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WTA Hong Kong draw, predictions and matches to watch: Elina Svitolina, Naomi Osaka, Garbine Muguruza and Jelena Ostapenko among those challenging for Hong Kong title

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 7 Oct 2018
  • Elina Svitolina, Naomi Osaka, Garbine Muguruza and Jelena Ostapenko lead the field in Hong Kong
  • The Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open is live from Hong Kong between October 6-14.
Naomi Osaka (Photo by FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka and top seed Elina Svitolina, along with Grand Slam champions Garbine Muguruza and Jelena Ostapenko, headline the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open, live from Hong Kong between October 6-14.

(geo restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)

Elina Svitolina attempts to secure qualificaiton into the season-ending WTA Finals Singapore as she leads the field at the WTA International-level Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open - however the World No. 5 faces stiff competition in the form of U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka, Jelena Ostapenko and Garbine Muguruza.

Svitolina, Muguruza and Ostapenko haven’t performed at their best this season - can one of them finish 2018 strongly and pick up some silverware, or will Osaka continue her blistering late-season form and secure a third title of the year?

One thing’s for certain - the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open is guaranteed to crown a new champion: read on below as we break down the draw and predict who will emerge from each quarter!

First quarter

Projected quarter-final: Elina Svitolina (1) vs Wang Qiang (6) - H2H: Svitolina leads 3-0

Currently seventh in the Porsche Race to Singapore for the season-ending WTA Finals, Svitolina will be hoping to lock down qualification this week in Hong Kong - but she will have to snap a three-match losing streak if she wants to make an impact. Svitolina hasn’t won a match since the U.S. Open, losing in the opening round of Wuhan and Beijing to Aryna Sabalenka and Aleksandra Krunic respectively.

Elina Svitolina (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)


A possible rematch with Krunic could be on the cards in Hong Kong if the Serbian can beat Samantha Stosur in her opening round - and Svitolina does indeed break her three-match losing run against Australian wildcard Priscilla Hon. With Wuhan and Beijing semi-finalist Wang Qiang also lurking in this quarter, Svitolina will need to raise her level if she wants to make it to the semi-finals and beyond. The in-form Wang opens against wildcard Zhang Ling and would meet the winner of Christina McHale and another wildcard Eudice Chong if she prevails.

It’s an interesting little section littered with dangerous opponents for Svitolina - and I’m not sure the Ukrainian is playing well enough to make it out.

Predicted semi-finalist: Wang

Second quarter

Projected quarter-final: Garbine Muguruza (4) vs Alize Cornet (8) - H2H: Muguruza leads 2-1

Already out of the running for a spot at the WTA Finals after a disappointing 2018 season, can Muguruza bring some joy to a poor year by winning the title in Hong Kong? The Spaniard has been trying hard without much reward during the Asian swing so far, losing in the second round of Tokyo and Beijing and the Round of 16 in Wuhan, while she also went down in the second rounds of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and the opening round of Cincinnati. It’s not pretty reading for the former World No. 1 as Muguruza prepares for an opening round match in Hong Kong against compatriot Sara Sorribes Tormo before a potential second round duel with either Ana Bogdan or a qualifier.

Garbine Muguruza (Photo by GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images)


Despite her indifferent form, you’d expect Muguruza to navigate herself past those obstacles, but she could be challenged in the quarter-finals by the likes of Alize Cornet or Zhang Shuai. Cornet is also in poor form at the moment, coming into Hong Kong on the back of a five-match losing streak - and she will have to play very well to avoid a sixth as she faces Zhang in the first round, with the Chinese player confident after beating Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber on her way to the Beijing quarter-finals.

Predicted semi-finalist: Zhang

Third quarter

Projected quarter-final: Jelena Ostapenko (3) vs Lesia Tsurenko (5) - H2H: Ostapenko leads 2-1

Another player who has been struggling for their best form throughout most of the season, Ostapenko attempts to bring some late-year joy to her 2018 campaign in Hong Kong. The Latvian has only won two matches in three tournaments so far during the Asian swing, with her last outing an embarrassing 0-6 0-6 drubbing at the hands of Wang Qiang in Beijing last week. Ostapenko begins her title quest against Kristina Kucova and would meet the winner of Dalila Jakupovic or a qualifier in the second round.

Jelena Ostapenko (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)


Meanwhile, fifth seed Tsurenko retired injured in her last match in Beijing against Julia Goerges, but she’s obviously feeling well enough to take her place in the Hong Kong draw. However, Tsurenko didn’t look good as she pulled the pin against Goerges and I’d be surprised if she’s recovered sufficiently enough to go on a deep run this week. Saisai Zheng could take advantage in the opening round, with the winner to face Dayana Yastremska or a qualifier.

Predicted semi-finalist: Ostapenko

Fourth quarter

Projected quarter-final: Naomi Osaka (2) vs Daria Gavrilova (7) - H2H: Never played at tour-level

US Open champion Osaka has backed up her maiden Grand Slam breakthrough by producing some stellar tennis throughout the Asian swing, finishing runner-up in Tokyo and reaching the semi-finals in Beijing last week before going down to Anastasija Sevastova. However, Osaka was seemingly running out of steam towards the end of that run and was somewhat fortunate to beat Zhang Shuai in the quarter-finals before bowing out to Sevastova. Already qualified for the WTA Finals, it will be interesting to see how Osaka performs in Hong Kong, with the Japanese star to face a qualifier in the first round and the winner of two qualifiers in the second round.

Naomi Osaka (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)


Gavrilova finished runner-up in Hong Kong 12 months ago to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and with some question marks surrounding Osaka at the moment (at least in my eyes), the Australian will fancy her chances of returning to the final this week. Gavrilova starts her campaign against Zarina Diyas but could face a tricky second round encounter against either Monica Niculescu or Ekaterina Makarova.

Predicted semi-finalist: Gavrilova

*****

The Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open is live from Hong Kong between October 6-14.


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WTA Hong Kong draw, predictions and matches to watch: Elina Svitolina, Naomi Osaka, Garbine Muguruza and Jelena Ostapenko among those challenging for Hong Kong title

U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka and top seed Elina Svitolina, along with Grand Slam champions Garbine Muguruza and Jelena Ostapenko, headline the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open, live from Hong Kong between October 6-14.

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