WTA Toronto: Preview & Predictions


WTA Toronto: Will Serena get the elbow and suffer a second defeat of the year?

The 2015 Rogers Cup gets underway this week on the hard courts in Toronto, Canada. As the first Premier 5 level event of the summer, the majority of the world’s top players are in action. Only Maria Sharapova and Madison Keys are missing amongst the current top 20 with Sharapova withdrawing due to a right leg strain.

The Rogers Cup is the second Premier level stop on the US Open Series, which consists of a number of North American tournaments played throughout the summer. Whoever gathers the most points in these tournaments stands to potentially earn an extra $1 million in prize money should they win the US Open too.

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Here’s a preview of the draw and who I think will reach the semi finals.


Top Half: (1) Serena Williams vs Belinda Bencic

(1) Serena Williams has been suffering with an elbow injury since winning Wimbledon, withdrawing from Bastad and Stanford since. Though a former three time champion here, Williams might struggle considering her ailment and the lack of match play. Flavia Pennetta, a former top ten player might await in the second round, as may (16) Andrea Petkovic in the third round.

(7) Lucie Safarova hasn’t played since Wimbledon and could face in-form Samantha Stosur in her opener, who recently won Bad Gastein and is currently set to play in the semis at Washington. If she wins that match, as her head to head record indicates she should,  Safarova could well fall foul of (10) Karolina Pliskova in the third round, who’s currently in the Stanford semis and will be a top 10 player as of next week.

Considering William’s enviable 40-1 win-loss ratio this year, I can’t go against her but if she is injured, Karolina Pliskova is my back up.

(4) Caroline Wozniacki wasn’t in top health either in Stanford, struggling with a knee injury in going out in the second round. The 2010 champion will have an extremely tough opener against either Eugenie Bouchard or Belinda Bencic and with potential meetings against (16) Venus Williams, Sabine Lisicki or her Stanford conqueror, Varvara Lepchenko further down the line, the odds don’t look good for the Dane.

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(5) Ana Ivanovic hasn’t played since Wimbledon and her form as of late has been pitiful. Irina Camelia Begu is in good form and could account for the 2006 champion in the second round. (11) Ekaterina Makarova is currently in the semis at Washington and could well have to tackle Begu again, as she did in the quarters there.

In a very tough section to predict, I think that Belinda Bencic has a slight edge. However, if Venus Williams survives her opener against Lisicki (which I don’t think she will), she’s my favourite to go on and reach the semis.

Bottom Half: Azarenka vs (14) Kerber

(8) Garbine Muguruza will be playing her first tournament since the Wimbledon final and as a top 10 player. Considering this, as well as the fact that she withdrew from Stanford, I expect her opener against a qualifier will be extremely tough. (13) Timea Bacsinszky has been playing very confidently all year and could have the opportunity to avenge her Wimbledon defeat against the Spaniard.

(3) Petra Kvitova hasn’t played since her disastrous Wimbledon third round loss and will have her work cut out in her opener. The 2012 champion will face either Victoria Azarenka or Elina Svitolina, who’s currently in the Stanford semis. If she survives that round, the draw opens up with (15) Sara Errani unlikely to reach the last sixteen.

If Azarenka comes through against Svitolina and Kvitova, I expect her to reach the semis. If she doesn’t however, I favour Bacsinszky.

(6) Agnieszka Radwanska is back to her best and has just lost a hard fought quarter final in Stanford against Angelique Kerber. The defending champion could well have her work cut out against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the second round, who’s currently in the semis at Washington.  So too is Sloane Stephens, who could well sneak through at the expense of (9) Carla Suarez Navarro, considering the Spaniard’s sudden loss of form.

(2) Simona Halep took a late wildcard into this event, no doubt feeling very under-matched considering her terrible first round loss at Wimbledon. With either Jelena Jankovic or Caroline Garcia in her opener and potentially current Stanford semi finalist, (13) Angelique Kerber further down the line, the odds of Halep going deep seem limited.

I think that we could well see a repeat of Stanford in the quarters, with Radwanska facing Kerber. Considering the result there, I’d give Kerber a slight edge.

Next: WTA Stanford: Semi Final Predictions

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