The China Open is the third stop on the WTA’s Asian Tour.
During the first week of the Asian swing we saw first time finalist and eventual champion Zhang, a Chinese Wildcard win the Guangzhou title over American qualifier Vania King. In week 2 the top ladies started to make their presence known with No. 4 ranked Aga Radwanska and No. 1 seed winning in a hard fought 3 set battle over Anastasia Pavlyenchkova to win the Seoul title. Next stop was Tokyo and this tournament saw some of the better tennis being played during the Asian swing.
The ultimate veteran Venus Williams proved to us why she should never be counted out as she made it all the way to the semifinals before losing to eventual champion Petra Kvitova, who beat Angelique Kerber in a very entertaining if no doubt frustrating match. It would not however be a Kvitova match if there was not at least 1 bagel or breadstick.
Victoria Azarenka, the No.2 ranked player and No. 1 seed fell to Venus Williams in a very entertaining match if you are a Venus fan, but there was no doubt that Azarenka was not at her best. One can only hope that she has recovered from whatever ailed her in Tokyo.
The WTA is now having the last mandatory tournament of 2013 in the city of Beijing where all players play in the first round except for Venus Williams, Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber. These players got the byes due to making the semifinals at Tokyo. Serena Williams is the top seed in this star studded field. Maria Sharapova, due to injury, and Marion Bartoli, due to retirement, are the only players in the Top 18 not playing.
Serena Williams will be aiming for her 10th title this week as she is playing for the first time since United States Opem. Sloane Stephens will be trying to improve her position for the final 8 to Istanbul but she must play well especially losing a heartbreaker to Eugenie Bouchard in Tokyo. Caroline Wozniacki will try to keep the momentum from a strong semifinal appearance in Tokyo.
First round matchup to watch: Sloane Stephens vs Aleksandra Wozniak (update: this was a really fun match to watch with Sloane winning in straight sets).
Agnieszka Radwanska leads this quarter but based on play in Tokyo, I would say the favourite is Angelique Kerber. Shuai Zhang has performed well recently winning a title in Guangzhou and losing in the final to Bojana Jovanovski in Ningbo in consecutive weeks.
First round matchup to watch: Madison Keys vs Dominika Cibulkova
Na Li leads this quarter which is a tough one with Petra Kvitova and Venus Williams looming. Bojana Jovanovski has played well in the last 3 weeks winning titles in Tashkent and Ningbo and losing in a three setter to Vania King in Guangzhou. King went on to make the finals losing to Zhang in Ningbo.
First round matchup to watch: Bojana Jovanovski vs Sorana Cirstea
Victoria Azarenka leads this quarter. Azarenka suffered a surprise first match exit to V Williams, who made the semifinals, in Tokyo. She will be defending her title and if she succeeds, this will be the 3rd time in 2013 she has defended a title after Australian Open and Doha.
First round matchup to watch: Jelena Jankovic vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Q1: S Williams vs Wozniacki
Q2: A Radwanska vs Kerber
Q3: Kvitova vs Li
Q4: Pavlyuchenkova vs Azarenka
S1: S Williams vs Kerber
S2: Kvitova vs Azarenka
F: S Williams vs Azarenka