Previewing the second last hard court tournament, in Monterrey, before the WTA players head to the clay court tournaments.
First quarter: Headlined by (1) Angelique Kerber
World No.1 Angelique Kerber will be bidding for her first title of the season in Monterrey. Kerber is the only top 10 player in the draw so it will be surprising if she does not come out champion after the tournament. It will be even more shocking if Kerber does not reach the semifinals here. Her first round opponent, Francesca Schiavone, hasn’t won a single main draw match in the season. Meanwhile her other players in the draw excluding Makarova has combined for only nine WTA main draw wins in 2017! Kerber’s fellow seed, Ekaterina Makarova is in poor form, and her opener against Denise Allertova is a potential banana skin.
Quarter-Finalists: Kerber, Makarova
Second quarter: Headlined by (4) Carla Suarez Navarro
This is a very interesting second quarter. Many of the players here, including seeds Carla Suarez Navarro and Alizé Cornet, are either returning from injury or in bad form. So who will come out tops in this quarter? Not very confident about Suarez Navarro, she had some disappointing losses so far so I’m going with Cornet but that’s a wild pick!
Quarter-Finalists: Suarez Navarro, Cornet
Third quarter: Headlined by (3) Caroline Garcia
The last time when I picked Caroline Garcia to win an International tournament (Kuala Lumpur), she lost in the first round. Will she do better in this International tourney? It’s not a surprise if she does so. She faces Mexican wildcard Zarazua in the first round, then Madison Brengle or a qualifier in the second round. Her potential quarterfinal opponents are prone to surprising losses Christina McHale, or KL finalist Nao Hibino.
Quarter-Finalists: Hibino, Garcia
Fourth quarter: Healdined by (2) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is arguably the biggest challenge for Kerber, but can she make it all the way to the final? She is prone to shockers too but the draw seems kind to her. Quarterfinal opponents for Pavlyuchenkova could be No.5 seed Timea Babos or up and coming Catherine Bellis.
Quarter-Finalists: Bellis, Pavlyuchenkova
Finalists: Kerber, Pavlyuchenkova
Final thoughts on the draw: If Kerber doesn’t win this tournament, I don’t think she ever will win one if she doesn’t improve on her game. Notably, her serve level has dropped a lot and her backhand has faltered at important moments.
Also, I’m curious at Suarez Navarro’s results. She hasn’t done well since coming back form her injuries, losing her last three matches on the tour. Cornet’s also coming back from injury, so I’m not very confident if she can indeed make it to the semis.
That’s the end of the preview. 😊