The WTA tour moves to Stuttgart where the 44th edition of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix is about to begin. The WTA 500 tournament will take place from April 18-24 with some of the biggest names in women's tennis competing.
Ashleigh Barty, who announced her retirement from the sport last month, won both the singles and doubles events in Stuttgart last year.
World No. 1 Iga Swiatek leads the field and is joined by the likes of Paula Badosa, Aryna Sabalenka and Maria Sakkari. Seven of the top 10 players are competing in the Stuttgart Open, with US Open champion Emma Raducanu being the eighth seed.
2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu will play in her first tournament since last year's Indian Wells Open.
With a number of top players participating in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, let’s take a detailed look at how the draw could pan out.
Top Half: Iga Swiatek looking to win 4th successive title
Top seeds: (1) Iga Swiatek, (4) Maria Sakkari, (6) Karolina Pliskova, (8) Emma Raducanu
Expected semifinal: Iga Swiatek vs Maria Sakkari
Dark horse: Petra Kvitova
Top seed Iga Swiatek is the heavy favorite to win the Stuttgart Open as she enters the competition with three successive WTA 1000 tournament victories in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami.
The Pole should have little trouble reaching the quarterfinals considering her most likely opponent in the second round is Viktorija Golubic. Swiatek could face Raducanu in the last eight. However, Jasmine Paolini should not be written off, nor should Camila Giorgi, especially since Raducanu is suffering from a blister on her foot.
Swiatek should be able to get the better of any of the aforementioned players and seal her place in the semifinals.
The other half of the draw includes fourth seed Maria Sakkari and sixth seed Karolina Pliskova. The former has produced good tennis in recent months, reaching the semifinals of the Qatar Open and the final at Indian Wells.
Sakkari will face either Tamara Zidansek or Laura Siegemund in the second round and will fancy her chances against both players. Her most likely opponent in the quarterfinals is Pliskova. However, the former World No. 1 has a difficult opening-round fixture against fellow Czech Petra Kvitova.
Whoever her opponent is, Sakkari would be confident of sealing her berth in the semifinals.
Bottom Half: Paula Badosa, Aryna Sabalenka, Anett Kontaveit make for an exciting draw
Top seeds: (2) Paula Badosa, (3) Aryna Sabalenka, (5) Anett Kontaveit, (7) Ons Jabeur
Expected semifinal: Paula Badosa vs Anett Kontaveit
Dark horse: Coco Gauff
This is a very tricky half, especially if we consider the recent performances of some of the players in it.
Second seed Paula Badosa is among the favorites to win the Stuttgart Open. The Spaniard has a good record on clay, having won 19 out of 23 matches on the surface since the start of 2021. Her most likely opponent in the second round will be Elena Rybakina. The hard-hitting Kazakh will pose a tough challenge but Badosa should be able to get past her.
Ons Jabeur and Coco Gauff are among the most likely candidates to face Badosa in the quarterfinals. Neither player will be easy to beat, but on current form, the Spaniard will be the favorite to prevail.
The other side of the half contains third seed and last year's runner-up Aryna Sabalenka. The Belarusian has had a torrid start to the season, having won only seven out of 15 matches. However, Sabalenka has had some good results on clay, most notably winning last year's Madrid Open.
Sabalenka has received a bye to the second round by virtue of being one of the top four seeds. Her most likely second-round opponent is Bianca Andreescu. The Canadian has been out of action since last year and will probably need some time to find her rhythm. Sabalenka should be able to overpower Andreescu and reach the quarterfinals.
She will most likely take on fifth seed Anett Kontaveit in the last eight, although the Estonian will have to get past Angelique Kerber in the first round. Kontaveit reached the final of the Stuttgart Open in 2019 and will be keen to make a deep run this time around as well.
Iga Swiatek def. Maria Sakkari
Paula Badosa def. Anett Kontaveit
Final Prediction: Paula Badosa def. Iga Swiatek
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