WTA Beijing: Preview & Predictions


WTA Beijing: With Serena & Maria out, can Simona take advantage?

The 2015 China Open gets underway this week on the hard courts in Beijing, China.

As the final Premier Mandatory level event of the season, there are 1000 points available to the champion. For this reason, the majority of the places at the WTA Finals in Singapore will be decided this week.

Serena Williams has already called time on her season and the defending champion here, Maria Sharapova has withdrew due to the arm injury she incurred in Wuhan. With this in mind, Simona Halep is the only certain qualifier for the WTA Finals thus far. Also, with potential qualifiers like Flavia Pennetta undecided about when she’ll retire and Lucie Safarova unable to play at present due to illness, it’s all to play for this week with 6 or even 7 places up for grabs.

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


First Quarter: (1) Simona Halep vs (11) Belinda Bencic 

(1) Simona Halep will be glad that she’s already secured her place in Singapore considering her poor results in Guangzhou and Wuhan. She could face Alize Cornet in the 2nd round, who beat her earlier this year in Madrid. (13) Roberta Vinci’s in the form of her life, reaching the US Open final and the semis in Wuhan. However, I’d favour Halep to come through should the two meet as expected in the 3rd round.

(5) Garbine Muguruza returned to form this week with a run to the Wuhan final. However, she injured her ankle during the semis and was forced to retire midway through the final. For this reason, I find it hard to see her recovering in time for this week. (11) Belinda Bencic recently made the final in Tokyo at the expense of Muguruza and should have recovered from the fatigue which contributed to her retirement early in Wuhan this week.

Second Quarter: (4) Agnieszka Radwanska vs (10) Angelique Kerber

(4) Agnieszka Radwanska won Tokyo a couple of weeks ago and should be well rested considering her 1st round exit in Wuhan. The 2011 champion may encounter her US Open conqueror, (14) Madison Keys in the 3rd round but I wouldn’t be surprised if Keys lost out before then. For this reason, I give consistent Radwanska the edge in this section.

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(8) Caroline Wozniacki admitted feeling fatigued last week in Wuhan and has a difficult opener against the qualifier, Bojana Jovanovski. The Serb has beaten the 2010 champion twice before and I struggle to see Wozniacki going deeper than the 3rd round at best. (10) Angelique Kerber comes in behind a run to the Wuhan semis but will have her work cut out either way against 2008 champion, Jelena Jankovic or Dominika Cibulkova in her opener. Nevertheless, I think she’s up to the task and will probably pull through, beating Wozniacki if necessary to reach the quarters.

Third Quarter: (6) Ana Ivanovic vs (16) Elina Svitolina

(6) Ana Ivanovic has already won her 1st round match in Beijing but will now face this week’s Wuhan champion, Venus Williams. Despite Williams’s commanding head to head lead against the Serb, I don’t think she’ll be physically up to another deep run here. (9) Karolina Pliskova has been in pretty solid form lately with quarter final losses in Tokyo and Wuhan but has a tough draw against Sloane Stephens and the 2006/09 champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova. If Pliskova doesn’t make the 3rd round, I favour Ivanovic to come through.

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(3) Flavia Pennetta could be appearing for the final time this week, having already announced her intention to retire at the end of the year. The US Open champion hasn’t played a match since winning there and will no doubt find it hard to remain motivated. For that reason, I expect her to lose out earlier than expected of her seeding. (16) Elina Svitolina has only been losing to the very best players all summer and given the openness of this section, I expect her to take advantage.

Fourth Quarter: Tsvetana Pironkova vs (13) Andrea Petkovic

(7) Carla Suarez Navarro might have won a couple of matches in her past 2 events but hasn’t won back to back matches since June. For that reason, I think she’ll have her work cut out to beat Lesia Tsurenko in the 1st round, let alone make the quarters. As (12) Timea Bacsinszky has only just won her 1st match since Wimbledon in the 1st round here, I don’t expect her to have much luck either. With neither seed in any sort of form, I think that the likes of Tsvetana Pironkova or qualifier Monica Puig could take advantage.

(2) Petra Kvitova failed to defend her title in Wuhan, losing in the 3rd round. As a finalist here last year, she stands to lose more points, especially given her tough draw against Sara Errani in her opener and potentially Caroline Garcia in the 2nd round. 2011 finalist, (13) Andrea Petkovic hasn’t won a match since the US Open but could take advantage of this section of the draw, where the ever unpredictable Eugenie Bouchard and Samantha Stosur reside.

Next: WTA Wuhan: Final Prediction

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