2013 WTA Memphis Preview
Steve Fogleman, TennisEastCoast.com
U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships
WTA International Event
Memphis, Tennessee, USA
February 18-Feburary 24, 2013
Though it lacks the firepower of the men’s draw, the Memphis women’s competitors make up for it with a heavy American contingent and a wide open field. Don’t expect to see top seed Kirsten Flipkens taking on 2 seed Sofia Arvidsson in the Final, because it won’t happen.
No matter who I believe will win the main draw, the qualifying field is extremely strong and the placement of the qualifiers could dramatically affect the results. I expect Keys to take the first spot, Falconi to qualify, as well as Jana Cepelova and Taylor Townsend. Any of those players could destroy your bracket in the first round.
#34 in the world is good enough to make top seed in the WTA draw, and Kirsten Flipkens isn’t exactly used to the seeding. She managed to win her first title in Quebec last September. Expect her to surpass Shahar Peer in the first round. Lesia Tsurekno is her second round opponent provided she outlasts one of the dreaded qualifiers. If Tsurenko plays Flipkens in the second, an upset watch is in order.
2012 Washington champion Magdalena Rybarikova opens with Stephanie Foretz Gacon and will meet the winner of Ksenia Pervak/Lauren Davis. This could be a nice time for American Davis to make a WTA run, but she’ll be tested in the opener and a possible second round. Expect the winner of this eighth to strongly challenge Flipkens or Tsurenko in the quarters.
The quirky career of dude favorite Sabine Lisicki finds itself currently at #40, down from the teens this time last year. Nevertheless, she finds herself in the easiest quarter of this tournament and has a very realisitic shot at picking up her fourth WTA singles title. She opens with a qualifier, and with a win, she’ll face the Olga Puchkova/Melinda Czink winner for a quarterfinal berth. Czink’s career is all but over at this point. She’s the walking dead of the WTA. Puchkova will be a pushover for Lisicki.
Kristina Mladenovic may face Lisicki for a semifinal berth, provided the French woman with the Serbian name beats Memphis Tiger Courtney Collins and the winner of the match between Johanna Larsson and Haitian-American Victoria Duval.
Heather Watson has a quarter as top seed? It’s earned based on her recent success, but it won’t be easy to defend. She’s bound to advance over Galina Voskoboeva in the first round. After that, she’ll face a dangerous opponent in either Andrea Hlavackova or Melanie Oudin. These are two players who are able to perform above their rankings at any given moment.
Looking to meet up with the winner of those players will be Hlavackova’s doubles partner, Lucie Hradecka. Hradecka will need to get past a pesky qualifier before she meets Stefanie Voegele or Silvia Soler-Espinosa in the second.
Hradecka could come out of this quarter, but I see Oudin triumphing on home hard courts.
2 seed Sofia Arvidsson does business with a qualifier before meeting up with the winner of Marina Erakovic and Annika Beck. Erakovic is a sleeper here, but Arvidsson should be able to reach the quarters.
The top part of this quarter is open. While Chanelle Scheepers is the top ranked player in the eighth, she’s way off the form she posted last summer when she was world #29. She should get by Coco Vandeweghe. Jamie Hampton is near a career high and should smoke wild card Garbine Muguruza. Hampton would have a slight edge against Scheepers for the right to play Arvidsson to book a trip to the semis.
I won’t even bother naming a dark horse because there are so many. The contenders are Melanie Oudin, Jamie Hampton, Andrea Hlavackova, Lesia Tsurenko and an American qualifier to be named later.
Lisicki d. Rybarikova
Hampton d. Oudin
An All-American semifinal will find two Racquet Club of the South alumni slugging it out to the other’s familiar game in three sets. Hampton is 0-2 vs. Oudin in WTA play, but she is peaking right now.
Lisicki d. Hampton
The Southern Belle will be the overwhelming crowd favorite (except for a few guys in the stands), but Lisicki’s title experience will prevail as she wins a fourth WTA title.