WTA Betting: Kerber faces tough draw in Wuhan and Pliskova could benefit
Serena Williams is missing from the field after the American announced her withdrawal from both Wuhan and the China Open, with a problematic shoulder injury continuing to unsettle her.
In turn, it’s no surprise to see current world number one Angelique Kerber considered the favourite, although the German ace has a tough path ahead if she hopes to continue to enjoy an excellent season.
In her first event since winning the US Open, Kerber will face either Kristina Mladenovic or Coco Vandeweghe in her opening match in the second round after being handed a first-round bye.
After that, she could face Petra Kvitova in the third with the likes of Carla Suarez Navarro, Simona Halep and Madison Keys waiting further down the line.
As a result, although she is the smart bet at this point given her form, winning mentality and resolve this year, it’s worth considering alternatives that have a more straight-forward route to get to the business end of the tournament.
Keep an eye on a resurgent Caroline Wozniacki, with the Dane playing really well in New York, and has since won her first title in 2016 in Tokyo this past week.
Our search though heads to the bottom half of the draw, and a strong case can be made for either Venus Williams or Agnieszka Radwanska to emerge from the third quarter and put together a strong run.
However, we were left very impressed with Karolina Pliskova in recent months, and she proved her quality and confidence with her run to the final at the US Open.
The biggest threat in her quarter is second seed Garbine Muguruza, but the Spaniard has been far from convincing for some time now, and so if Pliskova can pick up from where she left off earlier this month, then she is certainly one to keep an eye on.
Kerber’s sustained momentum and consistent performances now make her the player to beat on the tour, and there is absolutely every chance that she continues to dominate.
However, it’s a really tough draw for her and there are plenty of possible slip-ups in there. In turn, we’re sticking with Pliskova even though she was disappointing in Tokyo last week.
Back her to be switched on again this week with the fierce competition bringing the best out of her, as she’ll need to be on her game immediately with the likes of Lucie Safarova and Dominika Cibulkova probably standing in her way to start things off.