For Magda Linette, the return of the WTA Tour comes as a shot at course correction. Coming off of a terrific season in 2019 that saw her rise to a career-high ranking, the Polish No. 1 player made a sub-par start to the season in January.
Linette made first round exits at three of her first four tournaments this year. And just when she began to show signs of revival (with a title run in Hua Hin), the COVID-19 pandemic hit the tour.
The Pole will be eager to get back out on the court and pick up where she left off in February.
Linette's first round opponent in the 2020 Top Seed Open is the talented Lauren Davis. Interestingly, the American is one of the players who got the better of Linette at the start of the year.
Davis belongs to the crop of the surprisingly well-rounded American players who were on the ascent during the mid-2010s, but failed to stay in the spotlight for long. She, alongside the likes of CoCo Vandeweghe and Christina McHale, fell victim to the overcrowded field of American players in the 2010s and were later overlooked in favor of the more flashy juniors.
That brings us to the point of discussion: Lauren Davis' very solid, if sometimes subtle overall game. The American, even at the age of 26, can outrun and outlast anyone on tour. Her backhand is an absolutely cracker, and she is an underrated volleyer.
Davis can play on just about every surface, and has very few weaknesses that the opponents can easily exploit.
Magda Linette vs Lauren Davis head-to-head
Lauren Davis has beaten Magda Linette in three out of four prior meetings, including in Hobart at the start of this year. The American has also managed to string a few encouraging results together since her big return at Wimbledon 2019, and all of that bodes well for her.
Linette, however, is no pushover. Much like Davis, she has also played a big part of her career under the shadow of more accomplished Polish names.
It has taken an immense amount of effort for Linette to reach where she is today. She had earlier talked about shifting base to China for better training and getting a new team to work with. A lot of her interviews focus on a renewed mindset and an emphasis on self-belief, something that she thought were lacking in her game.
Linette has always had a solid serve and great groundstrokes, but it is the intent that she now puts into every single one of her matches that often sees her through in the end.
Magda Linette vs Lauren Davis prediction
This is a difficult match to call, with both women being exceptional fighters and having similar all-round games. And while Davis has an edge in the head-to-head, it is Linette who has shown greater progress in recent months.
Also, the feeling of wanting to avenge her loss in January might just give her the extra motivation to succeed here.
Prediction: Magda Linette to win in three sets.Published 10 Aug 2020, 19:11 IST