October 9, 2013 – WTA Beijing – WTA Osaka – WTA Linz
Chalk up another trophy on the mantel piece for the World number one Serena Williams. The 2004 WTA Beijing champ defeated the 2008 WTA Beijing champ, Jelena Jankovic in straight sets 62 62 to add her tenth singles trophy for the year to her case.
Even though Serena herself didn’t think she would win in Beijing after her week off, by the end of the tournament she hadn’t dropped a set and had opponents like World number four Agnieszka Radwanska wondering how to cope with Serena at the Istanbul WTA championships in two weeks’ time.
On the doubles side in Beijing it was back-to-back championships and repeated success for WTA Tokyo winners Sania Mirza of India and Cara Black of Zimbabwe. They upset the Italian pair and favourites Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci in the final match 64 64.
At WTA Osaka the quality of play has been substantially better than the crowd turnout so far. The French Kristina Mladenovic and the American Madison Keys look to be headed for a semi-final showdown on one side of the bracket, while the injury-withdrawal of German Sabine Lisicki has opened things up on the other side of the bracket for Australian Sam Stosur and Canadian Genie Bouchard.
Also alive and well and not to be overlooked are the Japanese hometown favourites Kurumi Nara, Misaki Doi and Kimiko Date-Krumm. Also threatening in the remaining draw are the two Chinese players Jie Zheng and Shuai Zhang.
It should be a fascinating final eight at Osaka which will not just match players against players, but styles against styles starting with the match-up between the unrelenting Chinese veteran Jie Zheng and the hard-serving French woman Mladenovic.
In the doubles, Mladenovic and her partner, Italian Flavia Pennetta are strong on course in the semis and should match up in the finals against either number-one seed Americans Kops-Jones and Spears or the strong partnership of Sam Stosur and Shuai Zhang.
At the WTA Linz we have not seen Ana Ivanovic playing better tennis so far this year, or for that matter, Sloane Stephens. Add into that mix German Angelique Kerber who is currently playing some of her best tennis of the last two seasons, Dominic Cibulkova and 5-seed Kirsten Flipkens, and it seems as if that tournament is wide open right now.
On the doubles side, Germans Gorges and Petkovic could be the team to beat and are headed for a semi-final showdown with the Czech Pliskova sisters. How Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski and Pole Alicja Rosolska got the number one seed is anyone’s guess, but their team is comfortably into the semis and could easily emerge victorious.
Two weeks to Istanbul WTA Championships!