Schedule of play:
Caroline Wozniacki vs. Laura Robson
Wozniacki comes in with a 5 match losing streak with her last win dating all the way back in Charleston. That is not technically red clay so she is practically winless on clay. It doesn't bode well for the Dane as she comes in low on confidence and also fresh from sacking her long time coach, her irritating father Piotr. Kudos to her on doing what she should have done last year but to do so before a Grand Slam is a bit too drastic. Robson is on a high after upsetting Agnieszka Radwanska and Venus Williams in the past weeks. She will be confident of her chances against a deflated Wozniacki.
Pick: Robson in 2 sets
Flavia Pennetta vs. Kirsten Flipkens
Flipkens's clay results are abysmal as she was bounced out by lesser players throughout the past few events. She should have her hands full with seasoned clay courter, Flavia Pennetta. The Italian is slowly warming up to match conditions as she reached the semi-finals of Strasbourg last week. Her game fits naturally to clay so I don't see her losing this match. Flipkens should excel on other surfaces but clay is just too slow for her game.
Pick: Pennetta in 2 sets
Mona Barthel vs. Angelique Kerber
The ever dangerous Mona Barthel faces compatriot Angelique Kerber in this first round match. Kerber is under an injury cloud, having withdrawn from her last event in Rome. HOwever, Barthel has barely won matches on clay this season. This should be an interesting one as Mona tries to oust her higher ranked compatriot. Barthel has the game, but her poor choice of shot often causes her to lose unnecessary matches. Kerber makes the most of her limited game and fights like her life depends on it. So it's obvious who will emerge the winner, unless Mona has a crazy day where everything she hits lands in.
Pick: Kerber in 2 tight sets
Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Ekaterina Makarova
The dangerous floater meets another Russian, Makarova. Even though she is unseeded and was recently destroyed by Simona Halep, I still consider Kuznetsova to be a slight favourtie here. Makarova's game do not translate well on clay and her movement limitations are more exposed. Kuznetsova tends to lift her level on major events so I believe she will do so here.
Pick: Kuznetsova in 2 tight sets
Tamira Paszek vs. Melanie Oudin
How the hell is Tamira still seeded is beyond me. She has only won 1 match this year and will probably lose to anyone who is across the net. Oudin is not a threat to anyone but she will be thanking her gods for drawing this virtual bye.
Pick: Oudin in 2 sets
Sure win bets: Melanie Oudin, Romina Oprandi, Varvara Lepchenko, Francesca Schiavone, Roberta Vinci
Upset alert: Ekaterina Makarova, Kirsten Flipkens, Caroline Wozniacki, Garbine Muguruza, Christina McHale