The main focus for next week will be on the joint tournament in Oeiras, Portugal, which has been renamed from Estoril, but appears to be playing at the same venue… odd. Let’s take a look at both the WTA and ATP draws.
Marion Bartoli and Dominika Cibulkova are the headline acts of one of the strongest ever line-ups for this International event in Portugal. Bartoli has a tough draw, opening her campaign against Peng Shuai; this will be their 11th career meeting and although Peng has struggled with injuries of late, she can be a dangerous opponent and has beaten Bartoli before. Bartoli is projected to meet Varvara Lepchenko in the quarters; however Lepchenko has drawn the most dangerous of the unseeded players, Svetlana Kuznetsova, who takes her first ventures onto the clay in 2013, a surface she has always thrived on. Also look out for Kiki Bertens, who has been putting together some solid results and could be a match for Bartoli in round two.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Elena Vesnina are projected to meet in the second quarter in Oeiras. Pavlyuchenkova is impossible to predict these days, but will have to get past two qualifiers to make the quarter-finals. In the third quarter, Carla Suarez Navarro, who is yet to win a title, will have another shot in Portugal where she came agonisingly close last year, losing in the final to Kaia Kanepi. Her draw looks smart with Marina Erakovic up first in round one. She is projected to meet Julia Goerges in the quarter-finals although the German player will have to get past Francesca Schiavone or Lourdes Dominguez Lino, who meet in the first round having also contested today’s Marrakech final.
The final quarter is perhaps the toughest with Sorana Cirstea and Dominika Cibulkova the two seeds. Cirstea meets the out-of-form, Anabel Medina Garrigues, who can never be ignored on the clay. Cibulkova also has a tough opener against Urszula Radwanska, a match likely to go the distance. Kaia Kanepi, the defending champion, is also in this section and is bound to have a breakthrough tournament at some point once she has shaken off the rust having missed the first three and a half months of the season. Kanepi takes on Kristina Mladenovic in the first round. British hopes once again rest on Laura Robson, whose recent form would indicate she will struggle to get past Ayumi Morita in the first round.
1st Round Predictions – Bartoli to beat Peng in 2 tight sets, Kuznetsova to beat Lepchenko in 3 sets, Niculescu to beat Paszek in 2 sets, Schiavone to beat Dominguez Lino in 2 sets, Cirstea to beat Medina Garrigues in 3 sets, Kanepi to beat Mladenovic in 2 tight sets, Morita to beat Robson in 3 sets and Cibulkova to beat U.Radwanska in 3 sets
|Final Prediction – Carla Suarez Navarro d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova|
Juan Martin del Potro unfortunately had to pull out of the tournament through injury and has now been replaced by world number four, David Ferrer. The Spaniard will be looking to avenge a second round loss to Dmitry Tursunov in Barcelona, a performance he labelled as one of his worst in the last couple of years. Following a bye in the first round, he will play Gilles Muller or Edouard Roger Vasselin. Benoit Paire is the highest ranked player he could meet before the semi-finals.
Andreas Seppi and Fabio Fognini headline the second and third quarters respectively. Seppi has yet to win a clay-court match on the ATP tour and could meet the in-form, Tommy Robredo in the quarter-finals. Fognini could meet fellow Italian, Paolo Lorenzi in the second round after a first round bye. Julien Benneteau and David Goffin also populate this section of the draw and should meet in round two.
Stanislas Wawrinka bookends the draw and will face a testing first match against Barcelona quarter-finalist, Albert Ramos or Carlos Berlocq, who has had some great results on the clay in Davis Cup this year. Horacio Zeballos is Wawrinka’s seeded quarter-final opponent; since winning Vina del Mar in February and beating Rafael Nadal in the final, Zeballos has won only three matches on tour.
1st Round Predictions – Paire to beat Sijsling in 2 tight sets, Kuznetsova to beat Falla in 2 sets, Robredo to beat Gimeno-Traver in 2 sets, Istomin to beat Donskoy in 3 sets and Ramos to beat Berlocq in 3 sets
|Final Prediction – Stanislas Wawrinka d. David Ferrer|