The Shenzhen open is another of the three tournaments that kick off 2016 along with Brisbane and Auckland.
The event was founded in 2013 as part of the WTA’s expansion to Asia. Last year it was one of seven tournaments to take place in China
The former champions list is very short, in fact it only has two names. Li Na won the first two tournaments and Simona Halep took the title here last season.
The Shezhen Open
Location: Shenzhen, China
Prize Money: $426,750
Date: January 3rd-10th 2016
The eight seeded players (Ranking)
- Agnieszka Radwanska (5)
- Petra Kvitova (6)
- Irina-Camelia Begu (31)
- Monica Niculescu (39)
- Johanna Konta (48)
- Eugenie Bouchard (49)
- Zarina Diyas (52)
- Annika Beck (58)
Two top ten players then no more top thirty players in the draw- interesting.
First round matches to watch
(6) Eugenie Bouchard vs Donna VekicEmbed from Getty Images
After a terrible 2015, Bouchard comes into the new year with a point to prove. 2014 was excellent, but was it just a fluke?
We will get some early signs of where she is at against Vekic in her opening match at Shenzhen. The Croatian is still wildly inconsistent and has yet to find her game, but the 19 year old has time on her side.
If the Canadian plays to her 2014 level then she should get it done in two, but does that Bouchard exist anymore?
(2) Petra Kvitova vs Saisai Zheng
You may look at this and think ‘this should be easy for Petra, what are you talking about’ and on paper you are right. But may I remind you that this is Kvitova we are talking about. When she is on she is unstoppable, but when it goes bad it goes beyond disastrous.
With the potential rustiness and the home crowd with Zheng, this could get interesting. The Chinese player poses little threat offensively but she is a consistent player, and if bad Petra shows up who knows what may happen.
This should be easy pickings for the Czech, but stranger things happen on the WTA tour and a home crowd can inspire a player to play way beyond their normal level.
First Quarter: Top seed Agnieszka Radwanska will look to start this year the way she end the last- lifting a trophy. The Pole came back from near certain elimination to win the WTA finals in October, leading many to believe that this might be the year she claims her first grand slam title. Radwanska will face Aleksandra Krunic in the first round, with the winner meeting home favourite Shaui Zhang or Irina Khromachea.
Fifth seed Joanna Konta had a marvellous second half to 2015 that saw her rise to British number one. Can she continue to improve in 2016? Konta will face China’s Qiang Wang in round one with Vania King or Magda Linette awaiting in round two.
Second Quarter: Irina Begu’s consistent 2015 saw her finish just outside the top 30. She will be looking to seal an Australian Open seed in the coming weeks before furthering her progress. The Romanian faces Lara Arruabarrena in round one. Bojana Jovanovski and Ana-Lena Friedsam will have an interest battle to meet the winner.
Zarina Diyas had a disappointing 2015, falling outside the worlds top 50. The Kazakh will look to get back in track his year which starts with a qualifier opener. 19 year old prospect Katerina Siniakova or Andreea Mitu will await the winner in the following round.
Third quarter: Fourth seed Monica Niculsecu will undoubtedly bring her bags of tricks to the court for another year in which she will frustrate many opponents. The first of which is Anastasija Sevastova. The winner gets Evgeniya Rodina or Timea Babos, which is a good opening round match.
Bouchard vs Vekic will be one to watch with both players keenly looking to make an impact in 2016. The winner gets a qualifier in the second round, so you would expect one of them to make the quarter finals.
Fourth Quarter: Kvitova in theory should make it past Zheng and then her round two opponent which is either a qualifier or Anett Kontaveit, but this is Petra after all. The second seed has still not found her consistency but the big titles will be her main focus this year.
Annika Beck has a tough opener against Alison Riske which could go either way. The German is another player who has failed to make a breakthrough in 2015 after a promising 2015. Su-Wei Hsieh is another un-orthodox player in the draw and faces Ying-Ying Duan of China first up.
Radwanska def. Konta
Begu def. Mitu
Niculescu def. Bouchard
Kvitova def. Riske
Radwanska def. Begu
Kvitova def. NiculescuEmbed from Getty Images
Radwanska def. Kvitova
The top seed begins 2016 with a bang, defeating Kvitova in the final.Embed from Getty Images