With the US Open hangover taking full effect this week around the tennis world, the ladies of the WTA will begin their fall season with a second trip to Canada in the past six weeks. Participating at the Rogers Cup in early August, the likes of Daniela Hantuchova, Lucie Safarova and Rebecca Marino will cross the boarder after their adventures in New York to fight for $220,000 in prize money.
Featured as the only tournament on the WTA calender to be played on indoor carpet, big servers like Michaella Krajicek, Mirjana Lucic and Eugenie Bouchard will likely have a big advantage towards a title run. Title holder Tamira Paszek will be the No. 3 seed this week, and she’ll be looking for her first title since winning in Quebec City last year. Paszek has been out of action since the summer and will be playing her first event since Carlsbad.
The Canadian contingent will be out in full force throughout the week, with youngsters Bouchard and Marino looking to showcase their skill sets in front of the hometown crowd. Tour veterans Aleksandra Wozniak, Stephanie Dubois, and Marie-Eve Pelletier will also be in action.
If last year’s draw showed us anything, it was that the depth in the field produced many upsets. Can we expect the same thing during the 2011 edition of the event? Would we be foolish to pick the seeds through without any monumental upsets?
Let’s now take a look at the draw and the potential outcome at week’s end.
Anchored by the lanky and clean-hitting Hantuchova, the top seed’s journey to a fifth career title could be derailed early by the likes of Irina Falconi or up-and-comer Caroline Garcia. Falconi made many new fans during her run to the third-round of the US Open; her post match celebration after her second-round victory was priceless.
Garcia, for those of you who don’t know her, is a name for the future. Touted by Andy Murray at the French Open as a future world No. 1, Garcia’s court craft and easy-flowing swings could make her a favorite in this half. I’m not sure at this stage if the young Frenchwomen has the experience to take out a veteran like Hantuchova, but she is definitely a player to keep an eye on.
With that being said, I’ll go with Falconi to make the finals here, based on her US Open momentum.
Occupied by four Canadians before the qualifying stage was complete, the bottom half of the draw could see a few tussles before the third-round is finished. Either Marino or Dubois will be gone after the first-round, with the winner facing Wozinak in a potential second-round showdown. Pelletier doesn’t pose much of a treat here, but if she manages to move on she could potentially face one of the aforementioned Canadians in the quarterfinals.
However, recent Rogers Cup quarterfinalist Safarova is the second seed here, and if her recent form is any indication, she could be holding up the trophy on the final Sunday.
Safarova possesses the required intensity to always be considered a threat in any field, and with the cup-cake draw that stands before her, I’d be surprised if she doesn’t come through.
The always entertaining Melanie Oudin also made the trip to Quebec City, and her mixed doubles title at the US Open should give her a boost of confidence.
But when thinking about a player who can actually make a dent in this half, it really becomes difficult to look at anyone else except Safarova.