WTA Tour: Abierto Mexicano TELCEL presentado per HSBC Preview

Tennis player stands with racquet in hand

We take a look at the WTA Aibierto Mexicano TELCEL prentado per HSBC event set to take place in MExico between 26 February and 3 March. 

The WTA incarnation of the Acapulco event- essentially the Mexican Open- is now in its 18th year, though it hasn’t quite managed to attract the same fanfare of the slightly more illustrious male event. Venus Williams was supposed to compete but she withdrew at the last minute due to concerns over her schedule.

The two-time champion here would have brought some much needed razzmatazz to a fairly thin field this week. Leading the seeds is US Open champion Stephens, a former champion here whose year hasn’t quite gone to plan thus far. Elsewhere the likes of defending champion Lesia Tsurenko and Kristina Mladenovic command attention in what could prove to be an open event.

Past Winners
2017: Lesia Tsurenko
2016: Sloane Stephens 
2015: Timea Bacsinszky
2014: Dominic Cibulkova
2013: Sara Errani

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First Quarter- Seeded Players- Sloane Stephens 1, Tatjana Maria 8
Sloane Stephens clearly has Grand Slam pedigree, but a difficult year thus far makes it increasingly hard to really back her. She is notoriously mercurial and could very well struggle if the right amount of pressure is applied. Tatjana Maria may feel quite confident of emerging from this section, but I have the feeling that Stephens should emerge from this quarter. The outdoor hardcourts suit her to a tee and the draw isn’t too terrifying.

Second Quarter- Seeded Players- Shuai Zhang 4, Alize Cornet 6
Though Shuai Zhang and Alize Cornet hardly make for the most compelling seeds, this section could very well turn out to be the most straightforward. This is due to the fact that there are no fewer than four qualifiers in this section. I have a feeling for Cornet in this section. She went through a disruptive period recently due to missed drug tests, and perhaps she is ready now to put this little period of stress behind her.

Third Quarter- Seeded Players- Irina-Camelia Begu 5, Daria Gavrilova 3
This section looks quite complex, with perhaps the best player not seeded. The talented Daria Gavrilova is certainly a compelling candidate for this section, with the other seed being Irina-Camelia Begu. But it is Swiss Hopman Cup hero Belinda Bencic that is my pick for progression. Roger Federer credited her for navigating the pair to Hopman Cup glory in January, and subsequent injury concerns have allayed the start of her season thus far.

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Fourth Quarter Seeded Players- Kristina Mladenovic 2, Lesia Tsurenko 7
I referred to Sloane Stephens earlier as a mercurial player. Kristina Mladenovic is the very embodiment of that expression. She managed to break a horrendous losing streak in St Petersburg, making it all the way to the final before succumbing to Petra Kvitova. But since then her form has once again flat-lined, with a poor first round defeat to Naomi Osaka in Dubai. Last year’s champion Lesia Tsurenko is similarly out of form, perhaps giving an opportunity to the likes of Great Britain’s Heather Watson. I have a feeling that defending champion Tsurenko will progress, drawing on the nostalgia from last season.

Selected First Round Matches 

Lesia Tsurenko 4/7 vs Lauren Davies 11/8
Considering the fact that Tsurenko is the defending champion, 4/7 looks a decent price with Lauren Davies as her first round opponent. I think that this is as good as a done deal and should represent easy money.

Sloane Stephens 2/7 vs Pauline Parmentier 11/4
This is a rather speculative one, but you can never fully discount the possibility of the American being sent home early, especially with odds of 11/4 in Parmentier’s favour.

Veronica Ceped Royg 3/1 vs Belinda Bencic 1/4
While I still think that Bencic is something of a sleeper to win the entire event, you can never discount the possibility of a first round capitulation after a significant injury layoff, especially with odds of 3/1 in Royg’s case.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.net

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