WTA 2018 Wuhan Open Draw: Previews & Analysis
Sep 24 5 min read12:33 pm
The WTA season now heads to Wuhan, where the final Premier 5 event of the calendar takes place. The tournament that started in 2014 at the hometown of Li Na will see nine of the Top 10 players in action during the 2018 edition. The second largest women's tournament in China will see defending champion Caroline Garcia as the fourth seed and World No.1 Simona Halep being the top seed. Two-time Wuhan champion Petra Kvitova is seeded fifth for the event. Arguably one of the most competitive lineups of the year, here is how the players are drawn against each other:
First Quarter: Halep, Svitolina, Kasatkina, Goerges
Simona Halep received a bye in the opening round and awaits the winner of Dominika Cibulkova and lucky loser Monica Niculescu. Niculescu made it to the main draw after Magdalena Rybarikova withdrew from the tournament. Cibulkova and Niculescu will meet each other for the second time in their career, after facing each other a decade back at a Tier 2 event in Los Angeles. Moreover, a win for Cibulkova would boost her as she holds a 4-2 record in her favour against Halep. Lesia Tsurenko and Daria Kasatkina face each other for the third time - the former having won both their previous meetings. The victor will meet the winner of Bernarda Pera and Xiyu Wang in the second round.
Victoria Azarenka's withdrawal from Wuhan means that Marketa Vondrousova will be facing 11th seed Julia Goerges in the first round. Vondrousova defeated Goerges earlier this year at Stuttgart. 2018 US Open quarter-finalist Carla Suarez Navarro will face Aryna Sabalenka in the first round. Sabalenka has already registered six wins over Top 10 players and defeated Suarez Navarro at New Haven this year. The winner of the match will face Elina Svitolina in the second round.
Probable quarter-finals: Halep vs Sabalenka
Second Quarter: Kerber, Kvitova, Barty, Bertens
Having received a bye in the first round, 2015 Wuhan semi-finalist and reigning Wimbledon Champion Angelique Kerber will face the winner of Madison Keys and qualifier Qiang Wang. If Keys wins, she will face Kerber for the 10th time in her career. Kerber leads the rivalry 7-2 but it was Keys who won their last meeting at Cincinnati this year. Ashleigh Barty will face Johanna Konta for the fourth time in her career. Barty leads Konta 2-1 with one of those wins coming here at Wuhan last year. The victor will face the winner of wildcard entrant Saisai Zheng and Danielle Collins.
Kiki Bertens comes to Wuhan in red-hot form after winning the Korea Open last week. She will be up against Switzerland's Belinda Bencic who will look forward to avenge her defeat to Bertens last year at Indian Wells. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will face Anastasija Sevastova for the sixth time in her career. The Russia has dominated the rivalry winning all five previous, dropping only one set against her. Fifth seed Petra Kvitova has a bye in the opening round and awaits the winner of Camila Giorgi and Aleksandra Krunic, who meet for the first time. Giorgi reached the semi-finals at the Toray Pan Pacific Open last week, defeating Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka en route. Krunic leads Kvitova 1-0 whereas Giorgi is tied 1-1 with the Czech.
Probable quarter-finals: Kerber vs Kvitova
Third Quarter: Garcia, Stephens, Muguruza, Kontaveit
Naomi Osaka's withdrawal means that she is the only Top 10 player who won’t be making an appearance at Wuhan main draw this year. She was replaced by Polona Hercog who will face Shuai Zhang or Sam Stosur in the second round. Zhang leads Stosur 2-1 but trials Hercog 0-1. Donna Vekic finished in the final four stage in Tokyo and will now face Coco Vandeweghe in the first round at Wuhan. Vekic has never defeated Vandeweghe in two previous meetings. The winner will face ninth seed Sloane Stephens or Anett Kontaveit in the next round. Stephens suffered a first round exit against Donna Vekic last week in Tokyo.
2015 Wuhan finalist Garbine Muguruza is currently on a streak of five consecutive second round exits. She faces Alison Van Uytvanck in the first round who is on a four-match losing streak. However, the Belgian got the better of Muguruza at Wimbledon this year and will certainly pose as a challenge for the Spaniard. The winner of that match will face a qualifier in the second round. Defending champion Caroline Garcia awaits the winner of Kristina Mladenovic and qualifier Katerina Siniakova in the second round. Mladenovic and Siniakova will faceoff for the seventh time with their rivalry poised at 3-3. A win for Siniakova means she will meet Garcia for the fifth time in her career. The duo are 2-2 in their head to head meetings.
Probable quarter-finals: Stephens vs Garcia
Fourth Quarter: Pliskova, Wozniacki, Mertens, Ostapenko
Defending Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki has not been able to get past the Round of 16 at Wuhan in the past three years. She is 2-5 in her win-loss record since winning the title at Eastbourne. Seeded second, the Dane got a bye into the second round and will face the winner of Timea Babos and Rebecca Peterson. Kirsten Flipkens has won both previous meetings against Monica Puig and now faces her for the third time in the first round at Wuhan. The winner will face Aliaksandra Sasnovich or Elise Mertens in the second round. Sasnovich won her previous and lone meeting against Mertens last year at Cincinnati.
Daria Gavrilova will face 10th seed Jelena Ostapenko for the first time. Ostapenko has a win-loss record of 11-12 on hard court this year. The winner will face Barbora Strycova or Alize Cornet in the next round. Strycova trails Cornet 2-5, which include her Fed Cup finals win against Cornet. Maria Sakkari has lost both her previous meetings to Qiang Wang and will now face her yet again in the opening round of Wuhan. The winner will face 2018 Toray Pan Pacific Open champion Karolina Pliskova who is seeded eighth. Wang, Strycova and Puig are Pliskova's probable opponents in the subsequent rounds.
Probable quarter-finals: Pliskova vs Puig