The picturesque town of Bad Gastein, Austria will host an international event on red clay this week featuring 4 top 20 players including Flavia Pennetta, Sara Errani, Carla Suarez Navarro and Andrea Petkovic. A decent field has been amassed for this international event with promising young talents Ajla Tomljanovic, Elina Svitolina and Camila Giorgi also competing. After winning her first WTA title at this event last season, home crowd favourite Yvonne Meusburger will have a tough time defending her title.
Sara Errani arrives in Austria having won the Wimbledon doubles title to complete a career Grand Slam. Errani will be looking for her 8th title in Austria. Having claimed her maiden WTA title earlier this year in Portugal, Carla Suarez Navarro will fancy her chances of a deep run here and perhaps a second title. Petkovic had a great clay court season; she went all the way in Charleston and had a stunning run at Roland Garros, reaching the semi-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career. After a stunning hard-court season that saw her crack the WTA top 10, Flavia Pennetta had a disappointing clay court season. Despite this, Flavia has a good chance to win her second title of the year in Austria.
Flavia Pennetta and Andrea Petkovic have been drawn into the top half of the draw whilst Sara Errani and Carla Suarez Navarro feature in the bottom section. The draw seems to divided quite evenly for once, if anything the bottom half seems a bit more difficult. I fancy Andrea Petkovic to come through the top half of the draw. The bottom half seems to be out of Errani and Suarez Navarro or even Camila Giorgi. Despite Errani not having the greatest of seasons, she is always difficult to beat on clay so I'm predicting Sara to come through the bottom half and meet Andrea Petkovic in the final.
Prediction: Sara Errani def. Andrea Petkovic
First Round Match Predictions:
Mona Barthel to defeat (8) Karolina Pliskova in three sets, (WC) Yvonne Neuwirth to defeat (WC) Lisa-Maria Moser in straight sets, Stefanie Voegele to defeat Julia Goerges in three sets, (1) Flavia Pennetta to defeat Grace Min in straight sets, (4) Andrea Petkovic to defeat Jana Cepelova in straight sets, (7) Camila Giorgi to defeat Andrea Hlavackova in straight sets, Paula Ormaechea to defeat Jovana Jaksic in straight sets, Patricia Mayr-Achleitner to defeat (5) Elina Svitolina in three sets, Chanelle Scheepers to defeat Marina Duque-Marino in three sets, Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor to defeat Dinah Plfzenmaier in three sets