By Britwatch Team
- Top Seeds: Simona Halep, Dominika Cibulkova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Venus Williams
- Defending Champion: Roberta Vinci
- CLICK our featured players for stats from TennisAbstract
ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA – Simona Halep might be top seed, but perhaps all eyes should be on Australian Open finalist Venus Williams as her resurgence rolls on.
Draw & Results
|Order of Play|
 Simona Halep
So far it has been a pretty ‘meh’ year for the Romanian. She got just one win under her belt this year in Shenzhen, but was bundled out in the second round, before losing in the first round of the Australian Open.
She is making her debut here and has the benefit of a bye into the second round where she could meet either Ana Konjuh or compatriot and sometime doubles partner Monica Niculescu. If it the latter she at least knows she has two wins over her, and but has never faced the Croatian.
She also has the prospect of Daria Kasatkina as a quarter-final opponent, but again has a 1-0 win over her, so ought to be comfortable to the semi-finals at least.
We might have expected her to go a little further in Melbourne having finished the year at quite a click. She hadn’t picked up any back to back wins before the Australian Open and had a couple of challenges in her first two rounds before coming unstuck in the third round.
She returns to St Petersburg where she scored a solid win over Caroline Wozniacki and reached the quarter-final. She has Jelena Ostapenko most likely in her second round and she has a brace of Russians (Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova – who ousted Cibulkova in Melbourne) and Alizé Cornet in the other part of the bracket to get through as a potential quarter-final.
The Queen of Moscow makes her debut at St Petersburg, coming off the back of a run to the fourth round of the Australian Open. She will most likely face Daria Gavrilova in her opener in the second round, and looks to have a fairly straight-forward path to at least the semi-finals.
Have we left the best until last? Quite possibly. Another St Petersburg debutante but really the story is about how Williams’ resurgence over the past couple of years after the much publicised injuries and illness has seen her mount progressively stronger and deeper campaigns, and a return to a Slam final.
She most like starts with Kristina Mladenovic as a first time clash, and looks likely to have a quarter-final clash with another veteran of the tour, not to mention the defending champion Roberta Vinci.
The St Petersburg takes place between 30 January to 5 February.
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