By Britwatch Team
- Top Seeds Simona Halep, Angelique Kerber
- 2015 Champion: Petra Kvitova (withdrawn pre-tournament)
- 10-15 January 2015
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – One week in and all eyes will be on top names who have already struggled to get their season started as the players sharpen up for Melbourne.
Britwatch Tennis: Full Draws and Schedules
Top Quarter – Simona Halep or Karoline Pliskova
Ordinarily we would put our faith in the gritty Romanian to scramble her way to the quarter-finals, but she withdrew before crowds in Brisbane got the chance for a Halep/Victoria Azarenka showdown in Brisbane. Halep has been struggling with an Achilles injury, which means she can’t run at full pelt. With some real challenges in her draw, starting with either Kristina Mladenovic or Caroline Garcia who can deliver upsets here.
In all probability this could be a real chance for Karolina Pliskova to make a pre-Slam run. She starts against an also-struggling Ana Ivanovic, downed by Brit Naomi Broady in Auckland, and she could well be the one to advance.
Second Quarter – Carla Suárez Navarro
At the bottom of the bracket, Navarro could be a challenge, but she looked strangely flat against an on-fire Angelique Kerber in Brisbane, but never count out the quiet Spaniard to make a solid run here too.
With Petra Kvitova’s withdrawal, the bracket is wide open, but tour stalwarts Jelena Jankovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova could spring a surprise in this section, especially as they battle to get matches under their belt.
Third Quarter – Angelique Kerber
It was a new and improved Kerber who has been trying to add more aggression to her game as well as her trademark work ethic of running everything down. She ran onto the juggernaut that was Azarenka in Brisbane, but still remained positive that she was doing the right thing.
What works for some does not necessarily apply to Kerber who wants to be match sharp where others may have dropped out of competing this week after a title.
Another seed to watch out for will be Belinda Bencic – she too was a first round bounce at the hands of qualifier Samantha Crawford in Brisbane and will be looking for some wins ahead of Melbourne.
Bottom Quarter – Roberta Vinci
Hot on the heels of Kvitova’s withdrawal, newly crowned Shenzhen champion Agnieszka Radwanska also withdrew from the tournament, and the one remaining seed, Timea Bacsinszky, had another early exit, leaving the bracket wide open.
Sam Stosur would have been a pick with the ‘benefit’ of home support but it always seems to have the opposite effect for the Aussie, so expect to see US Open finalist Vinci take this quarter by storm.
The Brisbane International takes place between 10-15 January.
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