Wednesday, 4 April 2018

WTA Touring Monterrey and Charleston

With Davis Cup quarter finals on later this week,  ATP events are on hold so as not to clash, and to allow any players to represent their countries if desired.

The WTA Tour, however continues to roll, tournaments in Charleston, South Carolina, USA (Premier category), and Monterrey, Mexico (International category), being contested.

In Charleston, the Volvo Car Open presented byes to the top eight seeds and the other 48 players in the draw have complete first round matches.

Top seed is world number 7 Caroline Garcia, and together with Petra Kvitova (10), a pair of top ten players is competing.  As is last years champion Daria Kasatkina (seeded 3 this year).

Five others from the top twenty are here, and all seeds are in the top fifty,  so a quality field has been assembled.  The only drawback is the late withdrawal of just crowned Miami champ Sloane Stephens from the draw.

No real surprises so far, but two teenage qualifiers from the USA are further proof of the wealth of talent that the Americans have coming through.

19 year old Caroline Dolehide defeated Johanna Larsson, 10 years her senior, and 69 ranking spots ahead, 5-7 6-0 6-4.

Claire Liu, 17 years old and ranked 202, defeated Magda Linette, aged 26 and ranked 69, 1-6 6-3 6-3.

The other tournament up for grabs is the Abierto GNP Seguros in Monterrey.

Defending champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is not competing here, as too Angie Kerber, beaten finalist in 2017, both choosing to take a weeks break from the rigours of the tour.

Garbine Muguruza is the top seed, and the only top ten player in the draw.  The talented Spaniard, with two Grand Slam titles already, is anxious to gain a consistency elsewhere on the women’s tennis calendar.

This year has been frustrating, with an 8-6 win/loss match record far from adequate for a world number three.  If she doesn’t win here, and the pressure is immense for anything but that occurring, then serious questions must be raised about Garbine’s immediate place in the game.

Her main opposition in Mexico should come from the likes of Lesia Tsurenko (3) or Danielle Collins, neither of whom she would meet until the semi finals.

However, her second round opponent will be Alison Riske, and that is not an assured free pass.

The final is expected to feature the only two top twenty players in the draw, Garbine and Magdalena Rybarikova (2).

Muguruza leads their head to head battle 4-2, the last two matches being the 2017 Wimbledon semi final smashing by the Spaniard 6-1 6-1, and a repeat dose from Garbine in the 2017 US Open third round 6-1 6-1.

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