The grass court season has already started, beginning in modest with two International tournaments in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Nottingham. Simona Halep and Jelena Ostapenko reigned the clay swing; who’s turn will it be to start their grass court seasons with a bang? Previewing the Ricoh Open draw here.
First quarter: Headlined by (1) Dominika Cibulkova
So apparently, it seems like Agnieszka Radwanska has withdrawn from the tournament, and is replaced by Dominika Cibulkova? But anyway, in my opinion it is a good decision for the Slovak as she has been struggling on the tour recently, falling at the second hurdles in Madrid, Rome and the French Open. She has a good draw to kick off her grass court campaign with back-to-back wins (hasn’t done that since Miami), as she could start with two qualifiers. Looming in the quarterfinals is No.5 seed Ana Konjuh, who has the potential to play well on grass but has been struggling for form this season. She also starts off with a qualifier.
Second quarter: Headlined by (3) Kiki Bertens
Kiki Bertens will be hoping for hometown glory, however she has never done well on grass and her best result here was a semifinal in 2015. She will hope to do two better as she faces a dangerous floater in Andrea Petkovic, who has been struggling throughout the whole year, even switching to the ITF circuit for some form. Next up would be another dangerous player in Natalia Vikhlyantseva who has a big game that can translate to the grass courts. The other seed in this quarter is Timea Babos, who is decent on grass but she has been on a three-match losing streak. She starts off with wildcard Arantxa Rus then either a qualifier or Yaroslava Shvedova (another struggling player).
Third quarter: Headlined by (4) CoCo Vandeweghe
So apparently, CoCo Vandeweghe has hired a new coach; will that help her to capture her third title in s-Hertogenbosch? She is a dangerous quarter with the likes of Carina Witthoeft, who always seems to play better than her ranking, and former champion Camila Giorgi, who is even more dangerous on the grass. Looming in the quarterfinals are Kristyna Pliskova and Anett Kontaveit. It would be interesting to see if Kontaveit’s big game will be translated to the grass too.
Fourth quarter: Headlined by (2) Kristina Mladenovic
Since last year when Kristina Mladenovic reached the final here last year ranked No.32, her career has completely changed with the Frenchwoman now at a career-high ranking of No.13, with a first WTA title, not forgetting three other finals. She kicks off her grass court campaign against Risa Ozaki; then either Anna Kalinskaya or Aliaksandra Sasnovich, the latter another player I’ll be interested to see on grass. The other seeded player here, Lesia Tsurenko faces Elise Mertens, the Belgian in her breakthrough site where she reached the quarterfinals last year. The winner of this match faces a qualifier or Jelena Jankovic, the Serbian has been struggling so much this season to close out matches. Hopefully her season will turn around during the grass swing!
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