2016 Volvo Car Open Preview, Predictions
Niall Clarke, Tennis Atlantic
After the month long swing in Indian Wells and Miami, the tour moves to clay season for the Volvo Car Open in Charleston.
The list of champions includes names such as Tracy Austin, Jennifer Capriati, four-time winner Steffi Graf, Justine Henin, Martina Hingis, Conchita Martínez, four-time champ Martina Navratilova, Gabriela Sabatini, Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario, three-time titlist Serena Williams and Venus Williams. Chris Evert holds the record with eight titles.
Volvo Car Open
Location: Charleston, USA
Prize money: $687,900
Date: April 04-April 10
Top eight seeds who receive a first round BYE (ranking)
- Angelique Kerber (3)
- Belinda Bencic (10)
- Venus Williams (13)
- Lucie Safarova (15)
- Sara Errani (18)
- Andrea Petkovic (21)
- Sloane Stephens (22)
- Madison Keys (24)
Only two top ten players, but a strong line up underneath. Jelena Jankovic and Petra Cetkovska withdrew.
First round matches to watch
(11) Kristina Mladenovic vs Tatjana Maria
From one Frenchwoman to another, Mladenovic will pit her wits against German counter puncher Maria in a fairly intriguing round one contest.
The 11th seed has struggled with her form recently, slumping to a four match losing streak. Maria herself has not been in great form either, but what makes this interesting is the stylistic contrast.
Mladenovic has an all court attacking game, and pitted against a counter puncher in Maria, it could lead to some absorbing rallies. This is also their first meeting so it is hard to know what to expect
It seems like the post Australian Open hangover is done. Kerber returned to form in Miami where she made the semi finals in a losing effort against Victoria Azarenka. The defending Champion has a BYE in round one, and should make her way through the draw to the quarter finals at the very least, with Misaki Doi looking like the biggest obstacle in round three. There she could meet Andrea Petkovic who is the ninth seed.
Fourth seed Safarova is still trying to play her way into form after suffering from injury at the start of the year. The Czech will play either a qualifier or Louisa Chirico in her opening match in round two. There are also a pair of promising players to look out for with Ana Konjuh and the in form Daria Kasatkina both capable of an upset. The favourite to make it out of this quarter could well be Stephens. The American should make it to the quarter finals with Daria Gavrilova perhaps being the biggest roadblock in round three.
Former three time Champion Venus has had a struggling start to 2016. However her experience in this tournament could play a big part and lead to a deep run. Williams should meet Sabine Lisicki in round three but the German is never a safe bet. Sara Errani is the projected opponent in the quarter finals, but she has tough opposition ahead of her with Sam Stosur a potential round three opponent.
Another player seeking a turn around in form is Bencic. The Swiss has dropped off after a break through 2015 season, but as the second seed here can she achieve a positive result? It is a tough section though with the solid Irina Begu a potential round three, and the big hitting Madison Keys in the quarter finals. Mladenovic is the projected round three opponent for the American.
Kerber def. Garcia
Stephens def. Kasatkina
Venus def. Errani
Bencic def. Keys
Kerber def. Stephens
Venus def. Bencic
Kerber def. Venus