Saturday, 5 January 2013

WTA Hobart: Preview and Predictions (updated)

The second WTA event this week takes place in Hobart and will begin tomrrow.  Let's take a look at the draw...  


Hsieh Su-Wei
Hsieh Su-Wei and Sorana Cirstea headline the draw, which features a number of dangerous unseeded floaters.  I had read somewhere that Hsieh had pulled out of this tournament through injury, but she remains in this draw.  She has one of the toughest first rounds to boot against Peng Shuai, who has been equally riddled by injuries of late.  Therefore I would predict that Monica Niculescu will advance to the quarter-finals in Hsieh's place.  Whoever does come through is projected to meet Francesca Schiavone in the quarter-finals.  If anyone has been keeping an eye on the Hopman Cup, you will have noticed that Schiavone has been woeful; a first round match with Kirsten Flipkens should be curtains for the Italian...

Cirstea will open her account against Nina Bratchikova and will meet the winner of Lauren Davis or Bojana Bobusic in the second round.  Cirstea pulled out of her first match in Auckland through injury and I think the young American, Davis could spring a shock.  Cirstea has drawn Sloane Stephens in her quarter, who overcame Laura Robson in a tight two setter in her first round match.

The second section of the draw is likely to be ruled by Klara Zakopalova and Mona Barthel.  Zakopalova is coming off the back of a runner-up showing in Shenzhen, which secured her a highest ever WTA ranking for Monday.  Barthel, who has moved up to number 9 seed following Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova's withdrawal will now take on Ashleigh Barty in the first round.  The final quarter is headlined by Carla Suarez Navarro and Yaroslava Shvedova, but I cannot see either challenging for the title.

1st Round Predictions:
Peng to beat Hsieh in 2 sets, Flipkens to beat Schiavone in 2 sets and Pironkova to beat Begu in 3 sets

QF Predictions:
Suarez Navarro/Vesnina

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