Gauff Makes Debut As Grand Slam Winner In Beijing; Sabalenka, Swiatek In No. 1 Race

by Staff | September 29th, 2023, 9:05 pm
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The final 1000 level event on the WTA 2023 calendar opens play this weekend in Beijing where 17 of the Top 20 are assembled.

Leading the way is Coco Gauff who is making her tournament debut as a Grand Slam champion after her incredible US Open title.

New world No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka will play her first event as the top women in the world.


Iga Swiatek, Ons Jabeur, Elena Rybakina and Marketa Vondrousova also feature in the strong field.

Top seeds are: 1 Aryna Sabalenka, 2 Iga Swiatek, 3 Coco Gauff, 4 Jessica Pegula, 5 Elena Rybakina, 6 Maria Sakkari, 7 Ons Jabeur, 8 Marketa Vondrousova, 9 Caroline Garcia, 10 Barbora Krejcikova, 11 Daria Kasatkina, 12 Petra Kvitova, 13 Jelena Ostapenko, 14 Victoria Azarenka, 15 Beatriz Haddad Maia, 16 Veronika Kudermetova.

ARYNA SABALENKA QUARTER
Seeds: 1 Sabalenka, 5 Rybakina, 10 Krejcikova, 15 Haddad Maia
Floaters: Zheng, Mertens, Paolini, Maria, Trevisan, Kenin, Pavlyuchenkova, Yuan
Notable openers: Aryna Sabalenka-Sofia Kenin, Qinwen Zheng-Elena Rybakina
Projected 3R matches: 1 Sabalenka – 15 Haddad Maia, 10 Krejcikova – 5 Rybakina
Notes: Aryna Sabalenka opens as a world No. 1 for the first time at an event. How will that change things, if it all? The Belarussian, though, has a very tricky draw opening with fellow Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin. Then the dangerous Beatriz Haddad Maiai in the third round with Elena Rybakina in the fourth. Tokyo semifinalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is also lurking. But Sabalenka or Rybakina are likely to get through. Rybakina will have one of the toughest openers in home favorite Qinwen Zheng.

JESSICA PEGULA QUARTER
Seeds: 4 Pegula, 7 Jabeur, 12 Kvitova, 13 Ostapenko
Floaters: Samsonova, Vekic, Kostyuk, Parks, Noskova
Notable openers: Petra Kvitova-Xiyu Wang, Alycia Parks-Liudmila Samsonova
Projected 3R matches: 4 Pegula – 13 Ostapenko, 12 Kvitova – 7 Jabeur
Notes: Jessica Pegula or Ons Jabeur figure to lead the way in this section. Both are in form. The American is playing well in Tokyo while Jabeur is in the Ningbo final. Petra Kvitova, Jelena Ostapenjo and Liudmila Samsonova could make some noise. Samsonova opens against tough American Alycia Parks.

COCO GAUFF QUARTER
Seeds: 3 Gauff, 6 Sakkari, 11 Kasatkina, 16 Kudermetova
Floaters: Alexandrova, Cirstea, Fruhvirtova
Notable openers: Mayar Sherif-Daria Kasatkina, Sorana Cirstea-Petra Martic, Ekaterina Alexandrova-Coco Gauff
Projected 3R matches: 6 Sakkari – 11 Kasatkina, 16 Kudermetova – 3 Gauff
Notes: US Open champion Coco Gauff will be tested right from the go against Ekatarina Alexandrova. Then it could get arguably easier with Veronika Kudermetova or Maria Sakkari down the road. Both are playing well but could fall off at any moment.

IGA SWIATEK QUARTER
Seeds: 2 Swiatek, 8 Vondrousova, 9 Garcia, 14 Azarenka
Floaters: Linette, Potapova, Kalinina, Bouzkova, Siniakova, Sorribes Tormo, Jennifer Brady
Notable openers: Marketa Vondrousova-Anhelina Kalinina, Victoria Azarenka-Magda Linette, Anastasia Potapova-Varvara Gracheva, Sara Sorribes Tormo-Iga Swiatek
Projected 3R matches: 8 Vondrousova – 9 Garcia, 14 Azarenka – 2 Swiatek
Notes: Iga Swiatek has now gone four events without a final, and the former No. 1 will look to regain some form this week. Swiatek will take on the feisty Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo, then Anastasia Potapova followed by Jen Brady or former champion Victoria Azarenka. It’s a good draw overall for Swiatek who could also see Wimbledon winner Marketa Vondrousova or former Beijing winner Caroline Garcia.

Projected Round of 16s:
No. 1 Sabalenka – 15 Haddad Maia
No. 10 Krejcikova – 5 Rybakina
No. 4 Pegula – 13 Ostapenko
No. 12 seed Kvitova – 7 Jabeur

No. 6 Sakkari – 11 Kasatkina
No. 16 Kudermetova – 3 Gauff
No. 8 Vondrousova – 9 Garcia
No. 14 seed Azarenka – 2 Swiatek

The semifinals could see Aryna Sabalenka-Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff-Iga Swiatek.

Former champions: Victoria Azarenka, Caroline Garcia
Former finalists: Petra Kvitova, Vera Zvonareva

In 2019 at the last Beijing event, (4) Naomi Osaka defeated (1) Ashleigh Barty 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

LAST 10 BEIJING CHAMPIONS/FINALS
2019 Naomi Osaka d. Ashleigh Barty 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
2018 Caroline Wozniacki d. Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 6-3
2017 Caroline Garcia d. Simona Halep 6-4, 7-6(3)
2016 Agnieszka Radwanska d. Johanna Konta 6-4, 6-2
2015 Garbine Muguruza d. Timea Bacsinszky 7-5, 6-4
2014 Maria Sharapova d. Petra Kvitova 6-4, 2-6, 6-3
2013 Serena Williams d. Jelena Jankovic 6-2, 6-2
2012 Victoria Azarenka d. Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-1
2011 Agnieszka Radwanska d. Andrea Petkovic 7-5, 0-6, 6-4
2010 Caroline Wozniacki d. Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
2009 Svetlana Kuznetsova d. Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-4


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