tip
Burrage to win: 11/10 (bet365)
Katie Volynets v Marina Melnikova Preview
19-year-old Volynets will be up against Melnikova who is 13 years her senior and about 16 places ahead on the WTA rankings.
What’s interesting to note is Volynets has never played on grass at any level on the senior circuit and even while playing on the junior circuit her best performance came in 2018 when she reached the second round at juniors Wimbledon.
A finalist at the ITF Oeiras last month, Melnikova did not make it past the qualifiers at French Open but she has featured in a few matches this season and rustiness won’t be a factor.
And while she hasn’t played a lot on grass, her experience on the surface has been way more than her opponent’s. Should edge this one.
Volynets v Melnikova Tip
Melnikova to win: 11/5 (bet365)