WTA Charleston 2015: Preview and Predictions

The tennis season keeps trundling along and next week will feature one of my favourite WTA tournaments of the entire year in Charleston.  I always get a really good vibe from Charleston and I am especially looking forward to this year’s edition as I was on holiday this time last year.  Unfortunately, it is one of the weakest line-ups for Charleston in recent years with neither Serena or Venus playing and a couple of late withdrawals with Lucie Safarova, Shuai Peng, Barbora Zahlavova Strycova and Sabine Lisicki all pulling out.  It’s still a respectable list with eight of the world’s top 30 players and the tennis is always at a good time so I won’t be taking a break just yet 😉 There is always a solid network of journalists for Charleston and plenty of entertaining press conferences so it should be a good week. Let’s take a look at the draw…

Eugenie BouchardEugenie Bouchard has taken a late wildcard into the 2015 Family Circle Cup nd will be the number one seed.  Bouchard has played just four tournaments this year, taking a month off between Antwerp and Indian Wells due to injury.  She played solid tennis to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, but her results in Indian Wells and Miami were both disappointing with a fourth round exit to Lesia Tsurenko in IW and a second round defeat to Tatjana Maria in Miami.  The discussions around Bouchard supposedly slumping are a little hasty in my opinion considered she has played so few tournaments this year.

Another reason why I think this was a good move by Bouchard to play Charleston is that she has done well at this tournament in the past two years.  In 2013, she came through qualifying and reached the quarter-finaks, defeating Laura Robson and Sam Stosur along the way.  Last year, she enjoyed high profile wins over Venus Williams (7-6 2-6 6-4, R3) and Jelena Jankovic (6-3 4-6 6-3, QF).  In this year’s edition, Bouchard is located within an intriguing first quarter that also features Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens, Varvara Lepchenko and Mona Barthel.  Bouchard’s first match of the week will be against Lauren Davis or Grace Min.  She is projected to meet Barthel or Stephens in the third round, both players she has lost to in the past.

The second quarter is the most open of the four quarters presenting stellar opportunities for the two highest seeds, Sara Errani and Caroline Garcia to progress deep into the draw.  Errani will open her campaign against either Jana Cepelova or Elena Vesnina.  Cepelova returns to Charleston where she went on a magical run last year, beating Serena Williams in the second round and going all the way to the final.  Cepelova is set for a major rankings fall after failing to push on from that result.  She lost nine out of ten matches after Charleston and is also yet to win a WTA main draw match in 2015.

Errani could meet Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the third round; the pair have already played twice this year in Monterrey and Miami with Errani winning both matches in straight sets.  Garcia’s section of the draw features plenty of qualifiers and she is seeded to meet Zarina Diyas in the third round.  Overall, Garcia has had a consistent year so far without that big result.  I have this vibe that she could do it this week…

The third quarter of the draw is my favourite with two players who love Charleston, Jelena Jankovic and Andrea Petkovic.  Jankovic has played this tournament every year bar one since 2004 and won it in 2007, and made the final in 2013.  Jankovic’s press conferences are always memorable (see below!).  Petkovic comes in as the defending champion and you can see from her interview below that’s she comfortable in Charleston.  She has a favourable draw and should be confident after her run to the semi-finals in Miami where she played her best tennis of 2015 so far.  Jankovic’s draw is the more challenging to the quarters as she could meet Belinda Bencic in the third round.  I’m sad they could meet so early because I fancied both to do really well this week.  They played in Indian Wells a few weeks ago with Jankovic prevailing a terrific three setter.

Video by ytubejj

The final quarter of the draw features top eight seeds, Ekaterina Makarova and Angelique Kerber, as well former champion, Sam Stosur.  Makarova has had a very steady year so far; she reached the semi-finals at the Australian Open with a victory over Simona Halep in the quarter-finals.  She failed to live up to her seeding in both Indian Wells and Miami with losses to Timea Bacsinszky and Andrea Petkovic.  In both matches, Makarova looked visibly frustrated and made a ton of errors.  This will be Makarova’s second career appearance in Charleston and she will be seeking her first ever win at this tournament against either Nicole Gibbs or Shuai Zhang in the second round.

Kerber’s having a tough year so far but she did manage a win in Miami, beating the in-form Heather Watson in three sets before falling to Svetlana Kuznetsova in another tight affair.  There have been rumours (i’m not sure if yet confirmed) that she has signed Chris Evert as a coaching consultant for the rest of the year.  Like Makarova, this will be Kerber’s second appearance at the Family Circle Cup.  In her eighth of the draw, she has been paired up with Sam Stosur, who she could meet in the third round.  Stosur loves this event and won it back in 2010.  The Aussie is yet to win back-to-back main draw matches in 2015, but this could be her best opportunity to break that record…

Quarter-Final Predictions: Stephens v Keys, Errani v Garcia, Jankovic v Petkovic and Stosur v Makarova

Semi-Final Predictions: Stephens v Garcia, Petkovic v Stosur

Final Prediction: Garcia d. Petkovic

Photo in this post by Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

14 thoughts on “WTA Charleston 2015: Preview and Predictions

      • I see Pliskova pulled out of Katowice but I can’t find the reason as to why. I think its a poor decision if she isn’t injured, as a title would give her a real boost right now and I can’t see how she’d have lost here to be honest…


    • Hmmm yeah… I felt surprisingly decisive about this, but it’s probably my riskiest pick of the whole year. I feel like Garcia is due a big result and I think the surface will suit her and the draw is reasonable.


  1. I dont know, this is hard to predict, I think any of the top 8 seeds can take it. I even think Errani and Stosur have a chance.


  2. @Andrew, I think it was a good decision by KaPlis to withdraw. She has played non-stop this year throughout the first three months (Played Brisbane-Sydney-AO-Antwerp-Dubai-Doha-IW-Miami) and went deep in many. She needs some break to rest.


    • I agree, Sum_it. I don’t know why Pliskova has pulled out, but it seems a smart move to me. She’s played sooo much tennis this year and it will catch up with her eventually if she keeps overplaying.


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