Family Circle Cup
$795,707; WTA Premier
Draw is here
U.S. TV schedule is here
The 56-player draw is led by Serena Williams. She is, of course, the extreme favorite to win it. Serena is No. 1 and coming off a title in Miami, and she played some of her most dominant tennis of last season when she slashed and burned her way through the draw here. The quality of competition also helps her chances: No Vika, no Maria, no Aga, not even a Petra, Angelique, or a Sara. The second seed is 10th-ranked Caroline Wozniacki.
It’s a familiar question, but once again it’s the only relevant one as this tournament gets underway: Can anyone stop Serena? She starts against Italy’s Camila Gorgi, and could play Sabine Lisicki after that. The up and down German had an up morning on Tuesday, double-bageling Anna Tatishvili. Serena is 2-0 against Lisicki; not all that surprisingly, the oft-injured Sabine retired against her here last year. The next-highest seed in this quarter is Lucie Safarova, who reached the final in Charleston in 2012. She may have wished she hadn’t: Safarovia was beaten 0 and 1 by Serena.
Also in this half is Sloane Stephens, who will start against Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Sloane won their three-setter in Paris last year, and says that clay is her favorite surface. If so, we might get a chance to see her play Venus Williams in a match that didn’t happen last week in Miami. Venus opens against Monica Puig, a 19-year-old up-and-comer from Puerto Rico.
Wozniacki, the 2011 Charleston champ, leads the other half. She starts against Silvia Soler-Espinosa, and will likely play the winner of Andrea Petkovic and Yaroslava Shvedova in the third round. Also on this side are Sam Stosur, a clay lover and the champion in 2010; eighth-seeded Mona Barthel; Jelena Jankovic, who is playing Melanie Oudin as I write this; Laura Robson; and seventh-seeded Carla Suarez-Navarro.
Any of those names sound like Serena stoppers? Stosur has done it before, as has Wozniacki. If they make the final, they’d have a...chance.
Already out: Southern girl Jamie Hampton, in three sets to Olga Govortsova.