WTA 2018 Hong Kong Open Draw: Preview & Analysis
Oct 10 4 min read4:31 am
The ninth edition of the Hong Kong Open will begin on 8th October with 280 points up for grabs for the winner. The top seed for the event is Elina Svitolina, who makes her second appearance at Hong Kong. Defending champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova decided to participate in Linz instead of Hong Kong this year. 2018 US Open Champion Naomi Osaka was the second seed but pulled out of the tournament to avoid aggravating a lower back injury. As a result, Julia Glushko entered the main draw as the lucky loser. Fifth seed Lesia Tsurenko also withdrew before the tournament, allowing Viktoriya Tomova to enter the tournament as a lucky loser. Caroline Dolehide is the third lucky loser to feature in the draw as she comes in place of Ekaterina Makarova. Here is how the field looks at Hong Kong this year:
Top Half: Svitolina, Muguruza, Wang, Cornet
Top seed Elina Svitolina is yet to win a match during the Asian Swing this year. The Ukrainian lost both her first-up matches at Beijing and Wuhan in three sets. Last year, Svitolina had to withdraw from Hong Kong due to an injury. Looking physically fit this year, Svitolina will take on wildcard entrant Priscilla Hon in the first round. The winner will face last year's quarter-finalist Sam Stosur or qualifier Nao Hibino in the second round. Christina McHale returns to Hong Kong after three years and still seeks a maiden match win at the event. The American will face wildcard entrant Eudice Chong in the first round. The victor will face the winner of sixth seed Qiang Wang or wildcard entrant Ling Zhang. Wang has been at her peak form in the past two weeks, reaching the semis at both Wuhan and Beijing. Svitolina and Wang might converge to face each other in the quarter-finals if they are able to get past their respective first two round matches. Svitolina leads Wang 3-0 in the head to head record, of which two wins have come in 2018.
In the seven tournaments she has played since reaching the semis at Roland Garros, former World No.1 Garbine Muguruza has won consecutive matches only once. The Spaniard is currently under a rough patch of form and enters Hong Kong for the first time in her career as the fourth seed. She faces compatriot Sara Sorribes Tormo in the opening round. A win will draw her against Ana Bogdan or Caroline Dolehide. Bogdan is currently on a four-match losing streak whereas her opponent Dolehide is on a five-match losing streak. Bogdan lost to Muguruza earlier this year in the semis at Monterrey and will look forward to avenge her loss to the Spaniard who is in a visibly disturbing form. Two-time quarter-finalist Alize Cornet is seeded eighth at the event and will face Julia Glushko in the first round. The winner will face Jennifer Brady or Luksika Kumkhum in the second round. If Cornet is able to get till the quarter-finals she might face Muguruza if the Spaniard is able to find her form in the nick of time. Muguruza leads Cornet 2-1, with their last meeting ending up in Muguruza retiring mid-match.
Probable semi-finals: Svitolina vs Cornet
Bottom Half: Ostapenko, Gavrilova, Niculescu, Zhang
Third seed Jelena Ostapenko has a win-loss record of 2-3 during the Asian swing this year. The 2017 French Open champion has struggled on tour ever since reaching the semis of Wimbledon and will now face Kristina Kucova in the first round. The winner will face Dalila Jakupovic or Viktoriya Tomova in the second round. Saisai Zheng will face Aleksandra Krunic in their second career meeting. Zheng won their first meeting at Guangzhou three years ago in straight sets. The winner will face Fanny Stollar or Dayana Yastremska in the second round.
Seventh seed and last year's runner-up Daria Gavrilova will face Zarina Diyas in the first round at Hong Kong. The pair are poised at 1-1 in the head to head record but it was Diyas who won their lone hard court meeting at Miami in 2016. The winner will face Monica Niculescu or Ons Jabeur in the next round. Niculescu makes her first appearance at Hong Kong since 2014 when she lost to Sabine Lisicki in the first round. Asian Games finalist Shuai Zhang will face qualifier Sabina Sharipova in the first round. If she wins, Zhang will face another qualifier in the second round - Bibiane Schoofs or Lesley Kerkhove.