Schedule of play:
Caroline Garcia vs. Venus Williams
Just last week, Garcia beat Venus in a nail-biter third set tiebreak. The American will be eager to exact revenge on the French youngster. Venus served for the match in Wuhan, but let the match slip with loose errors on crucial points. Caroline did raise her game also, but I still feel her game is too all or nothing. If Garcia can strike a balance between defense and offense, I think she has what it takes to be a top 10 player. Until then, she will always be undone by unnecessary errors on easy put aways.
Pick: Venus in 3 sets
Andrea Petkovic vs. Madison Keys
Petkovic hasn't been playing well recently, but has been toughing out wins despite her dip in form. She will need her legs in this encounter against the erratic but aggressive Keys. The keys to the match will be Petkovic's ability to make Madison hit that one extra ball. If the German can succeed in retrieving enough balls and making Madison play, she has a good chance of making Keys self-implode. Like Garcia, Keys will need to strike a balance between offense and defense before becoming a player to watch.
Pick: Petkovic in 3 sets
Eugenie Bouchard vs. Sabine Lisicki
Eugenie Bouchard just came off her best showing in a Premier event in Wuhan, but will be bothered by her inability to pressure Kvitova in the final. She will face a similar opponent in Lisicki, who serves big and possesses big groundstrokes. Eugenie will breathe a sigh of relief though, as Sabine is much error-prone than Kvitova, but if the German is hitting her spots, she can score an upset anytime. The Canadian is fighting to cement her place in the WTA finals, so I believe she will be very motivated to beat the dangerous German in as little fuss as possible.
Pick: Bouchard in 2 sets
Sure win bets: Serena Williams, Simona Halep, Ana Ivanovic
Upset alert: Flavia Pennetta