The challenges of hitting a rich run of form now presents a challenge (nonetheless a pleasing one) to Svitolina, of which much has been written of her promise – now appearing to come good. For a start she seems to have the World No. 2 Angelique Kerber’s number, having beaten her twice this year, and she was in impressive title run in Dubai.
She made her debut in Kuala Lumpur in quite some style, grabbing the title on her first time out, and in her current form, she looks favourite for an equally deep run, assuming she heads over from Dubai.
It has not been anywhere near as stellar a year for the Spanish No. 2 who has struggled with injury this year. A shoulder injury rued her out of the season openers in Brisbane and Sydney and it showed with a second round exit in Melbourne.
She makes her debut in Malaysia and has a qualifier or lucky loser to open with, but could run adrift to a far more match-fit Cagla Buyukakcay potentially in the quarter-finals.
Garcia’s season can probably be best described as slow with just one back to back win at the Australian Open, where she reached the third round. It is a marked downtown with the way she ended the year, making the Limoges final at the end of the year but she is dire need of some consistent results at the moment. She too starts with a qualifier or lucky loser, and is returning to the tournament for the first time since 2012, where she failed to get past the first round.
Despite a slow start to the year, Peng seems to have picked up the pace, excusing falling in the first round of Doha qualifiers. She lost to top seed Svitolina in Taipei, and had a decent run in Dubai to the third round.
Defending quarter-final points, she will need to keep some of that momentum going.
The Alya WTA Malaysian Open takes place between 27 February and 5 March (GMT +8 hours)
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