WTA 2018 Luxembourg Open Draw: Preview & Analysis

Oct 18 5 min read

5:35 am

Vera Zvonareva & Ana Ivanovic on Flickr by Jean & Nathalie under CC2.0 

The 2018 Luxembourg Open is the final WTA International event before heading into the year end tour championships. Beginning as an exhibition event for its first five years, the event will offer the winner $250,000 - the highest prize money it has offered in its history of nearly three decades. The 2018 edition will see Julia Goerges headline the field followed by Garbine Muguruza, Carla Suarez Navarro, Katerina Siniakova and Donna Vekic. Defending champion Carina Witthoeft is unseeded for the event. Witthoeft jumped from World No.73 to 49 last year after winning the title at Luxembourg. She has regressed in 2018, currently at the cusp of the top 100. Camila Giorgi won the event at Linz last week and is seeded fourth for Luxembourg. However, the Italian had to withdraw due to a foot injury and ended her season with the Linz title. She was replaced by Varvara Lepchenko in the main draw. Here is how the ladies lineup for the indoor hard court event:

Top Half: Goerges, Navarro, Siniakova, Vekic

Top seed Julia Goerges will face Viktoria Kuzmova for the third time this year. Goerges won their previous two meetings without dropping a set. A third win against Kuzmova will see the German face Tatjana Maria or Anna Blinkova in the second round. Maria and Blinkova faced each other last week at Linz and the German won the match in three sets. Blinkova replaced 2017 runner-up Monica Puig in the main draw. Goerges has faced Maria only once and the latter won the match at Eastbourne in 2015. Goerges was the runner-up at Luxembourg in 2010 and makes a return to the event after four years. 2016 Champion and two-time runner-up Monica Niculescu will face wildcard entrant Fiona Ferro in the first round. Niculescu lost in the first round last year while defending her title. The winner will face sixth seed Donna Vekic or Anna Schmiedlova in the second round. A win for Vekic and Niculescu might see them face each other for a second career meeting. Goerges might face Vekic for a third career meeting in the quarter-finals.

Third seed Carla Suarez Navarro will make her fifth appearance at Luxembourg. The Spaniard has never made it past the Round of 16 and will face qualifier Kristyna Pliskova in the opening round this year. Navarro won their lone meeting at Linz in 2013. Since reaching the finals at Monterrey, Timea Babos has endured a horror season, losing 15 of her last 20 matches. The Hungarian makes her debut at Luxembourg and will face qualifier Eugenie Bouchard in the first round. Bouchard, who is on a four match losing streak in main draw matches, has never defeated Babos in two previous meetings. Navarro leads Babos 4-0 and leads Bouchard 3-1 in head to head record. 2018 Linz semi-finalists Andrea Petkovic and Alison van Uytvanck will face each other in the first round at Luxembourg. The duo have met only once before and Petkovic won that match in three sets at Antwerp in 2015. Both players' best result at Luxembourg is finishing in the final four stage. The winner will face Johanna Larsson or fifth seed Katerina Siniakova in the next round. Both players have met four times in the past and have won two matches apiece. However, Larsson has won their previous two encounters that took place this year. Siniakova and Navarro, who are 1-1 in the head to head record, are likely to contest the quarter-finals at Luxembourg. That being said, Petkovic, who is having a career revival can disrupt Siniakova's path to the final eight stage.

Probable semi-finals: Goerges vs Navarro

Bottom Half: Muguruza, Sakkari, Parmentier, Flipkens

Garbine Muguruza has been having a topsy-turvy season and the Spaniard has been seeded second at Luxembourg after reaching the semis at Hong Kong. Muguruza last appeared at Luxembourg as a qualifier in 2012 where she lost in the first round to Andrea Petkovic. Muguruza faces Voegele in the first round. The Spaniard has won both their previous two meetings and Voegele has never won more than three games against Muguruza in a set. 2018 Hong Kong Champion Dayana Yastremska will face lucky loser Varvara Lepchenko in the first round. Yastremska has been having a career best season, winning 40 of 58 matches. The Ukrainian is likely to face Muguruza in the second round. Making their main draw debut at Luxembourg, Dalila Jakupovic and Kateryna Kozlova will face each other for the first time in their career. The winner will face seventh seed Maria Sakkari or Margarita Gasparyan in the second round. Gasparyan comes to Luxembourg after reaching the quarter-finals at Linz, whereas Sakkari is on a four-match losing streak. Sakkari won her lone previous meeting against Gasparyan last month at Seoul.

Mandy Minella's record at Luxembourg is one she would like to forge, making first round exits in each of her nine appearances at her home tournament. Minella has got a wildcard in the event this year and faces ninth seed Kirsten Flipkens in the first round against whom Minella trails 4-0. Both players make their 10h main draw appearance at Luxembourg this year. The winner will face a qualifier in the next round - Belinda Bencic or Arantxa Rus. Bencic won their lone meeting at Taipei in 2017. Both players make their second appearance at Luxembourg and a return to the main draw after six years. Defending champion Carina Witthoeft will face Vera Lapko in the first round. The German has had the worst year of her career so far, playing with a win-loss record of 14-28. Lapko, on the other hand, has a stellar record on indoor hard courts this year, winning 11 of 14 matches. The winner will face eighth seed Pauline Parmentier or Viktorija Golubic in the second round. This is their first meeting on the pro circuit. Parmentier finished as the semi-finalist last year at Luxembourg. Golubic makes her second main draw appearance and will try record a win at the event for the first time in her career.

Probable semi-finals: Flipkens vs Yastremska