Recently crowned world number 1 Angelique Kerber heads the field in Hong Kong this week, with other highly credentialed players such as Venus Williams, Samantha Stosur, Johanna Konta and Caroline Wozniacki all sure to make it a special week. Kerber will surely advance to at least the QF stage, where she may face Gavrilova of Australia or Siniakova of Czech Republic.
Samantha Stosur was ousted early by Japanese player Nao Hibino, 6-3 6-4 and she will now meet Kristina Mladenovic of France who impressed against Slovenian qualifier Jakupovic. Her Doubles partner Caroline Garcia the 6th seed will face Mattek-Sands, in an intriguing matchup, with the Frenchwoman the clear favorite after 2 recent wins against the American.
Wozniacki Should Win?
The form Danish star Wozniacki is favorite to defeat Watson of England in what should be a thrilling Round 2 affair, despite Heather beating Caroline in Mexico earlier this season, in their only prior meeting. 3rd seed Brit Konta is also safely through to the 2nd Round after beating compatriot Broady 6-2 6-2 and will now meet Wang of China. An all-Serbian affair between Jankovic and Krunic will also be interesting, with the winner to meet either Venus or Alize Cornet. Hot humid and even showery weather is likely to prove a stern test of physicality as the week wears on, leaning towards fit veterans as the favorites such as Kerber and Wozniacki, as well as Venus.
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Polish pinup Agnieszka Radwanska headlines the 3rd tournament of the week, as the high seed, but has plenty of quality opponents in the form of Svetlana Kuznetsova the 2nd seed, Monica Puig the 5th seed and a host of lesser known players. Radwanska first must defeat Maria of Germany in Round 1, to book a meeting with Russian, Rodina.
The Polish star has lost just 4 games in the prior 2 meetings between the pair, and will be very short priced favorite to advance to the 2nd Round. Chinese veteran Shuai Peng looms as the biggest threat to push Aga, provided she defeats Rodina in Round 2. A high quality 2nd Round clash in the 2nd quadrant features Danka Kovinic of Montenegro and American Shelby Rogers. With Puig or Arruabarrena to face the winner of that clash; Puig is the clear favorite to advance from the quadrant, following Vesnina’s elimination at the hands of Rogers the American qualifier.
The 3rd quadrant is wide open after both seeds Babos of Hungary and Putintseva the Kazakh veteran were sent packing early, leaving Yafan Wang and Xinyun Han to battle for one QF berth, while Linette of Poland and Riske of American the other. At a stretch Riske may be the favorite of those 4, but it is clearly speculation in this company. Svetlana Kuznetsova is the clear favorite to advance from the bottom quadrant, though she will have a tricky matchup against rising Croat star Vekic.
Another rising star, Japanese youngster Naomi Osaka is certainly a possible threat, provided she can get past Czech qualifier Hradecka, a doubles specialist. Near perfect tennis conditions, low 20’s await these players for the week, leaving the crowds and participants alike in splendid conditions, without excuses.
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