WTA Adelaide International preview
Photo: Tertius Pickard

The newest event on the WTA Tour gets underway in the second week of the season as the Adelaide International begins on Sunday.

With eight of the top 16 players in the world in the field, the tournament promises to provide the fans with some thrilling action in the leadup to the Australian Open.

First quarter

Top seed and world number one Ashleigh Barty will look for her first victory of the season after a shock loss to Jennifer Brady in Brisbane. 

Barty is looking for her first win in singles after crashing out early in Brisbane/Photo: Associated Press
Barty is looking for her first win in singles after crashing out early in Brisbane/Photo: Associated Press

She gets a first-round bye and will face the winner of the match between Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Anett Kontaveit

Sloane Stephens will meet qualifier Arina Rodionova while eighth seed Marketa Vondrousova returns from elbow surgery to face off with lucky loser Tatjana Maria.

Prediction: Barty def. Stephens

Second quarter

Fourth seed Belinda Bencic took a wild card here after losing as the top seed in Shenzhen in the first round. She has a tricky opener against Daria Kasatkinawho needed to qualify. 

Julia Goergesstreak in Auckland came to an end last week and she looks to rebound against Aussie wild card Priscilla Hon. Danielle Collins reached the quarterfinals in Brisbane and she faces Aliaksandra Sasnovich

The quarter is rounded off by seventh Sofia Keninwho chose to compete here instead of defending her title in Hobart. She opens with another qualifier Viktorija Golubic.

Prediction: Kenin def. Goerges

Third quarter

Fifth seed Kiki Bertens lost a three-set thriller to NaomI Osaka in the Brisbane quarterfinals and she faces a challenging opener Maria Sakkari.

Anastasija  Sevastova meets Donna Vekic in an intriguing clash of styles while Dayana Yastremska will square off with lucky loser Timea Babos.

Yastremska is in a good section of the draw/Photo: UATV
Yastremska is in a good section of the draw/Photo: UATV

Angelique Kerber was given the ninth seed after Petra Kvitova withdrew and she takes her place in the draw to face Wang Qiang.

Prediction: Yastremska def. Vekic

Fourth quarter

Like Bencic, sixth seed Aryna Sabalenka took a late wild card and she will try to deal with the crafty Hsieh Su-Wei while qualifier Bernarda Pera​ meets Barbora Strycova.

Second seed Simona Halep makes her 2020 debut as she tunes up for another run at her first Australian Open title. After a bye, she plays either ​​​​​Yulia Putintseva or Ajla Tomljanovic.

Halep makes her season debut at the tour's newest event/Photo: EPA-EFE
Halep makes her season debut at the tour's newest event/Photo: EPA-EFE

Prediction: Halep def. Sabalenka

Who will take home the title?

With such a deep and talented field, it's hard to pick a winner. Barty will almost certainly win a few matches as she gets ready for Melbourne.

Court speed is also a factor. As this is a new event, no one knows how it will play. Slower courts favor Halep, Bencic and Kerber while faster courts would be more to the liking of Sabalenka, Yastremska and Goerges.

Vondrousova is a wild card simply because she hasn't played since Wimbledon, but if she's healthy and at her best, she's a threat to win the event. Kenin also will quietly (as always) move through the draw.

In the end, Barty seems to be the logical choice here. She'll be motivated by wanting to prove her magical 2019 wasn't a fluke and moved by the terrible bushfires that are ravishing Australia to which she is so generously donating all of her prize money from the Australian hard court season.

Prediction

Semifinals: Barty def. Kenin, Halep def. Yastremska 

Final: Barty def. Halep

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