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WTA Ladies Tennis From Cincinnati.• Western & Southern Open Preview- 10sBalls

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in action against Caroline Garcia of France in their match in the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio, USA, 14 August 2018. EPA-EFE/TANNEN MAURY



By: Thomas Cluck


With the final major of the season being the U.S. Open just two weeks away and the North American hard court season in full swing, Cincinnati will once again be one of the most important, revealing stops on tour as many players will get in their final preparations for New York City.


While many players may already feel at home on the U.S.hard courts, some will be looking for a match win or two to bolster their confidence heading into the fourth Slam. It won’t come easy though for the women of the WTA with a deep, stacked draw this week at the Western & Southern Open.


First quarter

Fresh off her grueling run to the title today north of the border in Montreal at the Coupe Rogers, world number one Simona Halep leads the top quarter of the draw, with a comfortable section to go deep and possibly claim her first Cincinnati title. The top-seeded Halep opens against either countrywoman Irina-Camelia Begu or a qualifier and could face 16th seed Ashleigh Barty, a rematch of their Canadian semifinal a week prior, ahead of a possible last eight showdown with defending champion Garbiñe Muguruza.

However, Muguruza was handed a difficult draw for her Cincy title defense, on top of a lingering arm injury that forced her out of San Jose and Montreal, with potentially Danielle Collins and Jelena Ostapenko standing in the way of a rematch of last year’s final here in the 2018 last eight.

Semifinalist: Halep


Second quarter

Leading the second quarter is Wimbledon winner Angelique Kerber, a former two-time former finalist here looking for some matches on the US hardcourts after an opening-match loss in Canada. After falling in her first match since her Wimbledon triumph to Alize Cornet in Montreal, Kerber was given a solid road to the last eight, with another injured player, 13th seed Madison Keys, standing in the way of a quarterfinal showing.

The German however could face a mightily tough opponent in the last eight, with sixth and ninth seeds Caroline Garcia and Karolina Pliskova landing in the Kerber quarter. 2013 champion Victoria Azarenka, a dangerous floater this US hard court season, could be a second round foe for Garcia, while Pliskova faces former top five player Agnieszka Radwanska off the bat in her opening match.

Semifinalist: Azarenka


Third quarter

Possibly the most loaded quarter of the Cincinnati draw sees the WTA title leader of 2018 Petra Kvitova and 23-time major winner Serena Williams drawn into a potential blockbuster second-round matchup, with tenth seed Julia Goerges also a possible roadblock to a Kvitova or Williams showing in the last eight.

While the big names of Williams, Kvitova, and Goerges lead the way atop the third quarter, Montreal finalist Sloane Stephens, a semifinalist here last year, will be looking to keep her impressive run on the American hard courts going in Ohio, with Elise Mertens standing in her way possibly in round three.

Semifinalist: Stephens


Fourth quarter

The hardest and most deep quarter of the draw sits at the bottom, with second seed Caroline Wozniacki and fifth seed Elina Svitolina anchoring a stacked Western & Southern Open draw. For Wozniacki, the bad luck continued with a brutal draw, after injury forced her out of Washington DC and she fell in her first match in Montreal to Aryna Sabalenka. The draw gods did the reigning Australian Open champion no favors, opening against either dangerous Kiki Bertens or Coco Vandeweghe before facing potentially Indian Wells winner Naomi Osaka, Maria Sakkari, or Anett Kontaveit in round three.

Svitolina wasn’t handed an easy draw either, with Washington DC champion Svetlana Kuznetsova a potential first match foe for the Ukrainian before possibly American teenager Amanda Anisimova or 12th seed Daria Kasatkina to reach the last eight.

Semifinalist: Svitolina



Semifinals: Azarenka def. Halep, Stephens def. Svitolina

Final: Stephens def. Azarenka


Editors Note: Don’t agree at all.not finals. Not semis. Not quarters. But let’s see. I see A new name. (LJ)

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