A brand-spanking new Miami Open at the Hard Rock Stadium will open its door for main draw play tomorrow for women’s singles. After an incredibly unpredictable Indian Wells event, will we see even more surprises in Florida?
The same players are back for the second big event on the WTA calendar this month. Eight-time winner Serena Williams returns along with defending champion Sloane Stephens, World No. 1 Naomi Osaka and every other player in the Top 25.
Once again, with so many healthy it’s another loaded WTA field.
To the draw:
Top 4 Seeds: 1 Osaka, 8 Kerber, 9 Sabalenka, 13 Wozniacki
Floaters: Anisimova, Andreescu
Notes: Despite no former champions, it’s still a very tough quadrant with No. 1 Osaka, Indian Well finalist Kerber, the big-hitting Aryna Sabalenka, former finalist Caroline Wozniacki and teens Amanda Anisimova and Bianca Andreescu who just stunned the tennis world Sunday with her run in the desert… Muguruza could meet Wozniacki in the third round, with the winner to face Osaka!… Andreescu and Kerber could collide in the third round, as well… Anisimova plays former Top 10 Andrea Petkovic in the best first round match in this section… Young American Sofia Kenin has done well this year, she’s the last player to beat Andreescu.
Top 4 Seeds: 2 Kvitova, 7 Bertens, 12 Barty, 15 Goerges
Floaters: Azarenka, Stosur, Cibulkova, Gavrilova, Puig
Notes: Unseeded three-time champion Victoria Azarenka is part of a deep section, with no clear-cut favorite… Azarenka will have her hands full with Dominika Cibulkova who made the Miami semifinals in 2014… Petra Kvitova is the highest seed, but maybe due to the heat and humidity, has only made the quarterfinals just once. The Czech could meet the dangerous Maria Sakkari in her opener… Kiki Bertens is the second highest seed, but like Kvitova she too has struggled never reaching the quarters… Similarly, Ash Barty and Julia Goerges have done little in South Florida other than sight see… So could the time be right for another Madison Keys run? Keys could meet Aussies Sam Stosur then Barty before Bertens.
Top 4 Seeds: 4 Stephens, 5 Pliskova, 11 Sevastova, 16 Mertens
Floaters: Putintseva, Vondrousova
Notes: Stephens’s Miami title defense could take her through some tricky opponents. Camila Giorgi, who’s returning from injury, might be there in the third; Jelena Ostapenko in a final rematch in the fourth and then big-serving Karolina Pliskova in the quarters…. Teen Marketa Vondrousova is one to watch, she could meet Ostapenko in the second round… But Belinda Bencic, who has won 12 of her last 13, might be the favorite to emerge.
Top 4 Seeds: 2 Halep, 6 Svitolina, 10 Serena, 14 Kasatkina
Floaters: Konta, Venus, Osuigwe, Mari Osaka, Cori Gauff
Notes: The toughest section with three players – Serena, Halep and Elina Svitolina – who could win the title plus former champions Venus Williams and Johanna Konta who won it in 2017… Serena is projected to meet Wang (or Konta) in her third round, then either Svitolina or the dangerous Danielle Collins… Collins will face either Mari Osaka (Naomi’s sister) or American phenom Whitney Osuigwe… 15-year-old Cori Gauff, though, may be the best American teen in the country… Halep has a great draw with Lesia Tsurenko then Daria Kasatkina out to the quarters.
PROJECTED SEEDED QUARTERFINALS
1 Osaka – 8 Kerber
3 Kvitova – 7 Bertens
5 Pliskova – 4 Stephens
6 Svitolina – 2 Halep
A total of four players – Halep, Kerber, Kvitova and Svitolina – all have a crack at removing Osaka as the No. 1. Though Osaka lost in the second round a year ago, just after upsetting Serena. Kerber and Svitolina have to win the title.
The only player in the Top 50 not playing is Maria Sharapova who is absent with a shoulder injury.
Tomorrow, women’s main draw singles begins with Osuigwe-M. Osaka, Anisimova-Petkovic, Puig and Stosur.
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