By Britwatch Team
- Scheduled players: Agnieszka Radwanska, Petra Kvitova, Irina-Camelia Begu, Monica Niculescu, Johanna Konta
- 2014 Champion: Simona Halep (not defending)
- 3-10 January 2015
SHENZHEN, CHINA – Top seed Agnieszka Radwanska has her eye on greater prizes in 2016 following on from her WTA Finals title.
After what felt like a turbulent start to the year after announcing and then renouncing a short-lived coaching arrangement with Martina Navratilova, it took a while for the WTA’s magician to find the magic touch. After looking down and out, she was the one who came out on top at the season ending finale, and was reminded of one other WTA great (Amelie Mauresmo) who scooped the year end title, before going on to win her two Slam titles.
She had a hefty start to last year scoring a win off Serena Williams at the Hopman Cup where she partnered Jerzy Janowicz on their way to the title, but after two years at the team invitational, she is starting her season with every expectation of some silverware at the end of it.
She starts her season at the World Tennis exhibition in Thailand before heading to Shenzhen for the season proper. It is not a straight forward start against feisty Aleksandra Krunic, and we could see a good clash between the top seed and the British No. 1 Johanna Konta who is the fifth seed.
Second Quarter: Irina-Camelia Begu
On paper this is a great chance for the Romanian No. 2 to shine, with a fairly open quarter, although Zarina Diyas has had some moments of glory in the past, as they potentially clash in the quarter-finals
Third Quarter: Monica Niculescu
Niculescu was a solid match for Serena Williams’ return to Indian Wells and her unique loopy style is an interesting conundrum to face over the net, while Begu tends to play more defensively. But all eyes will be on sixth seed Eugenie Bouchard. Having finally made some headway towards the end of last year, her now infamous slip and fall at the US Open has seen her struggle to deal with the continuing effects of the head injury.
Bottom Quarter: Petra Kvitova
Newly engaged, will this happy turn of events leave Kvitova with a positive drive to add Slams not on grass to her CV? She has every chance of maybe even setting up a WTA Finals rematch against top seed Radwanska, with what looks like a very Czech-friendly draw.
A lot depends on her motivation – she was the first to admit after taking time out last year for exhaustion that she had just burned herself out last year, and the two-tie Wimbledon champion need to look to hit the heights we know she is capable of.
The Shenzhen Open takes place between 3-9 January.
FOLLOW BRITWATCH – SPORTS IN GENERAL, BRITS IN PARTICULAR!