By Ros Satar
- Top Seeds: Angelique Kerber, Venus Williams, Jelena Jankovic (Top seed and Beijing champion Garbiñe Muguruza withdraws)
- British interest: Heather Watson (British No. 2)
HONG KONG – Venus Williams continues her race to Singapore as she chases one of the eight places in the WTA Finals to be held at the end of the month, and Heather Watson is in main draw action.
Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam winner looks to ensure at least one Williams is there, after World No. 1 Serena Williams called time on her season after the US Open.
Venus said to WTA.com: “This is it. This is my last tournament before the season-ending championship and my last chance to do well. Hopefully I can enter the top seven or eight (in the world). It is not going to be easy as there is a strong field in Hong Kong.”
Williams picked up her 700th career singles win in Wuhan, on the way to her 47th singles title and heads the draw in a strong field.
Williams will kick off against a Lucky Loser Yuliya Beygelzimer on the way to potentially an all-US affair against compatriot Christina McHale in the second round. Her potential quarter-finalist will be feisty Alize Cornet who dented the chances of a Williams sisters final showdown last year in Dubai.
Jelena Jankovic takes a wildcard and picks up the fourth seeding in the processes and starts ff against a qualifier in the opening round, and could end up facing scrappy Daria Gavrilova  in the quarter-finals.
With the reshuffle of names in the draw following Garbiñe Muguruza’s withdrawal, Watson sits at the top of the bracket, as she strives to catch up some ground on now new British No. 1 Johanna Konta (who is in action in Linz).
With a couple of qualifiers in her section, she could be gearing up for a quarter-final between her sushi-dining pal Monica Puig who may well have to do battle with fifth seed Samantha Stosur in the second round. She may prefer the Aussie for a first time meeting, having lost her only outing to Puig. Watson may have the higher ranking but has struggled to find consistency and fell in the second round of qualifying in Beijing, while Puig got a couple more matches under her belt after some disappointing performances this year.
Caroline Garcia moves up to seventh seed but faces a tough start against USA’s Lauren Davis and is set for a showdown with Singapore contender Angelique Kerber, who has the edge over their head to head. Kerber comes in with the better form after her run to the Beijing quarter-finals after Garcia lost to Sara Errani in the second round after battling through qualification.
Play starts at the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open at 3pm (8am BST).
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