21-year-old Russian qualifier watch Pavel Kotov will play the first tour-level match of his career when he faces Ugo Humbert on Tuesday. His French opponent is one of the more unfortunate players on tour this year after Humbert gathered some real momentum by winning the ASB Classic in Auckland at the start of the year but he comes into this from a poor French Open campaign. As a relative unknown and playing at home Kotov could have some tricks up his sleeve for Humbert but the young French prospect should be able to survive a potential scare to reach the second round.If you discount her performances in the exhibition competitions during the pandemic break Sevastova had endured a horror run before the tour went into suspension. She played seven matches and her only win came in a Fed Cup match.Here’s why I think she might have been a tad unlucky though and why we could afford to ignore that showing.Sevastova suffered losses at the hands of Sofia Kenin in Brisbane, Donna Vekic in Adelaide Ajla Tomljanovic at the Australian Open Marketa Vondrousova in Dubai and Anett Kontaveit in Doha to go with another defeat to Kenin in the Fed Cup.Other than Tomljanovic who is 56th in the world all the other opponents she faced are higher-pedigreed players, and to face them that early in competitions would have to translate into some of the worst luck as far as draws go.Also there’s that small matter of Sevastova’s only win this season so far. Granted it was a one-off but that victory came against Serena Williams against the run of play and almost helped Latvia complete a shock upset of USA.Discounting what she did during the pandemic break it hasn’t been a great tennis year for Begu, this 2020. She started off her season on a positive note when the Romanian won a couple of qualifiers in Shenzhen to move into the main draw but was dumped out by Kristyna Pliskova in straight sets in the first.Another qualifier win followed in Hobart but this time around she did not even make it to the main draw, losing her next match to Sorana Cirstea. And then drawn to play Kiki Bertens in the opening round at the Australian Open Begu won just five games in that match.In a bid to get some form going, Begu then played in the lower circuit losing in the second round in Cairo before finally showing some form. Begu defeated the likes of Monica Barthel Taylor Townsend Jessica Pegula and Misaki Doi to lift the Indian Wells $125k competition.She featured in a few exhibition matches on clay but was knocked out in the first round at Palermo by Laura Siegmund. A similar fate awaits here if she doesn’t up the ante.
Anastasia Sevastova v Irina-Camelia Begu Prediction & Tip
It’s a curious encounter this but one we think Sevastova should win. We will have to wait to find out whether she will be stretched or not so we will play it safe here.Tip: Sevastova to win: 4/9 (bet365)You can watch & bet on the WTA Prague on Tuesday August 11 here. Get the latest tennis predictions and tips here.
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