WUHAN, CHINA, Top seed Garbiñe Muguruza will try and keep her grip on the world No. 1, meanwhile can Johanna Konta put aside last week’s disappointing opening loss and catch up ground in the Porsche Race to Singapore.
It was looking to be an impressive debut for the newly minted World No. 1 in Tokyo with comfortable wins for Muguruza until she was completely upended by eventual champion Caroline Wozniacki for the loss of just two games in the semi-final. With the bonus of having already qualified for the WTA Finals in Singapore, it is all about consolidating her position at the top of tree, but with defending champion Petra Kvitova also lurking in her section of the bracket, it could be a tough ride for the Spaniard.
She has been as far as the final before here, in 2015.
You have to feel for Halep this year – the chance for the World No. 1 has dangled in front of her and been snatched away, and after a complete beat down in the Cincinnati final, she then drew Maria Sharapova in the opening round at the US Open, and was edged out.
What frame of mind can we expect her to be in after a long break? She lost in the semi-final last year to eventual champion Kvitova, with potentially Dominika Cibulkova returning to form in the other section of her path to the quarter-finals, and don’t count out Angelique Kerberwho also seems to be settling into a good run at the start of the Asian swing.
The most recent player to hold the World No. 1 crown lost it, and parted company with her coach David Kotyza in short order. Pliskova had a solid run to the quarter-finals of the US Open, but was defending her maiden final last year, and saw the top spot in the rankings go with that loss.
The best she has managed at Wuhan is the quarter-finals 2015) and could lock horns with the US Open champion Sloane Stephensin the third round, and potentially Britain’s Johanna Konta, who is set to face her in the quarter-finals.
It proved to be seventh-time lucky for Wozniacki, who picked up the premier title in Tokyo and thus kept her unbroken run of winning a title every year since 2008. It perhaps felt even more special after this year reaching six finals and being on the runners-up plate side of things, before finally getting the big prize, not to mention defending her title.
She comes into Wuhan as possibly the most in form player on the swing at the moment and a real danger. Apart from reaching the semi-final here on her debut, she has not exactly set the raw alight, so now is a chance to stamp some authority for her spot in the Porsche Race to Singapore.
The Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open takes place between 24-30 September.
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