Schedule of play:
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Simona Halep
Ouch... This must hurt Pavlyuchenkova as she needs to play Simona Halep barely 24 hours after her heartbreaking final in Seoul. Halep will no doubt be the fitter one as she will run Pavlyuchenkova rugged. With her long drawn semi-finals and finals, I don't think Anastasia has the stamina to complete this match. This will either end with a retirement, or a beatdown by Simona.
Pick: Halep in 2 sets
Flavia Pennetta vs. Daniela Hantuchova
These 2 veterans who performed exceptionally well in US Open will face off in their opening matches. With Hantuchova ranked at 30, and Pennetta at 31, almost nothing separates these 2 players. The Italian leads their heads to heads 3-2 and won their most recent match in Beijing 2 years ago. This should be a good lead as to who will win this encounter. Pennetta's route to the semi-finals of US Open was much tougher than Daniela's quarter-final run. And Flavia will be more confident of her chances, after defeating quality opponents in New York.
Pick: Pennetta in 2 sets
Andrea Petkovic vs. Elena Vesnina
Andrea's comeback has hit a wall as she''s struggling to win matches these days. Last week's match against Schiavone was utter rubbish from the German, as both players played badly and committed numerous unforced errors. Let's hope things will get better for the German. Vesnina is establishing herself as a steady top 20 player, and will no doubt be a great hill for Petkovic to overcome. With her current form, it seems unlikely that Andrea can upset the Russian. Elena is just too steady for the over-zealous German.
Pick: Vesnina in 2 sets
Sure win bets: Kimiko Date-Krumm, Magdalena Rybarikova, Kristina Mladenovic
Upset alert: Daniela Hantuchova, Peng Shuai, Eugenie Bouchard