Volvo Car Open 2017 WTA Preview

The Miami Open just ended, and we’re already onto the clay season!! The Volvo Car Open in Charleston is one of my favourite tournaments (I don’t know why but it is!) and the draw was out a few hours ago. Let’s break down the draw…

*This post was made before Johanna Konta’s withdrawal.*

First quarter: Headlined by (1) Madison Keys and (7) Kiki Bertens

Once I saw the Charleston draw, I found a few eye-catching rematches from 2017. Lucic-Baroni-Brady, Keys-Osaka(!), Osaka-Zhang, Lucic-Baroni-Bondarenko are just a few rematches that caught my eye.

Now, let’s look at the potential road for top seed Madison Keys. It’s just Keys’ third tournament of the year, so I’m not having the highest expectations for her. However, her draw is manageable and I see her reaching the semifinals. She could face compatriot Shelby Rogers in her opener, then either Zhang Shuai or Naomi Osaka in the third. If Osaka and Keys do face each other, I’ll give the edge to Keys though. From last year’ clay season, Osaka’s best results came in a third round appearance at Roland Garros but fell in qualifying/first round at the other tournaments. I don’t really remember watching Osaka play on clay yet, but we’ll see in her first rounder against Johanna Larsson.

At the bottom half of the quarter is a complete open draw. The highest seed there, Kiki Bertens, has been struggling for form this season. She has a 4-9 Win-Loss record so far, and she really needs to get it going if she does not want to slip down the rankings as she is defending semifinal points at Roland Garros. Anyway, I’m giving the thumbs-up to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni to make it to the quarterfinals. She’s in great form, and it doesn’t seem like any other player would be able to beat her in that section.

Quarter-Finalists: Keys, Lucic-Baroni

Semi-Finalist: Keys

Second quarter: Headlined by (4) Elena Vesnina and (5) Caroline Wozniacki

*Line 25 Gavrilova is replaced by LL Grave Min* Caroline Wozniacki is coming off Miami in great form but with a tinge of disappointment. The Dane fell to Johanna Konta in the final, which was her third final of the season where she lost. Will it be ‘fourth times the charm’ for Wozniacki? She has a fine draw to navigate. The No.5 seed plays Louisa Chirico or Anikka Beck in the second round, then is projected to play Sara Errani in the  round of 16.

After her biggest title ever in Indian Wells, Elena Vesnina lost to Alja Tomljanovic in the second round in disappointing fashion. She’ll want to prove it that her Indian Wells triumph wasn’t a fluke, and her draw is fine enough for her to get far in the tournament. She will play a qualifier in her opening encoutner, then either Jelena Ostapenko or in-form Lauren Davis in the third round.

Quarter-Finalists: Vesnina, Wozniacki

Semi-Finalist: Wozniacki

Third quarter: Headlined by (3) Venus Williams and (8) Anastasija Sevastova

Will Venus Williams get her 50th WTA tittle in Charleston? It seems like a fitting place to do so; it’s in USA and she’s a former champion, winning it in 2014. She plays Lesia Tsurenko, who has been struggling with injuries, or Laura Siegemund, who has been struggling for form so far. Next, she could face Lucie Safarova or fellow countrywomen Bethanie Mattek-Sands or Varvara Lepchenko in the third round. Yes, Safarova could meet Mattek-Sands in the second round! (In case you’re wondering, their HTH is at 3-1, in favour of Safarova.)

Still can’t believe Anastasija Sevastova is a Top 8 seed haha! The only thing she did this year was a semifinal at Dubai so I’m not very confident of her making the quarterfinals. Maybe Lara Arruabarrena can make a run here? She loves clay, and made her first Top 10 win over Madison Keys in Miami. Or Andrea Petkovic, the winner in 2014? My dark horse pick though is Yulia Putintseva, she was impressive in the match against Karolina Pliskova in Miami even though she lost in straights.

Quarter-Finalists: Putintseva, Safarova

Semi-Finalist: Safarova

Fourth quarter: Headlined by (2) Johanna Konta and (6) Samantha Stosur

*Line 64 Konta is replaced by Gavrilova* Congrats on your Miami title, Jo Konta! The scoreline in the final was really impressive, given she was facing a red hot Caroline Wozniacki. Hopefully I’m able to watch the full final later! Anyways, back to the draw. It seems really kind for Konta, given that Katerina Siniakova hasn’t really done a lot this year after her Shenzhen title, Daria Kasatkina is struggling for consistency, and so is Danka Kovinic and Alison Riske. However Konta withdrawed from Charleston, leaving the draw pretty open for the unseeded players.

I’m pretty clueless with the Stosur section. None of the eight players above have shined this year, but maybe Irina-Camelia Begu will be able to get into the quarterfinals. The Romanian has struggled too, going 2-8 (:O) on the season so far. But last year’s clay season was where she made her moves, and the draw gives her a chance to do so.

Quarter-Finalists: Begu, Gavrilova

Semi-Finalist: Begu

Finalists: Keys, Safarova

Winner: Keys

Final thoughts on the draw: I’m curious how Keys will do in Charleston, and on the clay season. She surprisingly did well on the dirt last year, and it’s just her third tournament of the year, so I’m really curious on her results.

Also interested with how Konta and Wozniacki will be in Charleston. Woz has been playing a lot of tennis this season – will she once again do well on the green clay? Will Konta replicate her form in a Miami?

Venus Williams is another one to look out for me. I picked Safarova to go through in the third quarter, but Venus certaintly stands a chance too. Just not sure if Venus will be in top form in Charleston, she has played a lot of tennis too, making the quarterfinals in Indian Wells and semifinals in Miami.

I’m excited for Charleston! I remember watching the tournament from tele last year so I’m pretty sure the time zone will let me watch some matches throughout the week! Cheers to tennis! 😀

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