WTA Tour: Samsung Open Preview

Tennis player stands with racquet in hand

Our tennis writer previews the WTA Samsung Open set to take place at the Swiss National Tennis Centre from 9 April - 15 April.

The inaugural edition of this event was hosted in Biel/Bienne last year, but moves to Lugano this year. This also precipitates a move from indoor to outdoor clay. It has also been propped up by a sponsorship deal with Samsung this year. A late withdrawal sees third seed Carla Suarez Navarro withdrawn.

As was evidenced last week in both Charleston and Monterrey, it’s perhaps best to not look too far beyond the upper echelon in these smaller, fringe events. The top seeded players seem to be extra motivated to secure much needed rankings points when the bigger fish are away. I’m certainly not against the odd surprise, but the trend recently seems to suggest that it is tough for the unheralded players to break through in these smaller events.

WTA Tour: Samsung Open | 9 April - 15 April | Swiss National Tennis Centre

Past Winners
2017: Marketa Vondrousova

First Quarter- Projected Quarter-Finalists - Kristina Mladenovic, Alize Cornet
This has been quite a strange year for the number 1 seed Kristina Mladenovic. She had that terrific run to the final in St Petersburg, where she would eventually lose to the reinvigorated Petra Kvitova. But other than that, her year has been fairly nondescript, with a quarterfinal appearance in Mexico the one highlight. She fortunately has a nice draw till the quarters, where she is likely to meet fellow Frenchwoman Alize Cornet. Cornet has been patchy since a decent Round of 32 appearance in Melbourne, but her performance in Charleston last week would have giving her great encouragement. She beat the number one seed Caroline Garcia en route to a quarterfinal defeat to eventual champ Kiki Bertens. I think that immediate form is a better indicator this week.

To Progress to Semifinal: Alize Cornet

Second Quarter- Projected Quarter-Finalists- Mihaela Buznarescu, Alison Van Uytvanck
This quarter looks to be very open, with the seeded players not exactly imbuing one with too much confidence. To be fair, the Belgian Van Uytvanck did make the Hungarian Open final in February, but she has struggled with fitness and enjoyed a fairly torrid ‘Sunshine Double’. The Romanian Buznarrescu has had an indifferent season, with a semifinal run in an ITF event her calling card thus far: she also made the Round of 16 in Qatar. I’m looking at this section for a surprise, with Kristyna Pliskova lurking rather menacingly in the shadows. She reached the quarterfinals last week before losing to Sevatsova, but I just feel she has the game to conquer a fairly week section.

To Progress to Semifinal: Kristyna Pliskova

Third Quarter- Projected Quarter-Finalists- Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Anna Kontaveit
This section appears to me to be one that should take care of itself. Last year’s beaten finalist Anna Kontaveit has not recovered the form that saw her oust Jelena Ostapenko en route to a fourth round appearance in Melbourne. She has lost five of her last six matches, but has a favorable draw an undoubted ability. Aliaksandra Sasnovich is a bit of a dark horse for me this week, particularly after picking up such a favorable draw. She beat Kontaveit in Indian Wells before losing narrowly to Aussie Open Champion Caroline Wozniacki in the Round of 32. She also lost narrowly to Garcia in the Round of 32 in Melbourne. I feel that the Belarusian has the power to see herself through this section.

To Progress to Semifinal: Aliaksandra Sasnovich

Fourth Quarter- Projected Quarter-Finalists- Elise Mertens, Svetlana Kuznetsova
Belgian 22 year-old Elise Mertens has failed to really build on what was a sensational semi-final run at the Australian Open earlier this year. Since then she has failed to progress beyond the Round of 32 once. Kuznetsova has had huge injury problems and has basically been a non-entity this year. In fact, she is yet to win a match this year- you have to go back to the US Open last season for her last competitive victory. And herein also lurks last season’s champion: Marketa Vondrusova. I think that the Czech left-hander has an excellent chance looking at her draw, especially following that brilliant run to the final 16 in Indian Wells.

Player to Progress: Marketa Vondrusova

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.net

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