WTA Cincinnati Preview: Chakvetadze, Schnyder Lead

Posted on July 16, 2007

CINCINNATI, OH, USA -- Anna Chakvetadze and Patty Schnyder highlight the field this week at the $175,000 Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open, currently in its fourth year as a Tier III stop on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.

Chakvetadze, who turned 20 earlier this season, was once one of the most promising young stars around but has now certainly arrived in the game's elite, cracking the Top 10 earlier this year and during Wimbledon attaining a career-high ranking of No.7. Currently ranked No.8, she will be the No.1 seed in Cincinnati and will be looking for her third title of the season, having won at Hobart just before the Australian Open then at 's-Hertogenbosch just before Wimbledon. She is actually a perfect 4-0 in Sony Ericsson WTA Tour finals, having also won Guangzhou and Moscow last fall.

Chakvetadze makes her Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open debut with a first round encounter with Tatiana Poutchek. The two met for the first time just a few weeks ago at Wimbledon, with Chakvetadze prevailing, 62 61.

Schnyder will be making her third consecutive appearance at this event, having won the title in her 2005 debut. A year ago she reached the semifinals and held match point against Katarina Srebotnik before losing in a third set tie-break. But the Swiss, seeded No.2 here, is coming off some strong showings in Europe, winning 15 of her last 19 matches, earning wins over Martina Hingis and Serena Williams and getting to the round of 16 at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Her win here two years ago was her most recent of 10 career Tour singles titles.

Schnyder opens her Cincinnati campaign with a first round meeting against American veteran Jill Craybas, against whom she is 2-0 lifetime, winning in three sets at the 2000 US Open and in two at 2006 Stanford.

Rounding out the seeds are Sania Mirza (No.3), Meilen Tu (No.4), Aiko Nakamura (No.5), Elena Vesnina (No.6), Akiko Morigami (No.7) and Severine Bremond (No.8). A rejuvenated Morigami is perhaps the most dangerous of them at the moment, claiming her first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour title at Prague in May and pushing Venus Williams to the limits at Wimbledon, holding a 5-3 third set lead before falling. Also, she was a runner-up here two years ago to Schnyder.

Lindsay Davenport claimed the inaugural Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open title in 2004, beating Vera Zvonareva in the final. Schnyder beat Morigami in 2005 and Zvonareva won the title last year by beating Srebotnik.

Both Zvonareva and Srebotnik withdrew from this year's event, the Russian due to a left wrist injury and the Slovenian with back pain. Other withdrawals included Serena Williams (left thumb sprain) and Marion Bartoli (right wrist injury).
-- Courtesy WTA Tour