Tag: zheng saisai

2021 Adelaide International: Qualifiers share spotlight as main draw takes the court

DAY 2 of the Adelaide International qualifying round saw the WTA 500 tournament’s main draw begin, with plenty of hotly contested matches on centre court during the first day of the official competition, as Anastasija Sevastova, Wang QiangShelby Rogers and Danielle Collins headed into the Round of 16 with relative ease.

Sevastova was the first to win through to the Round of 16, defeating Caroline Garcia in 81 minutes 6-2 6-4. It was a solid first serve efficiency that saw the Latvian take out the victory, winning 65 per cent of first serve points off a 72.7 per cent clip, controlling the match despite the Frenchwoman fighting back in the second. A game-for-game first set between eighth seed Wang and wildcard Olivia Gadecki – who sits barely within the top 400 at 399th in the world – drew plenty of eyes as the Australian challenged Wang, before the Chinese talent ran away with the second set and eventual victory with her ability to win off her first serve paying dividends with an effectiveness of close to 88 per cent.

On the first and second show courts, it was the underdogs that showcased their form as the likes of Storm Sanders and Liudmila Samsonova reigned supreme and headed into the main draw. Sanders had an excellent outing against American Caty McNally, downing the ninth seed in 75 minute 6-2 6-3. Whilst not as huge a scalp as Sanders’ victory – ranking 292nd in the world to McNally’s 118th – 10th seed and 117th ranked Samsonova got the chocolates over Japanese fifth seed and world number 86 Misaki Doi, 7-6 6-3. Meanwhile, an excellent showing from Latvian Kaja Juvan saw the 20-year-old speed away to an early lead, before 16-year-old top seed Coco Gauff clapped back midway through the second to force a deciding set after a huge come from behind effort, eventually winning 3-6 7-5 6-3 in two hours and 10 minutes.

A mammoth effort from Maddison Inglis saw the Australian join the winners list with an excellent outing against third seed Christina McHale. Whilst the American seemed to have all proceedings going her way early, a stellar comeback across the second and third sets handed Inglis her entry into the main draw and a chance at her maiden WTA Tour win. With a 65.6 per cent win rate on her first serve off a 78 per cent clip, Inglis was far more effective on serve and utilised her service speed to knock off the world number 85, 4-6 6-2 6-1 in just under two hours.

The remaining two Round of 32 encounters saw a fired-up Rogers fly through the first set against Veronika Kudermetova, before the Russian bit back in the second to force a tiebreaker but unable to rein in the American, as Rogers’ compatriot Collins downed Zheng Saisai and Madison Brengle won through to the main draw alongside Italian Jasmine Paolini.

2021 Adelaide International WTA preview: Barty Party not over down under

THOSE Australians wanting more Ash Barty will get what they wished for after the world number one made a surprise late charge at the 2021 Adelaide International WTA 500 event. The tournament was initially featuring a stacked field, but with many of them reaching deep into the Australian Open, withdrawals had left the tournament without a Top 10 player. Then came Barty.

The Australian reached the quarter finals of her home Grand Slam during the week, and has opted to play another tournament Down Under having missed out on so much tennis in the past 12 months. Unsurprisingly, the tournament committee was more than happy to hand her a wildcard alongside fellow Australians Olivia Gadecki – coming off a stunning win over Grand Slam winner Sofia KeninSam Stosur and Ajla Tomljanovic.

The field for the Adelaide International is not the strongest one, but still features some great young talent alongside some players really hoping to build better form in 2021. Roland Garros reigning champion Iga Swiatek could loom as one of the main threat’s to Barty’s crown, with the 17th ranked Pole coming in as the fifth seed. Fellow young gun, Yulia Putintseva is seventh seed and one of seven Top 30 competitors at the event.

Elise Mertens is the one to watch, with the tricky Belgian flying under the radar at times, but has the capacity to push for a Top 10 spot, currently ranked 16th and coming in as the fourth seed. Belinda Bencic and Johanna Konta round out the top four players at the event, with both the Swiss up-and-comer and British talent looking to have better outings than their third and first round exits at Melbourne Park. Sixth seed Petra Martic is in the same boat, exiting the first Grand Slam of the year in the Round of 128 and now the world number 19 is hoping to impress here.

The withdrawals from the tournament include Australian Open runner-up Jennifer Brady, and young guns Bianca Andreescu, Elena Rybakina, Dayana Yastremska and Marketa Vondrousova. Instead a number of Chinese and French hopes have come into the tournament, with Zhang Shuai, Zheng Saisai and Wang Qiang joining eighth seed Qiang Wang in the draw, as well as Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic. American duo Danielle Collins and Shelby Rogers are also among the inclusions following the withdrawals.

While the Australian Open did not go to plan for the world number one, the Barty Party is predicted to roll on in Adelaide, with the Australian star a winner her 12 months ago and is clearly the best player in the draw. Mertens and Swiatek are the biggest threats to her crown based on their form, while one of the other seeds could finally click into gear in 2021 and cause some headaches.

Picture credit: Getty Images

Qatar Open: Barty survives three-set thriller as Kuznetsova causes upset

AUSTRALIAN world number one, Ash Barty is through to the semi-finals after a win over Australian Open runner-up Garbine Muguruza, setting up an epic semi-final encounter with eighth seed, Petra Kvitova.

Barty won 6-1 6-7 6-2 in an hour and 53 minutes to make it through to the last four in an impressive win over the two-time Grand Slam winner. The Australian served up four aces and won 75.4 per cent of her first serve points to Muguruza’s 58.5 per cent. Barty also broke six times to two throughout the match, capitalising on the Spaniard’s second serve with a 56.5 per cent success rate. It continued Barty’s strong season since her title at Adelaide which included a semi-finals appearance at Melbourne Park, and now another final four appearance in Doha.

Barty takes on Kvitova in the semis after the Czech left hander defeated giant-killer, Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in two tiebreakers. Kvitova won the first tiebreaker 7-2 and the second, 7-4 on her way to the 7-6 7-6 victory in an hour and 44 minutes. In the other quarter finals results, Russian veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated fourth seed, Belinda Bencic – 12 years her junior – 6-4 6-4 to win through to the last four and face another rising talent in ninth seed Belarusian, Aryna Sabalenka who defeated Zheng Saisai 3-6 7-6 6-3. It took two hours and 20 minutes, the longest of any match, but Sabalenka successfully fought her way back from a set down to win.

Kuznetsova has already risen 14 spots up the WTA rankings into 32nd, with Sabalenka rising one spot to twelfth. Barty and Kvitova remain in first and eleventh respectively, though a Sabalenka win and a Kvitova loss in the semis would see the pair swap spots.

QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[1] Ash Barty (AUS) defeated [11] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) 6-1 6-7 6-2
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) defeated [4] Belinda Bencic (SUI) 6-4 6-4
[8] Petra Kvitova (CZE) defeated Ons Jabeur (TUN) 7-6 7-6
[9] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) defeated Zheng Saisai (CHN) 4-6 7-6 6-3

Qatar Open: Jabeur’s 2020 giant-killing streak continues amongst a couple of walkovers

ENJOYING a mid-career purple patch, Tunisian Ons Jabeur‘s season continues to go from strength to strength. Since the Hobart International, Jabeur is 10-3 with scalps including Johanna Konta, Caroline Wozniacki, Qiang Wang and Alison Riske – all top 30 players of the last 12 months. Now Jabeur adds world number three, Karolina Pliskova to that list after defeating her in the Round of 16 at the Qatar Open.

Jabeur won 6-4 3-6 6-3 in an hour and 47 minutes, crucially breaking at 3-2 in the third set to hold serve twice more and claim the victory. Jabeur served five aces and won 72.9 and 66.7 per cent of her first and second serve points respectively, while saving four of a possible six break point opportunities for the Czech. The Tunisian broke three times herself from 10 opportunities, and capitalised off Pliskova’s second serve, winning 58.3 per cent of the points. Ranked 77th at the end of 2019, Jabeur had already bolted up to a career-high 44th in the world entering Doha, but is up to 38th on the live rankings having booked a spot in the final eight – and could move to 31st if she knocks off eighth seed Petra Kvitova in the quarter finals.

Kvitova made it to the last eight with a three-set win over Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko. Winning 6-2 5-7 6-1, Kvitova was inconsistent at times in the second set, but showed what she was capable of in the first and third sets. Arguably the most stunning performance was ninth seed Aryna Sabalenka‘s complete obliteration of Greek 15th seed, Maria Sakkari. The Belarusian took just 53 minutes to see off Sakkari and book a spot in the next round against Zheng Saisai who defeated seventh seed, Kiki Bertens in three sets, 3-6 6-3 6-4.

Garbine Muguruza set up a quarter finals clash with world number one Ash Barty after downing Ukrainian teenager, Dayana Yastremska 6-2 6-4 in 70 minutes. Though her match was quick, it was nothing compared to Barty’s, with the Australian not even needing to take the court as her in-form opponent Elena Rybakina had to retire prior to the match. The Kazakhstan three-time finalist and one-time title holder this year was not the only retiree prior to a Round of 16 match however, with Amanda Anisimova also needing to retire, handing Svetlana Kuznetsova a walkthrough to the last eight. The Russian takes on fourth seed, Belinda Bencic after the Swiss talent defeated Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva 6-4 6-3.

ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] A. Barty (AUS) defeated E. Rybakina (KAZ) W/O
O. Jabeur (TUN) defeated [3] K. Pliskova (CZE) 6-4 3-6 6-3
[4] B. Bencic (SUI) defeated Y. Putintseva (KAZ) 6-4 6-3
S. Zheng (CHN) defeated [7] K. Bertens (NED) 3-6 6-3 6-4
[8] P. Kvitova (CZE) defeated J. Ostapenko (LAT) 6-2 5-7 6-1
[9] A. Sabalenka (BLR) defeated [15] M. Sakkari (GRE) 6-3 6-0
[11] G. Muguruza (ESP) defeated D. Yastremska (UKR) 6-2 6-4
S. Kuznetsova (RUS) defeated A. Anisimova (USA) W/O

Qatar Open: Barty eases back on tour as Kenin falters again

WORLD number one, Ash Barty has played her first match since her semi-final exit at the Australian Open, rolling past German, Laura Siegemund in 73 minutes. The Australian star won 6-3 6-2 in a straightforward match to dust off the cobwebs and move into the Round of 16. There were still plenty of areas Barty could improve on, with her serving efficiency down (59.3 per cent), but she was able to win 68.8 per cent of her first serve points, and attack her opponents’ more reliable but less potent serve. It was a solid win from Barty against an opponent who is no slouch – Siegemund is ranked 68th and has two WTA Tours to her name – and it was a vital win for setting up a blockbuster Round of 16 clash.

The Australian now faces the most in-form player on tour in Elena Rybakina, who has made four of a possible five finals this year, with the only exception being the Australian Open. There, she was knocked out by none other than Barty, and will be keen to bounce back with a win here in Doha. The Kazakhstan 20-year-old keeps doing it the hard way through with her second successive three-set match, having to come from a set down to post a win. She knocked off experienced Belgian, Alison Van Uytvanck 5-7 6-2 7-6, winning the final set tiebreaker a nerve-wracking 10-8.

Rybakina was joined in the next by compatriot, 25-year-old Yulia Putintseva who shocked 16th seed, Elise Mertens 4-6 6-3 6-2 in exactly two hours to set up a Round of 16 encounter against fourth seed, Belinda Bencic who downed Russian Veronika Kudermetova 6-4 4-6 7-6. Also in the bottom half of the draw, Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova set up a clash with Amanda Anisimova following a 6-2 6-2 rout of Poland’s Iga Swiatek, while Zheng Saisai moved through against another Russian in Vera Zvonareva 7-5 6-1 to face seventh seed, Kiki Bertens in the Round of 16.

Another huge upset was Ukrainian teenager, Dayana Yastremska‘s straight sets win over Australian Open winner, Sofia Kenin. It meant back-to-back WTA Tour singles losses for the world number five – having moved up due to others dropping points – who also dropped a match to Jelena Ostapenko at Fed Cup. Yastremska won in an hour and 35 minutes, powering to a 6-3 7-6 victory which included 13 aces and winning 67.4 per cent of her first serve points. She now takes on Kenin’s Australian Open final opponent in Garbine Muguruza who toppled Ajla Tomljanovic 6-1 6-2 in a one-sided domination.

In more predictable results, third seed Karolina Pliskova raced through to the Round of 16 in just 55 minutes with a 6-3 6-0 smashing of American Bernarda Pera, while both the eighth and ninth seeds – Petra Kvitova and Aryna Sabalenka – had to fight hard against Carla Suarez Navarro and Anett Kontaveit respectively to win in three sets each. Meanwhile Greek, Maria Sakkari got past Czech, Tereza Martincova 3-6 7-6 6-0.

In the two remaining unseeded matches, Ostapenko blitzed Czech Barbora Strycova 6-1 6-2, while Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur built on her great 2020 form with a straight sets win over the equally damaging, Jennifer Brady 6-4 6-3.

ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] A. Barty (AUS) defeated L. Siegemund (GER) 6-3 6-2
[3] K. Pliskova (CZE) defeated B. Pera (USA) 6-3 6-0
[4] B. Bencic (SUI) defeated V. Kudermetova (RUS)
D. Yastremska (UKR) defeated [6] S. Kenin (USA) 6-3 7-6
[8] P. Kvitova (CZE) defeated C. Suarez Navarro (ESP) 4-6 6-3 6-0
[9] A. Sabalenka (BLR) defeated A. Kontaveit (EST) 7-5 2-6 7-5
[11] G. Muguruza (ESP) defaeted A. Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-1 6-2
[14] E. Rybakina (KAZ) defeated A. Van Uytvanck (BEL) 5-7 6-2 7-6
[15] M. Sakkari (GRE) T. Martincova (CZE)
Y. Putintseva (KAZ) defeated [16] E. Mertens (BEL) 4-6 6-3 6-2
J. Ostapenko (LAT) defeated B. Strycova (CZE) 6-1 6-2
S. Zheng (CHN) defeated V. Zvonareva (RUS) 7-5 6-1
S. Kuznetsova (RUS) defeated I. Swiatek (POL) 6-2 6-2
O. Jabeur (TUN) J. Brady (USA)

Qatar Open: Brady’s Riske-free win as Anisimova rolls Svitolina through to third round

JENNIFER Brady‘s giant-killing streak in 2020 continued in the Qatar Open with a three-set win over an Australian Open semi-finalist.

Brady defeated her American counterpart Alison Riske, downing the 13th seed 7-6 1-6 7-6 in a match that could have easily have gone the other way. The underdog only just won the first set tiebreaker 12-10 before being blown away in the second set. Brady bounced back to take the match to a third set tiebreaker and again stood tall, this time a little more comfortably 7-3 in a total match time of two hours and 47 minutes.

Another big upset on the day was Amanda Anisimova booking a spot in the Round of 16, backing up her first round win yesterday with a huge upset of fifth seed Ukranian, Elina Svitolina. The 18-year-old world number 29 took out the top 10 talent with a 6-3 6-3 win in just 64 minutes. Joining her in the Round of 16 was seventh seed Dutchwoman, Kiki Bertens who defeated Czech, Karolina Muchova 6-2 6-4 in an hour and 23 minutes.

Across the other Round of 64 matches, fourteenth seed Elena Rybakina escaped after going a set down against Romanian, Sonia Cirstea 3-6 6-3 6-1, battling for an hour and 41 minutes before making it through to the Round of 32. Fifteenth seed Maria Sakkari had an easier time of it with a victory over German, Julia Goerges 6-4 6-3, while it was not as positive for tenth seed Petra Martic, who suffered a loss at the hands of Barbora Strycova 4-6 6-1 6-2. Poland’s Iga Swiatek defeated Dona Vekic and Zheng Saisai downed Marketa Vondrousova in the other two seeded matches on the day.

Other unseeded winners were Russia’s Vera Zvonareva, Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva, Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit, Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro, Czech Republic’s Tereza Martincova and Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska.

ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

A. Anisimova (USA) defeated [5] E. Svitolina (UKR) 6-3 6-3
[7] K. Bertens (NED) defeated K. Muchova (CZE) 6-2 6-4

ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

B. Strycova (CZE) defeated [10] P. Martic (CRO) 4-6 6-1 6-2
S. Zheng (CHN) defeated M. Vondrousova (CZE) 1-6 6-3 6-2
J. Brady (USA) defeated [13] A. Riske (USA) 7-6 1-6 7-6
[14] E. Rybakina (KAZ) defeated S. Cirstea (ROU) 3-6 6-3 6-1
[15] M. Sakkari (GRE) defeated J. Goerges (GER) 6-4 6-3
I. Swiatek (POL) defeated [17] D. Vekic (CRO) 6-4 7-5
Y. Putintseva (KAZ) defeated T. Babos (HUN) 6-3 6-4
A. Kontaveit (EST) defeated A. Sevastova (LAT) 6-4 7-6
V. Zvonareva (RUS) defeated S. Hsieh (TAI) 6-4 6-4
T. Martincova (CZE) defeated M. Doi (JPN) 6-2 0-6 6-2
C. Suarez Navarro (ESP) defeated S. Zhang (CHN) 7-5 6-0
D. Yastremska (UKR) defeated K. Flipkens (BEL) 6-2 6-4

Thailand Open: Swiss youngster continues run to semis as top four seeds all out in Hua Hin

A STUNNING day of results has seen the remaining top four seeds ousted to blow the Thailand Open draw wide open. Number one seed and tournament favourite, Elina Svitolina was bundled out, as was third seed Wang Qiang and Chinese compatriot fourth seed, Zheng Saisai.

While Svitolina’s exit might be a headline story, it was the work of Swiss teenager, Leonie Kung who defeated Qiang in three sets, 7-5 4-6 6-4. Qiang was remembered this year as the 28-year-old who defeated Serena Williams at the Australian Open, but yesterday cam undone at the hands of the relatively inexperienced 19-year-old talent. Kung is ranked 283rd in the world and is yet to win a singles title. Already her semi-finals appearance here in Hua Hin has seen her bolt up to 180th in the world, with a top 128 spot on offer if she can find a way to win another two matches coming all the way from qualifying. Kung saved seven of a possible 13 break points, while breaking seven times herself, winning a superior 56.4 per cent off her second serve and really applying the pressure to her highly rated opponent, She attacked Qiang’s second serve with a 47.4 per cent success rate, and while the match took two hours and 17 minutes, the Swiss youngster booked a spot in the next round.

Kung will now take on Japan’s eighth seed, Nao Hibino who stunned top five player and number one seed, Svitolina in straight sets. She won 6-4 6-2 to advance through to the last four as the only Asian player to reach the next round. It was a quirk in the quarter finals with a European player facing off against an Asian player in each of the final eight matches. In the other semi-final, Patricia Tig will take on fifth seed from Polan, Magna Linette. Tig bundled out fourth seed Saisai 6-4 6-2, while Linette took three sets to win over Xiyu, 2-6 6-3 6-3.

QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[8] Nao Hibino (JPN) defeated [1] Elina Svitolina (UKR) 6-4 6-2
[Q] Leonie Kung (SUI) defeated [3] Wang Qiang (CHN) 7-5 4-6 6-4
Patricia Tig (ROU) defeated [4] Zheng Saisai (CHN) 6-4 6-2
[5] Magna Linete (POL) defeated Wang Xiyu (CHN) 2-6 6-3 6-3

Thailand Open: Svitolina makes light work to book quarter finals spot

TOURNAMENT favourite, Elina Svitolina has bundled out Australian qualifier, Storm Sanders in 57 minutes thanks to a 6-1 6-2 victory in the Round of 16 at the Thailand Open.

Svitolina was far too strong for the Australian to book a quarter finals matchup with Japanese eighth seed Nao Hibino, serving up five aces and winning 82.1 per cent of his first serve points. She only dropped a total of 11 points on-serve, including a double fault, while Sanders was all over the place with her serve, putting just 37.5 per cent of her first serve in the court. By contrast, Sanders also only won half of her first serve points and 36.7 per cent of her second serve points, saving four break point opportunities, but succumbing to five, while the Ukrainian top five player saved one of two.

In other Round of 16 results, fifth seed Magna Linette had an impressive win over Peng Shuai, 7-5 6-1 to stop an all-Chinese quarter final by now setting her sights on Wang Xiyu. The unseeded Chinese player booked a spot in the quarter finals with a 6-3 6-4 win over Austria’s Barbara Haas. Romania’s Patricia Tig also won through to the last eight with a straight sets win, and now takes on fourth seed, Zheng Saisai in the next round.

Round of 16 Results:

[1] E. Svitolina (UKR) defeated [Q] S. Sanders (AUS) 6-1 6-2
X. Wang (CHN) defeated B. Haas (AUT) 6-3 6-4
[5] M. Linette (POL) defeated S. Peng (CHN) 7-5 6-1
P. Tig (ROU) defeated X. You (CHN) 6-1 6-3

Thailand Open: Swiss teenager upsets seed as other favourites advance

ALL of the six matches at the Thailand Open in Hua Hin featured seeded players, with five of the winners coming into the tournament as the top eight ranked players. The final two matches of the first round was played, while the first four of eight Round of 16 matches were completed as the quarter finals begin to take shape.

The only upset of the day was 283rd ranked Swiss player, Leonie Kung‘s straight sets win over seventh seed and world number 70, Zhu Lin of China. The 19-year-old was far too strong for her highly fancied and more experienced opponent, downing her in 70 minutes courtesy of a 6-3 6-1 rout. In the match she looked like a top 100 player, recording an impressive 74.1 per cent serving efficiency, as well as 65 and 64.3 per cent points won on her first and second serve. By contrast, Lin only managed 48.3 and 39.1 per cent respectively, breaking just the once on her way to just a total of four games, while Kung broke five times and created 10 opportunities. She won 55.8 per cent of her total return points to go with her 64.8 per cent of her total service points which was a comprehensive victory in the end.

In other Round of 16 results, it was better news for the two top Chinese players as Wang Qiang and Zheng Saisai both made their way into their respective quarter finals. Qiang defeated Katarzyna Kawa of Poland in straight sets, an almost identical scoreline to Saisai’s win over En-Shuo Liang of Chinese Taipei. It was an all-Asian battle between eighth seed Japanese player, Nao Hibino and the sole remaining home nation representative in Thailand’s Peangtarn Plipuech, though the former showed no signs of giving the crowd what they wanted, smashing the world number 192 6-0 6-1 in just 53 minutes.

In the two first round matches, number one seed and tournament favourite, Elina Svitolina advanced through to the next stage courtesy of a 6-2 6-4 victory over Netherlands’ Bibiane Schoofs. Meanwhile, fifth seed Pole Magna Linette triumphed over Svitolina’s compatriot, Kateryna Bondarenko in straight sets, 6-2 6-2 to move through to the Round of 16.

Round of 16 Results:

[3] Q. Wang (CHN) defaeted K. Kawa (POL) 6-3 6-4
[4] S. Zheng (CHN) defeated E. Liang (TAI) 6-4 6-3
L. Kung (SUI) defeated [7] L. Zhu (CHN) 6-3 6-1
[8] N. Hibino (JPN) defeated P. Plipuech (THA) 6-0 6-1

Round of 32 Results:

[1] E. Svitolina (UKR) defeated B. Schoofs (NED) 6-2 6-4
[5] M. Linette (POL) defeated K. Bondarenko (UKR) 6-2 6-2

2020 Thailand Open preview: Svitolina and Martic the two standouts in Hua Hin

TOP five talent, Elina Svitolina and the ever-dangerous top 20 presence of Petra Martic will be strong favourites to contest the final at Hua Hin in 2020, following the withdrawal of defending champion, Dayana Yastremska five days ago.. The duo are the only players inside the top 35 in the world that will take to the refurbished pink hard courts to raise awareness for breast cancer.

FAVOURITE:

Elina Svitolina (Ukraine)

The far and away favourite is world number four, Svitolina. With a career 13 titles to her name, the 25-year-old Ukrainian needs to live up to expectations and take out her 14th title here as the clear standout in the field. She went down in a disappointing 6-1 6-2 loss to Garbine Muguruza in the Round of 32 at Melbourne Park, and was smashed in the opening round at Brisbane by Danielle Collins, 6-1 6-1. When she loses, she gets blown off the court and confidence can be a big question mark with the talented individual. Aside from Martic and perhaps the in-form Ons Jabeur, it is hard to see too many in this draw giving her confidence issues, but she still needs to do the work.

CONTENDERS:

Petra Martic (Croatia)

Ranked 15th in the world post-Australian Open, Martic has just the one career title and would eye this off as a chance to double her total. She bowed out in the second round of the Australian Open to Julia Goerges, and also lost to Alize Cornet in Auckland as the second seed. Her inconsistency has been the big question mark over the 29-year-old’s career, but this is a genuine title-winning chance. Martic must take her chances when they come and a deep finish at the tournament must be a non-negotiable.

Ons Jabeur (Tunisia)

Jabeur bolted into the top 50 off the back of a superb Australian Open which saw her reach the final eight of the tournament. The Tunisian is in career best form and was only stopped by eventual Grand Slam winner, Sofia Kenin at Melbourne Park. In her run to the quarter finals, Jabeur stunned the likes of 12th seed, Johanna Konta, former Aus Open winner, Caroline Wozniacki and 27th seed, Qiang Wang who had defeated Serena Williams the match before. Now at a career high 45th in the world, Jabeur will be aiming to follow on from her Melbourne Park effort to achieve a good finish in Thailand.

Zheng Saisai (China)

Set to line up as the third seed in Hua Hin, Zheng is another player who would fancy her chances of doubling her career titles with a favourable draw. She will fight hard throughout all matches, and is at a career high 36 in the world entering the Thailand Open. Unfortunately ran into world number three, Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open and bowed out in Round 2, and also suffered a first round loss at the hands of eventual winner, Elena Rybakina in Shenzhen a couple of weeks earlier. She comes in with not much form to speak of, and would need to lift here to beat those named above her.

ROUGHIE:

Su-Wei Hsieh (Chinese Taipei)

Now a veteran, the 34-year-old is set to be the fourth seed in Thailand, and could go back inside the top 30 with a strong performance in Hua Hin. Her form this year has been poor, though she has drawn some talented players in the first rounds of her three past tournaments. She lost to Anett Kontaveit in Brisbane, Aryna Sabalenka in Adelaide and Yulia Putintseva at Melbourne Park. Yet to win in 2020, Hsieh is a genuine roughie in this tournament, but a favourable draw could see her gain greater confidence against lowly ranked players to build into the tournament.

DARK HORSE:

Magda Linette (Poland)

Forgetting the Australian Open disaster which saw the world number 42 bow out in three sets to lowly ranked Aranxa Rus, Linette has shown some progression over the past year and reached her career high of 41 in the world last year. A strong performance in Thailand will see her surpass that effort, though her form this season – one win from four matches is not exactly ideal preparation. The 27-year-old can challenge those players around her, but will find the going tough based on current form.

Picture credit: GSB Thailand Open presented by EA