The hard court season is back in full swing as the next stop for the WTA is the Premier Five event in Toronto, Canada. The Rogers Cup is the first important event of the season for women on tour as they begin to prepare for the US Open. The ladies draw will commence on Monday, Aug. 10 as fans will get to see the biggest names in women’s tennis take to the hard courts in Canada.
The best female tennis player in the world this season, Serena Williams, is back after incurring an elbow injury a couple of weeks ago. She’ll be at the top of the draw, and opposite to her sitting as the No. 2 seed will be Simona Halep. Unfortunately, fans will have to do without Maria Sharapova’s presence this season as she pulled out of the event due to a right leg injury. The door looks wide open for Williams to take the title this year. Even though Williams might take some caution at her intensity this week she’s always a mighty opponent to knock out of any draw at any time.
Seeded at No. 8 will be 2015 Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza who will try to continue her impressive season with a good showing as her draw appears to offer the chance to have a much better result than her second round dismissal at last year’s event. Past champion Petra Kvitova is seeded No. 3 in the bottom half of the draw where she’ll have to face adversity early as she’s positioned to meet Victoria Azarenka in her opening match. It’s been a while since both women have faced each other, but both are some of the hardest hitters on tour aside from Serena. Last year’s champion, Agnieszka Radwanska, is also positioned in the bottom half of the draw as the No. 6 seed, but the likelihood of defending her title is not favorable as her tennis game is not as hot as it was in 2014.
Other ladies in the event that can spell trouble for their opponents include Lucie Safarova, Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic and Angelique Kerber.
Current Betting Odds
*Odds provided by bet365
Best Bets to Make
1. Serena Williams to win (6/4): We do have some slight concern with Serena’s most recent right elbow injury. The injury has been bothering her off and on all year. It’s certainly a reason that could have her withdraw out of a tournament at any time so that she can make sure she’s well rested before going into the US Open. However, with this year shaping up to be the best tennis she’s played in her entire career it’s extremely hard to bet against her. Moreover, Williams’ draw is incredibly favorable for her to reach the final. She doesn’t have any opponent in her half of the draw that’s capable of playing at a high enough caliber to defeat her. Injury is her only enemy at this time.
2. Victoria Azarenka to win (5/1): Finally! For the entire season Azarenka has had to stay patient and focus on raising her ranking high enough so she could stop getting placed in the top half of tournament draws to face Serena Williams. In 2015, her ranking has gone as low as No.41 to a now respectable No. 19. As a result, she finally has good position in a big event that grants her a better chance at winning a title. She still has some obstacles to overcome in her half of the draw, as she’ll most likely face World No. 4 Petra Kvitova in a second round matchup, but with Kvitova’s early exit out of Wimbledon this might actually be the weakest we’ve seen Kvitova in quite a while.
For us, the most exciting aspect is that we know Azarenka is tired of being in the same half of the draw as Serena. Case and point is the fact that Azarenka’s last two losses in Grand Slam events were at the hand of Williams. Azarenka has to know she’s finally closing in on having the chance to get placed on the opposite side of a tournament draw in her next Major event. The only way to capitalize on that is to do well in these preliminary US Open events. Can she do it? We certainly think so as she’s proven to everyone her ability to bounce back in 2015.