Schedule of play:
Flavia Pennetta vs. Ana Ivanovic
Ana Ivanovic will face the resurgent Flavia Pennetta in her opening match here. Pennetta is high on confidence after reaching the semi-finals in US Open, and will look to get her first win over the Serbian. Despite Ana winning all 3 encounters, all these matches were fairly close. Can Pennetta finally notch a win over the former number 1? My heart says Flavia, while my head says Ana. Either way, it should be a good match with hard fought points.
Pick: Ivanovic in 3 sets
Jelena Jankovic vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Another Serbian in trouble is Jelena Jankovic. She faces Seoul finalist, Pavlyuchenkova, who owns a 3-1 advantage over her. Jankovic's form was pretty dire in Tokyo, losing tamely to Bouchard. She will have to bark up or else Pavlyuchenkova will boss her around the court endlessly. The Russian's game seems to fit well with Jankovic, and knows how to beat her, even though she lost their latest encounter this year. Jelena needs to serve well, or else she'll be having a short lived Asian season.
Pick: Pavlyuchenkova in 3 sets
Zhang Shuai vs. Peng Shuai
The Chinese crowd will be in attendance for this all Chinese clash in Beijing. Zhang Shuai's recent form has been devastating, culminating in her first tour title, and a final appearance in 125K Ningbo. Can Peng Shuai show who's the boss to the younger Chinese? Or will she succumb to the Zhang rail train. Both play similar games and I believe this is where experience counts. With all the expectations on her to do well, Zhang might crumble. As for Peng, she has the pressure as well as the higher ranked player, but the focus is not so much on her this time.
Pick: Peng in 3 sets
Sure win bets: Sara Errani, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Victoria Azarenka
Upset alert: Magdalena Rybarikova, Sorana Cirstea, Monica Puig