The entire WTA Top 20 turns out next week for the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, where Maria Sharapova will make her return from injury and debut new coach Jimmy Connors in her player’s box.
Azarenka seems recovered from the bad back that had her miss Toronto, while Serena Williams remains on a tear, competing in the Toronto final today.
How tough is the Cincinnati draw? Former Slam champ Svetlana Kuznetsova barely got in, while former French Open champ Francesca Schiavone didn’t, and has to play the qualifying.
WESTERN & SOUTHERN OPEN
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Surface: hard
Seeds: Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova, Agnieszka Radwanska, Li Na, Sara Errani, Petra Kvitova, Marion Bartoli, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, Samantha Stosur, Roberta Vinci, Kirsten Flipkens, Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic, Maria Kirilenko
Floaters: Svetlana Kuznetsova, Venus Williams, (WC) Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Sabine Lisicki, Sloane Stephens, Shuai Peng, Alize Cornet
Notes: The Top 8 seeds receive opening-round byes…Sharapova returns from her hip injury…Tough starts for (11) Stosur vs. Kuznetsova, (6) Errani vs. Cibulkova, (12) Vinci vs, (WC) Mattek-Sands (winner to likely meet Daniela Hantuchova), (14) Jankovic vs. Lisicki, (3) Sharapova after a bye likely vs. Stephens, the struggling (10) Wozniacki vs. Peng, and (15) Ivanovic vs. Cornet…Serena could meet the Wimbledon champ Bartoli in the quarters…(13) Flipkens and Venus could arrange a rematch from last week in the second round…Other wildcards went to American Lauren Davis and the Slovak Hantuchova…Pulling from the event were Kaia Kanepi, Romina Oprandi, Nadia Petrova and Brit Laura Robson…Na beat Kerber in last year’s seat-evacuating final…Returning champs in the field are Na (2012), Sharapova (2011), and Jankovic (2009).
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