No Serena, But No. 1 Kerber and 8 of Top 10 at Loaded WTA Wuhan
by Jeremy Davis | September 23rd, 2016, 9:37 pm

Even after the anticipated withdrawal of world No. 2 Serena Williams (No. 2, doesn’t that sound weird?), the unfortunately-titled Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open beginning next week will feature eight of the WTA Top 10, and 16 of the Top 18.
Serena’s announcement that she will skip all tournaments until the year-end WTA Finals almost mathematically cements No. 1 Angie Kerber’s status as the year-end No. 1. But that’s not saying she’ll have it easy, or take it easy, in Wuhan.

The Top 8 seeds receive opening-round byes in Wuhan, so Kerber will start against either American CoCo Vandeweghe or France’s Kristina Mladenovic. From there her difficult path will likely see No. 14 and Slam winner Petra Kvitova, then No. 7 Carla Suarez Navarro or No. 11 Johanna Konta, then likely No. 4 Simona Halep or No. 8 Madison Keys in the semifinals. In the final awaits defending champ Venus Williams, No. 2 seed Garbine Muguruza, or US Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova.

Piece of cake.

Tough starts for players in the top half are (11) Konta vs. German riser Annika Beck, the kinda-shaky (4) Halep vs. Irina-Camelia Begu who has had a breakout year, and (13) Roberta Vinci vs. hot-handed Rio Olympics winner Monica Puig.

Top seeds in the bottom half are the aforementioned Venus, Muguruza and Pliskova, in addition to No. 3 seed Aggie Radwanska.

Lower seeds or un-seeds floating around in the bottom half are former world No. 2 and No. 9 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, No. 16 Sam Stosur, unseeded former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, the free-swinging Ekaterina Makarova, Belinda Bencic, Lucie Safarova, No. 10 Dominika Cibulkova, former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic, and rising Aussie Daria Gavrilova.

Tough starts in the bottom half are (9) Kuzy vs. Bencic, (16) Stosur vs. Woz, (3) Radwanska vs. the winner of Makarova and (WC) Lisicki, (5) Pliskova vs. Safarova, and (2) Muguruza vs. the winner of Jankovic and Gavrilova.


Both former champs are in the field of the tournament that started in 2014 — Venus Williams (2015) and Kvitova (2014). Martina Hingis has won the doubles title the first two years of the event with different partners.

Kerber has something to prove in her march toward the year-end No. 1, and Pliskova has something to prove to show that her US Open title was no fluke.

“I’m feeling much more comfortable in my skin, how I am, and how to work,” Kerber said. “It’s because of the experience; I now know how to deal with the pressure, with things I have to do off-court. It took a little while to get [the confidence], but it was great work getting there.

“My motivation is still really high, especially after this title in New York. I will still try to improve my game because I know I could still improve my serve and a few other things in my game. It’s what I plan to do in the next few weeks and in my pre-season for next year. There are still a few things where I know I can be better, and that gives me confidence too, to know I can still play better, more aggressively, or move better.”

Look for a repeat of the US Open final in Wuhan.

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10 Comments for No Serena, But No. 1 Kerber and 8 of Top 10 at Loaded WTA Wuhan

jalep Says:

Good job, Jeremy Davis.

And a repeat of US Open final in Wuhan seems likely as well. Maybe too likely though. Something or someone will throw a spanner in or it’s not WTA.

Kerber sounds confident but don’t you wonder if she won’t have a little lull after the GS title again? Maybe not. Who else can you trust enough to pick. I’d like to think Simona Halep. Or one of the two past Wuhan winners maybe? Pretty unlikely considering.

jalep Says:

The Tokyo Final was an uncomfortable win for Wozniacki – painful watching. Caro pulled an adductor muscle in her left leg and it limited her movement and was having a hard time serving. Naomi was just too nervous and unable to take advantage of the situation.

We’ll see how Wozniacki is in Wuhan. Hope she’s okay. Or hope she pulls out and gives it a rest before Beijing.

Go Simona! ☺

jalep Says:

For Willow, Margot, RZ, anyone interested in WTA Brackets. Here’s my go at 900 point Wuhan. It’s just too long for me to wait for another GS to come around.

The Bacsinszky pick already hurt me 😄
My Muguruza and Radwanska picks could hurt, too.

Margot Says:

I logged in as soon as I read your post, about 7am UK time 26/09, but alas the tournament had already started and I couldn’t play :(
Excellent you were able to set it up. Next time, count me in.

Van Persie Says:

Yay, Simona is in the 3 round :D

Van Persie Says:

Simona is in the 3 round :). Was a bit afraid she would lose this match

jalep Says:

Okay, Margot. I’ll remind you with another link on Friday because there’s a good one coming up. For WTA Beijing is a 1000 point big deal – you are in!👍 Andy hey, ATP 500’s next week – Tokyo and Beijing.

But the Asian Swing is like Australian Open – mostly plays out while I sleep. It’s easy to get messed up about the time of day or night!

jalep Says:

Margot, basically I accidentally made two groups because I had no clue when setting up the groups. Jalep_wildguess is just playing by herself – would love the company. RatCliff_hangers there’s me and a one other tenngrander. So join either one or both!! Yay.

The picking will start at some time on Friday (I think) for WTA and ATP tourney’s next week.

RZ Says:

Thanks Jalep. My schedule is a little crazy these days and I’m not online as much but I will try to play when I can. Thanks.

jalep Says:

RZ – no pressure. It’s just something to do in between GS’s — Not a replacement for your TennisX bracket! ☺

I don’t remember if you were here when we had a ATP masters 1000 bracket challenge. ATP dropped it – as did WTA drop their bracket challenge. That link I posted has every dang tournament! lol…I can’t keep up with it. I’m all over it for Wuhan and Beijing though — two underappreciated 900-1000 point WTA tournaments.

But since I did Wuhan, I filled one out for Tashkent, Shenzhen, and Chengdu, too. I just wing it — no time to put a lot of though into it. It helps keep me tuned into which players are doing what.

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