Schedule of play:
Jelena Jankovic vs. Alize Cornet
With the resurgence of Ivanovic, Jankovic has been overlooked in many of the tournaments. And rightly so, Jelena wasn't able to replicate her success from the first half of the year. The Serbian is trying to defend her finalist points here from last year, and will need to be on song against the fiesty Cornet. Alize will like her chances as Jankovic retired from her match last week against Vandeweghe, coupled with Jankovic's dip in form. Can Jelena snap out of her losing ways? Somehow, I think she enjoys playing in Beijing, and will reverse her slump and squeeze out a win here.
Pick: Jankovic in 3 sets
Belinda Bencic vs. Ana Ivanovic
The other Serbian, Ivanovic has been enjoying a great run in Tokyo. Her title run was without a fuss, but had to retire from her match in Wuhan. I'm sure that was due to exhuastion, and Ana will be well rested here in Beijing. Ana's position in the race to Singapore is at a precarious number 8, so she will be eager to win here. Bencic's game can be overpowered, so Ivanovic should be able to pressure the youngster with her powerful game.
Pick: Ivanovic in 2 sets
Flavia Pennetta vs. Christina McHale
Flavia seems to be focusing more on her doubles in a bid to qualify for the year-end championships in Singapore with Martina Hingis. It's a pity for Pennetta as she had a pretty decent chance of qualifying for the singles campaign as well after her Indian Wells triumph. Inconsistencies did her in, but she should be able to win against McHale. If Pennetta isn't too tired from her doubles outings, the Italian's game on hard courts is pretty neat and graceful to watch.
Pick: Pennetta in 2 sets
Sure win bets: Caroline Garcia, Serena Williams, Peng Shuai
Upset alert: Tsvetana Pironkova, Mona Barthel