WTA Monterrey Open 2020 Preview: Svitolina Favourite, Clijsters Continues Her Comeback

WTA Monterrey Open 2020: Svitolina Start as Top Seed

Monterrey Open is Mexico’s second WTA event of the calendar and falls under the WTA international events category. The winner takes 280 ranking points from the tournament and the total pool for the prize money is $250,000.

2020 will be the 12th edition of the tournament and will be played on the outdoor hard courts at Club Sonoma in Monterrey, Mexico. The main draw of the tournament will be played from the March 2 onward.

Despite being an international event, many top players have come to the event in the past editions. Garbine Muruguza has won the event four times in her career and likes of Victoria Azarenka, Angelique Kerber, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Ana Ivanovic, Heather Watson and Marion Bartoli have played at the event in the past.

This year seven of the top 50 players from the tour will be taking part in the event. This will be one of the last hardcourt events before the clay-court season starts. Many players in the draw will be looking to make the most of it.

The top seed at this year’s event is going to be Elina Svitolina. The world number seven has had a below-average start to the new season where she has a 6-6 win-loss record so far.

Last week she crashed out of the Qatar Open in the first round and decided to go and see her boyfriend, Gael Monfils at the Dubai Open. She will have a big opportunity to kick start her season and also end her title drought.

The 25-year-old already has 13 career titles to her name but hasn’t won one since her season-ending Masters Cup trophy in 2018. Despite her inconsistent start to the season, Svitolina starts the tournament as the favourite.

Another player who will be looking to finally end a disappointing start to the 2020 season will be the British number one, and second seeded Johanna Konta. She is still looking for her first win of the season.

In fact, she hasn’t won a match since the first week of September 2019. After a hugely impressive 2019 campaign, the 28-year-old had to cut her campaign short due to a knee injury. She started this season with back to back first-round defeats at Brisbane and the Australian Open.

Konta chose to miss Great Britain’s Fed Cup playoff match against Slovakia and took a wild card to play at Saint Petersburg where she received a first-round bye. But she lost disappointingly to the world number 159, Oceane Dodin in the second round.

A strong run this week will finally get her back in rhythm. Hopefully, she will be able to recapture the form she showed last year. In 2019, she reached the semi-finals at the French Open and the last eight at the Wimbledon and the US Open.

The wildcard entrants at this year’s Monterrey Open has some really big names.

One of them is the former world number one and four-time Grand Slam champion, Kim Clijsters of Belgium. She is making her second comeback to professional tennis. Clijsters earlier retired in 2007 before making a comeback in 2009. She won two more Grand Slams after that before retiring again in 2012. Now 36, the Belgian announced her return to the tour last year but a knee injury delayed that.

She played in Dubai a couple of weeks ago but lost in the first round. This week she has travelled to Mexico along with her three children. She was received at the airport by the tournament director, Hernan Garza Echavarria.

Another former world number one and multiple Grand Slam winner to have taken a wild card entry at Monterrey is Venus Williams. Like Konta, the seven-time Grand Skam winner is yet to win a match this season.

She is just coming off a tough loss at the other WTA event of the calendar in Mexico, Acapulco. She missed out on seven match points against the 19-year-old Slovenian, Kaja Juvan. The 39-year-old hasn’t won a title since 2016 and she may be one of the dark horses at Monterrey.

Stephens Sloane is the third wildcard entry at the event this year and she is another American who has had a difficult start to the season. She is also looking for her first win of the season and has lost all her four matches this season. One of them against a player outside the top 300 and another two outside the top 200. The former world number three last won a match in September 2019 at the Beijing Open.

This tournament presents her with a perfect opportunity to get her confidence back. After this, she heads off to Indian Wells where she has no points to defend as she lost there in the first round last season.

As mentioned earlier, Monterrey is the last chance for these players to play on the hard courts at an event of this level for some time. After this, there are only two hard court events left before the clay-court season starts. Those are Premier mandatory events at the Indian Wells Open and the Miami Open.

Saumil Dave
About Saumil Dave 191 Articles
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