With Angelique Kerber returning to defend her title, Karolina Pliskova and Agnieszka Radwanska on their weaker surfaces, Simona Halep looking forward to be back on her beloved clay, and Maria Sharapova returning back to tennis, Stuttgart is an attention-grabbing tournament. So where did the players lend up in the draw? I’ll break down the draw in this preview and predict who will be the eventual champion.
*Note: This preview is written before Dominika Cibulkova’s withdrawal. Changes are now made.*
The match to look out for is a all-Spaniard match up in the form of Garbine Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro. The former doubles partners are both on their favourite surfaces; this should be a really good one to watch. However Dominika Cibulkova has withdrawn for the tournament, so now Suarez Navarro starts off with a qualifier/LL. With this, top seed Angelique Kerber’s draw is slightly easier – she will play Kristina Mladenovic or Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in the second round, then Russians Elena Vesnina & Daria Kasatkina (who both beat her in 2017) or Spaniards Muguruza and Suarez Navarro are quarterfinal opponents.
Second quarter: Headlined by (5) Garbine Muguruza and (7) Agnieszka Radwanska
Looking for Sharapova’s name in the draw? There she is… just two names away from Agnieszka Radwanska! Come on, why must she be in Aga’s quarter? 😩 The wildcard starts off against Roberta Vinci, which will be very interesting to watch if Sharapova can handle the variety by Vinci. Radwanska on the other hand plays flat-hitting Ekaterina Makarova, who has beaten her before but is in bad form of late. The player who holds the reigns in this quarter, now Muguruza (after Cibulkova’s withdrawal), plays a qualifier or Ana Konjuh in the second round. The fast clay surface will be a factor for Konjuh.
Quarter-Finalists: Muguruza, Sharapova
Third quarter: Headlined by (3) Simona Halep and (6) Johanna Konta
That awkward moment between Romania and Great Britain in the Fed Cup… Simona Halep and Johanna Konta could face each other in the quarterfinals once again. Halep starts off with a qualifier or Barbora Strycova in her opener, and Konta faces a qualifier first then either Samantha Stosur or Sevastova, who are both comfortable on clay. I don’t really know too much about Konta and clay together, so going for a safe pick in the form of Stosur.
Fourth quarter: Headlined by (2) Karolina Pliskova and (8) Svetlana Kuznetsova
This is a quarter which anyone can go through… especially the last part of the draw! Coco Vandeweghe and Karolina Pliskova don’t go well with the cla, maybe the qualifier can get through from there! On top, a variety of players can go into the quarters. Kiki Bertens, 2016 French Open semi finalist and 2016 Stuttgart finalist Laura Siegemund love the clay, but the latter’s opponent Zhang Shuai has beaten Siegemund before. Plus top it up with a Kuznetsova. Things can get messy here.
Finalists: Muguruza, Halep
Hopefully you enjoyed the preview! Daily and full draw predictions will be out soon.