WTA Brussels, WTA Strasbourg, ATP Nice: Preview and Predictions

The French Open is very nearly upon us, but we have one more week and four tournaments for players to get their last minute preparations tuned in for Roland Garros.

WTA Brussels
Caroline Wozniacki

Brussels is the strongest of the two WTA tournaments this week with Caroline Wozniacki and Roberta Vinci the headline acts.  Wozniacki has not yet won a match on red clay this year and has made a wise choice in accepting a wild card.  After a first round bye, she takes on Zheng Jie or a qualifier.  The big hitting German, Julia Goerges is a quarter-final prospect, but she has really struggled to string match wins together this year.  Romina Oprandi will also be a danger in this section having made the semi-finals in Oeiras; however she would have to contend with a 0-4 head-to-head record with Goerges if they meet in R2.


I cannot really understand Vinci’s reasoning for playing this week in Brussels.  Since winning Katowice and leading her Fed Cup team into the final, she has been hampered by a shoulder injury.  She struggled in Rome and I do not see her going far this week.  In her section, she has a pair of Belgians, Kirsten Flipkens and Yanina Wickmayer.  Flipkens has really struggled on the clay and will be hard pushed to get past Madison Keys in R1.  Wickmayer takes on Jamie Hampton, who is a winnable first rounder and could pave the way for a nice run in front of the home crowd if she can get her act together.

In the weakest quarter, Sloane Stephens and Peng Shuai are set to meet in the quarters.  Both should really make it into the quarters from a section that features Tsvetana Pironkova, Arantxa Rus and Sofia Arvidsson, who are all in a terrible run of form.  The third quarter sees the toughest first round match between Kaia Kanepi and Dominika Cibulkova.  If Kanepi comes through that, I expect her to go all the way to the title.  Varvara Lepchenko will also be dangerous and is projected to meet Kanepi/Cibulkova in the quarters.

1st Round Predictions – Stephens to beat Pironkova in 2 sets, Lepchenko to beat Jovanovski in 2 tight sets, Kanepi to beat Cibulkova in 2 tight sets, Keys to beat Flipkens in 3 sets and Wickmayer to beat Hampton in 2 sets.

Moo’s Final Prediction – Kanepi d. Oprandi
WTA Strasbourg
This year’s tournament in Strasbourg looks completely wide open with Marion Bartoli and Tamira Paszek the top two seeds.  Bartoli has made just two quarter-finals this year, meanwhile Paszek has only mustered one main draw win all year.  Both face tricky openers as Bartoli takes on Camila Giorgi and Paszek plays an always dangerous Serena-slayer, Virginie Razzano.  Paszek’s section is a free-for-all with the biggest excitement, the return from injury by Petra Cetkovska, who takes on Johanna Larsson in R1.

Things don’t get much better in the middle quarters; Alize Cornet and Chanelle Scheepers are the two seeds in the second quarter and Daniela Hantuchova and Hsieh Su-Wei are projected to meet in the third quarter.  Cornet is defending finalist points and can come unstuck against anyone on her day.  Scheepers played well on the clay in Marrakech so may be the one to back in this section if you are brave.  Hsieh faces a tough opener against Annika Beck, meanwhile Hantuchova faces the clay courter, Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor first up.

1st Round Predictions – Bartoli to beat Giorgi in 3 sets, Soler-Espinosa to beat Bouchard in 3 sets, Erakovic to beat Niculescu in 2 sets, Cornet to beat Johansson in 3 sets, Beck to beat Hsieh in 2 sets, McHale to beat Davis in 3 sets, Muguruza to beat Hradecka in 3 sets and Razzano to beat Paszek in 2 tight sets.

Moo’s Final Prediction – McHale d. Scheepers

ATP Nice
The ATP 250 event in Nice has taken a big hit with the inevitable withdrawal of Tomas Berdych, who has wisely chosen to rest before Roland Garros following back-to-back semi-finals in Madrid and Rome.  His place in the draw is taken by the lucky, lucky loser, Albert Montanes.  The first quarter features a number of competent clay courters including Rome quarter-finalist, Marcel Granollers, Davis Cup hero, Carlos Berlocq and the Spaniard, Albert Ramos.

The middle section of the draw is padded out by Sam Querrey and John Isner, who have both done nothing significant during the clay court season.  Both have a fair chance of making the semi-finals with Isner having the tougher section as he could meet Gael Monfils or Fabio Fognini in the quarters.  Gilles Simon bookends the draw and is likely to have to contend with a pair of Italians, Paolo Lorenzi and Andreas Seppi.

1st Round Predictions: Berlocq to beat Mayer in 3 sets, Monfils to beat Giraldo in 3 sets, Seppi to beat Lu in 2 sets and Andujar to beat Hewitt in 3 sets

Moo’s Final Prediction – Fognini d. Berlocq

There is also an ATP tournament in Dusseldorf this week where you can see my full predictions using the tabs at the top of the page.  Both Dusseldorf and Nice have already started today.  There will definitely be less blogging this week as I recover my energy for what will be an EPIC month.

6 thoughts on “WTA Brussels, WTA Strasbourg, ATP Nice: Preview and Predictions

  1. Also if her shoulder injury is really a factor she's too wise to push herself too far and ruin an ill-preped Roland Garros. Remember how she immediatley left in the middle of the Fed Cup match between Kvitova-Errani as soon as she suspected that Errani will lose-she wasted no time expecting to play the next day. She's a wild card so far at this tournament. But her class should get her at least some distance through the tournament. But I agree Roalnd Garros is a long 2 week tournament-Vinci is gambling-I'm sure she enjoys the excitement just as much as the rest of us though:)

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  2. According to the WTA website, Vinci was born in Taranto, which is Southern Italy! I still think its a waste of energy for Vinci to play this tournament, but there are big ranking points for a relatively weak field.And going for Cetkovska to beat Larsson in 3 sets as a bit of a punt. We don't really know what shape Cetkovska is in, but she has a big game.

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  3. Thanks for the reply Moo…I feel the same about petra…yesterday she was +165 then dropped to +115 and now stands at +130 so the market relects a bit of uncertain results from her themselves…regardless I am on her for a small amount…if she hits her stride she can beat almost anyone…

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