By Britwatch Team
- Top Seeds: Caroline Garcia, Petra Kvitova, Daria Kasatkina, Sloane Stephens
- Defending Champion: Daria Kasatkina
- British Interest: Johanna Konta, Heather Watson
- CLICK our featured players for stats from TennisAbstract
CHARLESTON, USA – Daria Kasatkina returns to defend her title, but can 2016 champion and now reigning Miami Open champion Sloane Stephens make it two titles in a row?
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Draw & Results
|Order of Play|
A flurry of wins here and there have kept Garcia as a constant presence in the top ten as she comes into a tournament as the top seed for a second time. Garcia has never actually been past the third round here. She could be tested if she faces Andrea Petkovic in the second round, as she benefits from a bye, and she is seeded to face countrywoman Alizé Cornet in the third round and enjoys a solid head to head over her compatriot.
She is set to face British No. 1 Johanna Konta in the quarter-finals. They have a close head to head, with Konta just having the edge overall (3-2) but with Garcia having claimed their only encounter on clay in Madrid two years ago. Konta has not had much luck on the dirt and with hardly any points to defend, could at least claim some points in this swing.
While the humid US spring hard court swing may not have been as happy a hunting ground for the Czech after starting the year with back to back titles in St Petersburg and Doha, the clay has been a place where she has shown her mettle, most notably winning the Madrid title in 2015.
She is making her debut in Charleston with the prospect of a Czech whatever happens in the second round, as she faces the winner of Katerina Siniakova and Kristyna Pliskova. Her third round seed could be Elena Vesnina, getting her second win over the Russian this year on the way to the title.
She is looking at potentially facing Anastasija Sevastova in the quarter-finals. Although the Latvian shows up a 2-1 lead, their first match was back in the lower tiers and they have split wins on the main tour, but they haven’t faced each other since 2011.
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If claiming her first WTA tour title at Charleston was not impressive enough, she backed it up later in the year with the Moscow title, and this year has already made the finals of Dubai and Indian Wells. The only place this player is going is up.
Kasatkina is attempting to defend a title for the first time this week, and also looking to become the first player to do so at Charleston since Serena Williams in 2012-2013. Not surprisingly after back to back finals in Dubai and Indian Wells, Kasatkina looked a little spent, and bowed out in her opener in Miami, so with a couple of weeks of recuperation, it will be interesting to see how she does.
Her first seed is likely to be Irina-Camelia Begu who would have to snap a four-match losing streak against the Russian to halt her title defence. However, with Julia Goerges who is also enjoying a solid year, she might have a struggle at the quarter-final stages.
We are assuming the US Open and now Miami Open champion will pitch up here, and given her record when on US soil, why wouldn’t she? Charleston capped off a great 2016 for Stephens where she picked up three titles in 2016 before injury struck keeping her off the tour after the Olympics until her comeback at Wimbledon last year.
Her run at Miami also heralded a return to form after she had snapped her eight-match losing streak since lifting her maiden Slam title at the US Open. If she has enough in the tank, we could be on course of for a US Open rematch against Madison Keys who has been struggling with injury.
The Volvo Car Open takes place between 2-8 April (BST -4 hours).
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