The WTA Tour continues this week with the Prague Open, the second clay court tournament to be played since tennis' restart following the event in Palermo. The top seed is Simona Halep, who will be back in action after withdrawing last week..
Projected matchup: (1) Simona Halep vs (6) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Back on her favorite surface, the Romanian doesn't have the easiest first round opponent in Polona Hercog and she could face countrywoman Patricia Maria Tig, who will have to get by Barbora Krejcikova first. These should be matches Halep handles with little difficulty.
Sixth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has already announced she will skip the US Open, but she should be able to handle Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus, but will have a significantly tougher challenge against Anastasija Sevastova in round two after the Latvian disposes of a qualifier in round one.
Prediction: Halep def. Pavlyuchenkova
Projected matchup: (4) Dayana Yastremska vs (7) Barbora Strýcová
The loss in the Palermo quarterfinals was hugely disappointing for fourth seed Dayana Yastremska, who had played solid tennis all week until she stumbled against Camila Giorgi. She should be able to handle Irina-Camelia Begu before advancing to a matchup with either Aliona Bolsova or Fiona Ferro.
Laura Siegemund is always a dangerous clay-court player and after getting by a qualifier, she will play either Sara Sorribes Tormo or seventh seed Barbora Strycova. The German will fancy her chances against either opponent and has a good chance to go far at this event.
Prediction: Yastremska def. Siegemund
Projected matchup: (8) Veronika Kudermetova vs (3) Elise Mertens
This could be the toughest quarter in the draw with a number of possibilities. On the rise, Veronika Kudermetova has one of the more intriguing first-round opponents in Eugenie Bouchard, who was granted a wild card into the main draw. The winner of that match faces Tamara Zidansek or home hope faces Katerina Siniakova.
Third seed Elise Mertens was soundly beaten in the first round of Palermo by Aliaksandra Sasnovich and she will play Jasmine Paolini, her would-be second round opponent from last week. Giorgi faces a qualifier and will fancy her chances in the second round against the Italian or Belgian.
Prediction: Giorgi def. Kudermetova
Projected matchup: (5) Ekaterina Alexandrova vs (2) Petra Martic
Quite frankly, second seed Petra Martic couldn't have asked for a better draw. Already with momentum from her semifinal in Palermo, the Croat should cruise past Varvara Gracheva and will play a Czech in the second round, either Kristyna Pliskova or wild card Linda Fruhvirtova.
The all-Russian match between fifth seed Ekaterina Alexandrova and Daria Kasatkina is the most interesting first round contest with the winner favored in the next match against either Ana Bogdan or a qualifier. This is by far the most predictable quarter and it would be a major surprise if anyone other than Martic got through it.
Prediction: Martic def. Kasatkina
Halep def. Yastremska, Martic def. Giorgi
Halep def. Martic