Stuttgart | WTA 500 Preview – 7 top tenners to compete on indoor clay

The WTA Tour resumes on the clay at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany, this week, where the oldest women’s indoor event in Europe features a packed main draw, led by World No 1 Iga Swiatek in a field that includes 7 of the Top 10, as well as the tournament debuts of Emma Raducanu, Bianca Andreescu, and Coco Gauff.

We’ve got a sensational field and spectators back in the indoor arena, one couldn’t wish for more. The fact that virtually all the top 20 will be contesting our tournament is amazing. The players love coming to us because they feel at home here. Markus Günthardt, Stuttgart Tournament Director

Held since 1978, the Stuttgart Open is a WTA 500 event offering 470 ranking points to the winner, and a total prize money pot of $703,580 (£540,455).

This elite event has been voted by the players as the WTA 500 Tournament of the Year in 10 of the last 15 years, and features a 32-player singles draw and 16-team doubles draw, played using the Wilson Roland Garros ball.

Main draw play begins on Monday, 18 April, with qualifying completed over the weekend.

The top 8 seeds as Swiatek (1), with Paula Badosa at No 2, Aryna Sabalenka (3), Maria Sakkari (4), Anett Kontaveit (5), Karolina Pliskova (6), Ons Jabeur (7) and Raducanu at 8.

Defending champion Ash Barty is not in the field after announcing her retirement from pro tennis last month.

Last year, Barty swept both the singles and doubles titles, the then World No 1 defeating Sabalenka in the singles final before pairing up with Jennifer Brady to beat Desirae Krawczyk & Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

“We’ve got a sensational field and spectators back in the indoor arena, one couldn’t wish for more,” said tournament director Markus Günthardt. ‟The fact that virtually all the top 20 will be contesting our tournament is amazing.

“The players love coming to us because they feel at home here.

“We offer them conditions in which they can perform at their best and our crowd also creates a fantastic atmosphere, no matter whether there are two stars or two qualifiers on court.”

Iga Swiatek, who took over the World No 1 mantle when Ash Barty retired, is on a run of 19 match wins which she will hope to extend in Stuttgart this week

© Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Top seed Swiatek, who has a first-round bye, is on a career-best 19-match winning streak, which includes consecutive titles at WTA 1000 events in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami, and 2 victories at this weekend’s Billie Jean King Cup qualifier.

The Pole will face either Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic or a qualifier, Germany’s Eva Lys, in the 2nd round, with her potential quarter-final opponent possibly being Raducanu, the reigning US Open champion, who opens against Australian Storm Sanders, also a qualifier.

Raducanu played the first professional clay-court match of her career on Friday, which she won over World No 50 Tereza Martincova from the Czech Republic in Billie Jean King Cup qualifying in Prague, but was defeated in her second clay-court match by Marketa Vondrousova on Saturday.

There is a question mark over the 19-year old’s fitness as she was hampered by foot blisters in her match against Vondrousova, and it remains to be seen if the World No 12 has recovered sufficiently to play her first clay court tournament on the WTA Tour.

The 2nd quarter is led by Maria Sakkari, the 4th seed from Greece who, after her first-round bye, will face either 2021 Roland Garros semi-finalist Tamara Zidansek from Slovenia or German wild-card Laura Siegemund, who won the Stuttgart title in 2017 and was runner-up in 2016.

At the bottom of that quarter, 2 former Stuttgart champions will square off in an intriguing all-Czech opening round, where No 6 seed and 2018 champion Karolina Pliskova faces the 2019 champion, Petra Kvitova, who leads their head-to-head 3-1, but they have not met since 2018.

The 3rd quarter sees No 5 seed and 2019 runner-up Anett Kontaveit from Estonia taking on one of the tournament’s top performers, Germany’s Angelique Kerber, in the first round.

Kerber, a former World No 1, has had some of her top Hologic WTA Tour successes on home soil in Stuttgart, winning back-to-back titles in 2015 and 2016.

Sabalenka, the 3rd seed, is in that quarter as well, coming off her tournament debut last year where she went all the way to the final before losing to Barty.

After her opening bye this year, Sabalenka could meet the returning Bianca Andreescu from Canada in the second round.

Andreescu, the 2019 US Open champion, will play her first match of the 2022 season against wild-card Jule Niemeier from Germany in the first round.

The Canadian’s most recent match took place at Indian Wells in October of 2021.

The 4th quarter has 2nd-seeded Paula Badosa from Spain at the bottom of the draw who, after her first-round bye, takes on either Elena Rybakina from Kazakstan or Nastasja Schunk, a German qualifier, in round two.

This jam-packed quarter also features a first-round clash between No 7 seed Ons Jabeur from Tunisia and Vondrousova, the 2019 Roland Garros finalist and last year’s Olympic silver medalist.

The winner of the Jabeur/Vondrousova match will have another tricky contest in the 2nd round against either American Coco Gauff or Daria Kasatkina.

UK viewers will be able to watch live action in the Stuttgart Open on Amazon Prime Video.



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