With the first tournament of 2016 scheduled to start to tomorrow it is time to make my first predictions of the year. This year’s field is jam packed with 9 top 20 players and the rest coming from the top 50 it really is a good way to start the year. The tournament is headlined by top 10 players Halep, Muguruza, Kerber and defending champion Sharapova.
Quarter 1 Halep (1) v Vinci (8)
Simona Halep will get a bye into the second round a will face either a qualifier or Azarenka, I personally hope that it is Azarenka. They played each other for the first time in 3 years at the US open and it was a match that went to distance and I expect that it will be the same again if Vika is injury free. Other names in this quarter are Cibulkova who takes on Wickmayer in her first round appearance. Domi has been regaining her form since being side lined after having surgery on her foot. Jankovic rounds out the players in this quarter and will take on US open finalist Vinci. Jankovic had a good end to the year winning 2 tournaments. I don’t think that Vinci will continue this form into 2016.
Halep df Jankovic
Quarter 2 Sharapova (3) v Bencic (7)
Sharapova is the highest seed in this quarter and she will face fellow Russian Makarova who hasn’t played since the US open. Sharapova leads their head to head 6 – 0 so I don’t see a problem for her kick starting the defence of her title. Petkovic takes on Pereira in the 2nd first round match. Pereira had her breakthrough year winning 2 titles and climbed up 61 players to the world’s top 50. The other notable match in this quarter is Bencic vs Errani. Bencic had a good year last winning two titles and beating Serena along the way and I expect her to have an even better one this year and also make a good start to year.
Sharapova df Bencic
Quarter 3 Bacsinszky (5) v Kerber (4)
The highest seed in this quarter is Kerber who takes Giorgi. Kerber had the best year on tour last year and I hope that it will continue this year. Giorgi is hard hitter and it’s all or nothing I expect a number of double faults and more from her. Mladenovic takes on fellow French player Cornet. Mladenovic ended her year well I think that she can rise to be in the top 15 this year. Finally Bacsinszky takes on Pavlyuchenkova. I don’t think that anyone would have predicted the year that Bacsinszky had probably not herself I hope that the form that she had last year will continue this year.
Kerber df Mladenovic
Quarter 4 Muguruza (2) v Suarez Navarro (6)
Muguruza is the highest seed in this quarter and will have a bye into the first round and in her first match will play either Schmiedlova or Lepchenko. Schmiedlova had a good year last year and rose into the world’s top 30. I think that she will go a further this year. Finally Suarez Navarro takes on Tomljanovic who can be a dangerous floater in the tournament. Suarez Navarro had an ok really on finding form during the clay season and a few other tournaments although she did make her top 10 debut last and ended just a few places outside a don’t see that she will be inside the top 10 this year she isn’t consistent enough to stay there.
Muguruza df Tomljanovic
Semi Final Predictions
Sharapova df Halep
Muguruza df Kerber
Sharapova df Muguruza