Schedule of play:
Mona Barthel vs. Venus Williams
Venus Williams' health is always a question mark going into tournaments, and this is no exception. She will face the hard hitting German, Mona Barthel in her opening match. Venus will need to be ready for some hard balls as the German packs a punch and will not succumb easily. However, the frail mentality of Mona will become her undoing as she will definitely fold under the pressure of playing the great Venus Williams. The path doesn't get any easier for Venus though, as she will play top seed Azarenka if she wins this.
Pick: Williams in 2 tight sets
Julia Goerges vs. Sorana Cirstea
The Walking Dead has changed its shooting location to Tokyo's tennis courts, as 2 of the tour's most listless players take on each other in this guaranteed stink fest. Both Goerges and Cirstea have beem disgraceful in their recent tournaments, and this match will no doubt leave a bad taste in everyone's mouth. No matter who wins, tennis loses. If only one of these girls know better and take a break and spare us from the misery.
Pick: Avoid at all costs
Alize Cornet vs. Samantha Stosur
Samantha Stosur has just become a shadow of herself ever since winning Carlsbad. She struggled to win matches, culminating in her embarrassing loss to Duval in New York. Cornet has been in decent form recently, but lost a puzzling match to Meusburger last week. Comparing them, I believe Cornet has a better chance as Meusburger did just win a title in Bad Gastein, unlike Duval who has done practically nothing. Stosur's lack of a coach will continue to haunt her as she plays aimlessly on the courts.
Pick: Cornet in 3 sets
Sure win bets: Sloane Stephens, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Kirsten Flipkens
Upset alert: Mona Barthel, Samantha Stosur, Klara Zakopalova