The first ever grass court event in Spain has its biggest star, Garbiñe Muguruza, as its headliner. After winning the French Open, Muguruza will be looking to get off to a good start on the grass. Standing in her way are Serbs Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic, and former Wimbledon finalists, Eugenie Bouchard, and Sabine Lisicki among a decent lineup of about eight top 50 players.
First quarter: Top seed faces tricky opponents
The first quarter sees the home favorite lead the charge alongside seventh seed Laura Siegemund. The first test for the Spaniard comes in the form of Kirsten Flipkens. The Belgian won their only match on grass but the 2015 Wimbledon finalist should come through.
The quarter also comprises of Monica Puig, who could be a dangerous second round opponent for the Spaniard. She alongside Saisai Zheng both come into Mallorca with some match time on grass having reached the semifinals at Nottingham. That could work to their advantage as they look to come out of this quarter. Siegemund went out in the first round this past week and will want to forget that and to start stringing wins on the grass.
Others in this quarter include Julia Goerges, for whom grass is not her strongest surface, and Nao Hibino.
Prediction: Muguruza d. Zheng
Second quarter: Seeds should pull through
Ivanovic, who is the third seed, finds herself in the second quarter. She is joined by sixth seed Caroline Garcia, also in her first tournament on grass this year. Ivanovic faces another Frenchwoman in Pauline Parmentier in the first round, against whom she has never lost before. She could then go up against either of the Spanish wildcard entrants in the second round.
Garcia, on the other hand, might have to contend with a couple of Germans en route to the quarterfinals. She first goes up against Carina Witthoeft while a potential meeting with another German Anna-Lena Friedsam could follow. Friedsam hasn’t got going on grass as she went out to a qualifier at Hertogenbosch. With most players not particularly good on grass, it could be a straightforward passage out of this quarter for the third seed unless she stumbles to Garcia yet again.
Prediction: Ivanovic d. Garcia
Third quarter: Wimbledon finalists rule
This quarter features a couple of Wimbledon finalists in its mix with Bouchard and Lisicki. With the eighth seed, Bouchard was defeated in emphatic fashion last week. She could once again be in trouble when she goes up against Danka Kovinic. However, if Bouchard can put the loss behind, her experience on grass can see her pull through.
Kristina Mladenovic, the fourth seed in this quarter, fresh from her finalist showing at the Ricoh Open, has quite a task on hand as she goes up against grass specialist and 2013 Wimbledon finalist Lisicki. Though the German leads the head-to-head, the pair have not met on grass before and fatigue could very much be a factor for the Frenchwoman was has been playing continuously for a few weeks now.
The quarter also features the likes of Stefanie Voegele, Alison van Uytvanck, who pushed world number eight Belinda Bencic this past week, Anastasija Sevastova and Mariana Marino-Duque.
Prediction: Lisicki d. Bouchard
Fourth quarter: Youth - Experience
The last quarter boasts a field of veterans alongside a couple of starlets in Yulia Putintseva, who is also the fifth seed, and Ana Konjuh, who won her first title on grass last year. Konjuh had an impressive grass run last year but an injury this year had her pulling out of Nottingham. If she is fit and ready to go, second seed Jankovic, who is also coming back from injury, could have quite a battle on hand.
Putintseva, on the other hand, has been having quite a season and has shown she is not afraid to take on the top players. If she can find the same level on grass, it could see her coming out of the quarter. The veterans like Daniela Hantuchova and Francesca Schiavone might have a say. Yaroslava Shvedova and a couple of qualifiers round off this last quarter.
Prediction: Putintseva d. Jankovic
Semifinal 1 prediction: Muguruza d. Ivanovic
Semifinal 2 prediction: Lisicki d. Putintseva
Mallorca has a decent draw with three past Wimbledon finalists in its mix. Muguruza would be the most confident of the three having just been crowned a Grand Slam champion. If she keeps up the momentum, it would be hard to stop the Spaniard. With Bouchard and Lisicki struggling to find their form and a few more players coming back from injury, there could be a few upsets along the way. However, it is looking good for the Spaniard to lift her first title on grass.