The women’s singles draw for the 2023 China Open has been released and we are in for a week of high-octane tennis action in Beijing.
The tournament returns to the WTA Tour after a four-year gap. Naomi Osaka won the previous edition in 2019, but she won’t be competing due to her maternity leave.
However, the best players in the world will all be in action, with the likes of Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka, and Coco Gauff being the heavy favorites to win. Jessica Pegula, Ons Jabeur, Elena Rybakina and Maria Sakkari are in the running as well, given their respective forms.
On that note, let us take a look at how the women’s singles draw at the China Open might unfold.
Top Half: Aryna Sabalenka, Elena Rybakina, Jessica Pegula and Ons Jabeur in contention for SF spots
Seeded Players: (1) Aryna Sabalenka, (4) Jessica Pegula, (5) Elena Rybakina, (7) Ons Jabeur, (10) Barbora Krejcikova, (12) Petra Kvitova, (13) Jelena Ostapenko, (15) Beatriz Haddad Maia.
Expected Semifinal: Aryna Sabalenka vs Ons Jabeur.
Dark Horse: Sofia Kenin.
Analysis: Top seed Aryna Sabalenka is in this half of the draw and will start her campaign against a very tough opponent in Sofia Kenin. The American is on course for a resurgence given her recent performances, but the Belarusian should come out on top, even if it is by the barest of all margins.
From here on, Sabalenka could face the likes of Beatriz Haddad Maia and Elise Mertens but should be able to make it to the quarterfinals where she will most probably take on fifth seed Elena Rybakina. Although Petra Kvitova should not be written off.
Sabalenka and Rybakina played some intense matches at the Australian Open and Indian Wells finals, and if the two lock horns in Beijing, the World No. 1’s newfound composure and aggression could see her edge out the Kazakh and reach the semifinals.
The other half of this draw has fourth seed Jessica Pegula and Ons Jabeur, and there is a good chance of the two locking horns in the quarterfinals. While the likes of Barbora Krejcikova, Jelena Ostapenko and Liudmila Samsonova are all formidable competitors, it could come down between Pegula and Jabeur for a place in the semifinals.
Both players can be a menace to the other on their day, but the Tunisian’s versatility might see the American out and reach the final four in Beijing.
A match between Sabalenka and Jabeur always promises to be exciting, and we could see another one in the semifinals of the China Open. The Belarusian can beat the Tunisian if maintains her composure throughout the match, considering she does not hit as many unforced errors as she used to.
Semifinal Prediction: Aryna Sabalenka def. Ons Jabeur.
Second Half: Iga Swiatek could face Coco Gauff in China Open SF
Seeded Players: (2) Iga Swiatek, (3) Coco Gauff, (6) Maria Sakkari, (8) Marketa Vondrousova, (9) Caroline Garcia, (11) Daria Kasatkina, (14) Victoria Azarenka, (16) Veronika Kudermetova.
Expected Semifinal: Iga Swiatek vs Coco Gauff.
Dark Horse: Ekaterina Alexandrova.
Analysis: Second seed Iga Swiatek will be more eager than ever to win a trophy following her earlier-than-expected exits at the US Open (fourth round) and the Toray Pan Pacific Open (quarterfinals).
The Pole starts off against Sara Sorribes Tormo and should have little trouble beating the Spaniard. She could face 14th seed Victoria Azarenka in the Round of 16, and should be able to get the better of the Belarusian to book her place in the quarterfinals of the China Open.
Here, Swiatek’s most likely opponent would be either eighth-seed Marketa Vondrousova or ninth-seed Caroline Garcia. She will most likely beat either of the two and reach the semifinals.
The other side of this half has US Open champion Coco Gauff, who could arguably be the heaviest favorite to win the title in the China Open given her form over the past couple of months.
Gauff takes on a tough opponent in Ekaterina Alexandrova in the first round and should be able to come out on top, but not without a tough battle from the Russian. The American might face 16th seed Veronika Kudermetova in the Round of 16 and should be able to overcome her to reach the quarterfinals of the China Open.
Here, her opponent could be either sixth seed Maria Sakkari or 11th seed Daria Kasatkina. Both players have looked in good nick lately, particularly Sakkari, who won the Guadalajara Open. However, Gauff should manage to grind out a win to set up a semifinal clash against Iga Swiatek.
The two last faced in Cincinnati, and the American came out on top in a tense encounter. This time, however, Swiatek’s mentality and her determination could see her beat Gauff and reach the final of the China Open.
Semifinal Prediction: Iga Swiatek def. Coco Gauff.
Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka could square off against one another in the China Open final and we could see a nail-biter in Beijing. Composure would be the key to determining the winner, given their quality, and whoever makes fewer mistakes on the court will most likely come out on top.
Prediction: Iga Swiatek def. Aryna Sabalenka.