Following the conclusion of the French Open, the WTA tour now enters the final leg of the 2020 season. The truncated calendar next features the Ostrava Open in the Czech Republic, which begins on Monday.
Plenty of top players have landed in the Czech city to be a part of the Premier-level tournament. Elina Svitolina leads the field, which also features former No. 1 players Karolina Pliskova and Victoria Azarenka, as well as the likes of Aryna Sabalenka, Petra Martic and Jelena Ostapenko.
With main draw action set to begin on Monday, here is a look at the prospects of the top names in the draw.
Top half: Form players Elina Svitolina and Elise Mertens on a collision course
Expected semifinal: Elina Svitolina vs Victoria Azarenka
Analysis: Elina Svitolina could face Petra Martic in the quarterfinal, but a last-eight berth will not come easily for either player. A slew of in-form players capable of upsetting the big names have been placed in the first section of the draw.
Big-serving Kristyna Pliskova faces Maria Sakkari in the opening round, with the winner set to take on Svitolina. Martic, meanwhile, opens her campaign against Jelena Ostapenko, before a potential meeting with hard-hitting Tunisian Ons Jabeur.
Victoria Azarenka, the other big attraction in the top half, has been handed a relatively comfortable draw for a change. The Belarusian, who made the final of the US Open earlier this year, will face a qualifier in the round of 16 following a first-round bye.
One of the season's most consistent performers, Elise Mertens has a tough opener in hard-hitting American Amanda Anisimova. A potential quarterfinal with Azarenka awaits, with the Belgian hoping to avenge her 1-6, 0-6 loss to the Belarusian at the US Open.
Predicted semifinal: Elina Svitolina vs Elise Mertens
Bottom half: The big-serving Karolina Pliskova, Aryna Sabalenka and Jennifer Brady fight it out
Expected semifinal: Aryna Sabalenka vs Karolina Pliskova
Analysis: Eighth seed Anett Kontaveit will be hoping to put her disappointing recent form behind her by making a deep run in Ostrava. But she faces a stern test in her opening round in Ekaterina Alexandrova, before a potential last-16 meeting with tenacious Pole Magda Linette.
Both Linette and Kontaveit will need to quickly find their rhythm if they are to truly test fourth seed Aryna Sabalenka in their possible quarterfinal clash.
Elena Rybakina will begin her campaign against a qualifier and will face either Dayana Yastremska or Jennifer Brady in the second round. Brady has looked particularly dangerous in the last couple of months and could cause a few upsets in the tournament.
Second seed Karolina Pliskova could face Donna Vekic in a tricky second-round clash before a potential meeting with Rybakina, who defeated the Czech in Dubai earlier this year.
Predicted semifinal: Aryna Sabalenka vs Jennifer BradyPublished 17 Oct 2020, 23:35 IST