I will be having a busy week but coverage of one of the best, or the best International tournament of the year in Bastad will continue with predictions and roundups. The draw is once again great considering it’s an International and I’ll be breaking down it in this preview…
First quarter: Headlined by (1) Caroline Wozniacki
Could we see the top seed, Caroline Wozniacki, out in the first round? It certaintly is a possibility as the Dane plays clay expert Pauline Parmentier in the first round. Unlike Parmentier, as we all now Wozniacki doesn’t play well on clay, and I’m really surprised she isn’t getting ready yet for the US hard courts where she usually thrives on. The winner plays Viktorija Golubic or a qualifier/LL next, before a potential clash with home hope Johanna Larsson in the quarterfinals. Larsson is coming here after winning the doubles title with Kiki Bertens in Gstaad and she’ll be looking to reach her third final on home soil.
Second quarter: Headlined by (5) Carla Suarez Navarro
The second quarter is headlined by Carla Suarez Navarro. Everyone knows her potentials on clay, and once again this season her best results have come on this surface. She reached the fourth round in Roland Garros, made quarterfinals in Stuttgart and Strasbourg, and most recently reached the semifinals in Bucharest where a fatigued Spaniard fell to Irina-Camelia Begu. The World No.27 has mentioned that she was tired in Bucharest – so can she make a deep run here? She has a fine draw to reach the quarterfinals at least with Jasmine Paolini playing her in the first round. This is actually Paolini’s first WTA main draw appearance in her whole career! Suarez Navarro likely plays Elise Mertens in the second round which is a daunting task, but Mertens’ plays better on the faster surfaces and Suarez Navarro should be able to dictate play in their match-up on clay. The other seeded player in this quarter is Julia Goerges, who is coming off a final in Bucharest. If Suarez Navarro and Goerges do meet, the latter *should* win, but the German can throw in wild performances at times and she could be feeling some fatigue from her endeavors last week.
Semi-Finalist: Suarez Navarro
Third quarter: Headlined by (3) Caroline Garcia
Caroline Garcia is another player who can blow hot and cold in a quick instance, and she blew the latter just last week in Gstaad where she fell to Tereza Martincova as the top seed. If she plays like that again here, she’ll have absolutely no chance again a red-hot Irina-Camelia Begu who captured the Bucharest double last week (read more HERE). The only factor is the fatigue once again though! Looming in the second round would likely be former French Open Sara Errani, who can definitely cause some problems on the red dirt.
Another player who won a double last week was Kiki Bertens, who won the Gstaad singles and doubles tournaments. Again she could be another player feeling tired, and she doesn’t have an easy draw either with German Carina Witthoeft in the first round. Witthoeft is a very solid player on clay and she could cause some troubles for the Dutchwoman. The winner of that match will play struggling Annika Beck or a qualifier/LL.
Fourth quarter: Headlined by (2) Anastasija Sevastova
The highest seed in the last quarter is Anastasija Sevastova. She plays extremely well on clay and is definitely a force to capture the Bastad title this year. This season, she produced a decent record on the dirt, reaching quarterfinals in Charleston, Stuttgart and Bucharest, and made the semifinals in Madrid. That loss in Bucharest just last week was absolutely stunning as she produced a lacklustre performance to fall to Ana Bogdan as the first seed. She plays a rising star, 18-year-old Anna Blinkova first, before more Russian opponents in Ekaterina Alexandrova or Elizaveta Kulichkova.
Katerina Siniakova’s year has really died down after her first title in Shenzhen, and she has done nothing much at all during this year’s clay court swing. Her nerves have really caused her many matches this season, but I don’t think she’ll worry too much about her draw, playing a Swedish wildcard first before a clash with a qualifier/LL or Patricia Maria Tig. If Sevastova and Siniakova do face off, I’ll expect the former’s variety to come through.