(1) Lucie Safarova vs Kristina Mladenovic
Number 1 seed Lucie Safarova opens her Washington campaign on tuesday against Kristina Mladenovic. Safarova comes into this event full of confidence after reaching the semi-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career at Wimbledon. Kristina Mladenovic will also come to Washington with a bit of confidence, reaching the semi-finals in Istanbul and winning a couple of matches at the Baku Cup.
This will be the first meeting between the pair. Perhaps Lucie will be a little rusty given this is her first tournament since Wimbledon whilst Mladenovic has hard court matches under her belt having played in Istanbul and Baku. Certainly a danger match for Lucie but despite this Lucie should still be too strong for Mladenovic.
Prediction: Lucie Safarova to defeat Kristina Mladenovic in three sets
Magdalena Rybarikova vs (2) Ekaterina Makarova
Two time defending champion Magdalena Rybarikova takes on second seed Ekaterina Makarova in the opening round in Washington D.C.Last year Rybarikova defeated Andrea Petkovic to defend her title at the Citi Open. However, Rybarikova comes into this tournament deprived of confidence having lost four matches in a row. Makarova’s recent form has been much more impressive, the Russian had a good run at Wimbledon, routing Radwanska on route to the quarter-finals before falling to Safarova.
These two have met on two previous occasions, Rybarikova has come out on top on both occasions. There last meeting was at this very event last year, Rybarikova smashed Makarova 6-2 6-0. On this occasion Makarova should be too good for the two time defending champion who is really struggling at the moment.
Prediction: Ekaterina Makarova to defeat Magdalena Rybarikova in straight sets
Christina McHale vs (4) Sloane Stephens
Sloane Stephens begins her quest for a maiden WTA title when she takes on compatriot Christina McHale. Both Stephens and McHale are coming off disappointing first round losses at Wimbledon. Perhaps this was a loss loss that Stephens needed, she can’t just expect things to click at Grand Slams, she needs to be more consistent. Here lies an opportunity for Stephens to claim her first title and gain some momentum heading into the U.S Open.
This will be the first time these two have played. I suspect Sloane will be too solid and consistent for McHale. It would be rather disastrous for Sloane if she were to lose another first round match.
Prediction: Sloane Stephens to defeat Christina McHale in three sets