WTA Auckland

This years women’s tournament in Auckland sees a number of Russian stars taking to the court. Maria Sharapova is the number 1 seed and will be joined by fellow Russians, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Dinara Safina and the number 2 seed, Yanina Wickmayer. Sharapova will take on the talented Spaniard, Carla Suarez Navarro in round 1 who on paper is the most talented player she could play up to the SF’s where Julia Goerges is projected to meet her. There is some British hope with Anne in the main draw facing Edina Gallovits and with both Heather Watson and Katie O’Brien in qualifying.

Yanina Wickmayer will open up against Dinara Safina in the stand-out of the opening matches. Dinara Safina is currently at number 63 in rankings after what she described as “one of the worst years of her career” in a refreshingly honest blog she published on her website. I’m predicting that Dinara is going to rise up the rankings this year; I don’t think she will ever return to the top of the rankings but I think this year is about restoring confidence and playing tennis both injury and pain free. Realistically returning to the top 30 is achievable and I think she will beat Wickmayer, who I feel is slightly overrated and in terms of her potential, is only a top 20 player at best. Simona Halep also looks to be a danger in this section of the draw in what should be a breakthrough year for her. She is joined in this section by Kuznetsova; if shes playing well and fully concetrated on the task at hand, a SF place shouldn’t take too much out of her.

1st round tips – Paszek to beat Arvidsson, K.Bondarenko to beat Date Krumm, Halep to beat Morita and Safina to beat Wickmayer

QF line-up – Sharapova v Paszek, Goerges v Bondarenko, Oprandi v Kuznetsova and Halep v Safina

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