The 2015 US Open series officially kicks off this week at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford. The break has been good but i’m ready for some more tennis and it’s going to be coming thick and fast over the next couple of weeks with Toronto and Cincy back-to-back. Stanford has a decent draw although it’s a shame to see Serena Williams was forced to pull out with the elbow injury. Note that the top four seeds all have byes in the first round. Let’s take a look at the draw…
Photo by Jimmie48 Tennis Photography
The top two seeds in Stanford are both wildcards with Caroline Wozniacki and Agnieszka Radwanska in attendance. While Radwanska has played here for the last two years, this is the first ever time that Wozniacki has the played the Bank of the West Classic. After a bye in the first round, Wozniacki’s first match in Stanford will be against Mirjana Lucic-Baroni or Varvara Lepchenko. I really expected Wozniacki to push on after a superb second half to 2014 but it hasn’t really happened for the Dane. Wozniacki is currently at number 11 in the Race to Singapore and while she is definitely in contention with her best period of the season still to come, it’s been disappointing that she hasn’t been able to replicate the aggressive and positive play she exhibited in Singapore last year. Wozniacki is projected to meet Andrea Petkovic in the quarters, who opens against Carina Witthoeft. Petkovic and Witthoeft will meet for the first time with the winner possibly playing Mona Barthel in the second round.
The second quarter could yield a first career match-up between Karolina Pliskova and Madison Keys. Their draws aren’t routine though; Keys opens against Aleksandra Krunic who she lost to at the US Open last year, 7-5 in the third set of a really entertaining tussle. Krunic’s form has been up and down, but there have been some good results this year. It was encouraging to see Keys make the Wimbledon quarter-finals despite not playing anywhere close to her best… This is a good attribute to have. Krunic is a tricky opponent and i’d give this one an upset alert with Keys coming in cold. Pliskova’s first match of the week could be against Sabine Lisicki in the second round; Lisicki leads Pliskova 3-0 in their head-to-head. Lisicki had some wins during the grass court season but it didn’t hide the fact that without her serve, her groundstrokes and tactics were a little wild.
Carla Suárez Navarro is the highest seed in the third quarter. The Spaniard hung onto her place in the world’s top ten despite disappointing performances at the French Open and Wimbledon. Suàrez Navarro has had a great year but needs to resettle after a poor grass court season, albeit on her least favourite surface. CSN is on a three match losing streak and was bundled out in the first round of Wimbledon by Jelena Ostapenko in a 6-2 6-0 (!) loss. Her first match in Stanford will be against Alison Riske or Tatjana Maria. Elina Svitolina is also in this section and will play a qualifier in the first round. The Ukranian player enjoyed her best Grand Slam result with a quarter-final appearance at the French Open. However, she has lost four of her last five matches after a disappointing grass court season. She could meet Caroline Garcia in the second. CarGar has had a ROUGH few months but if the pair were to meet, i’d give Garcia the nod.
The final quarter features Radwanska and last year’s Stanford finalist, Angelique Kerber. In the highlight of the first round matches which will be played on Tuesday night, Kerber plays Daria Gavrilova… A full preview of this match to follow. Radwanska’s first match of the week will be against CiCi Bellis or a qualifier. The Pole had endured a miserable year up to the grass court season. However, she seemed to turn around her fortunes on the grass despite some tough losses along the way. Although the loss to Muguruza in the semi-finalswas disappointing, it didn’t have the same crushing nature that the loss to Lisicki had a few years back. I hope we get to see a Radwanska-Kerber quarter. While Washington is a tough one to pick out a winner, Stanford was more straightforward for me…
Final Prediction: Kerber d. Wozniacki