After 10 months of hard work and sweat, the WTA tour is finally set to come to end for the 2016 season this week at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open. In a field headlined by two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, some of the WTA's finest look to end their seasons on a high note on the fast, indoor courts here in Luxembourg.
WTA Luxembourg tournament overview
Serving as the final WTA International tournament of the season, the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open is the only professional tennis tournament in Luxembourg and one of the country's largest annual sporting events. The tournament, first held in 1996, is hosted at the CK Sports Center Kockelscheuer on the fast, low-bouncing indoor hard courts of Europe.
Past champions in Luxembourg include Venus Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Mary Pierce, Caroline Wozniacki, and Ana Ivanovic, all having hoisted the trophy in Luxembourg City with five-time winner Kim Clijsters holding the record for most titles. Last year, Japan's Misaki Doi reigned supreme, defeating German Mona Barthel for the title.
The top quarter here in Luxembourg is headlined by top seed and two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova and eighth-seeded Swede Johanna Larsson. Kvitova, who narrowly missed out on a spot at the WTA Finals in Singapore after winning the title in Wuhan, opens against Chinese Taipei's Su-Wei Hsieh, while Larsson begins her campaign against Frenchwoman Pauline Parmentier.
Kvitova could face a tricky opponent in the second round with a meeting with either Varvara Lepchenko or Tsvetana Pironkova looming in the second round. For Larsson, the Swede could face defending finalist Mona Barthel in the second round before a likely quarterfinal against Kvitova.
The second quarter is anchored by fourth seed Caroline Garcia and defending champion Misaki Doi. Garcia opens against Estonian Anett Kontaveit while Doi faces a qualifier. Other notable first rounds include Luxembourg's top player Mandy Minella beginning her campaign against German Andrea Petkovic and big-hitting Frenchwoman Oceane Dodin up against a qualifier.
With Garcia and Doi's form questionable of late and Dodin having won an indoor title last month in Quebec City, expect the Frenchwoman's big power game to translate well to the fast courts here in Luxembourg to reach the last four.
The third section of the draw is headlined by third-seeded Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens and 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard. This year's French Open semifinalist Bertens opens against 2014 winner Annika Beck, while Canadian Bouchard faces big-hitting Czech Denisa Allertova. Also in this section is another big hitter in Romania's Sorana Cirstea who faces a qualifier and Yanina Wickmayer facing off against Slovakia's Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.
With Bouchard having suffered another poor season and Bertens struggling lately, the door is wide open for an underdog to reach the semis in this section. With Cirstea's experience and powerful game, the Romanian could make a deep run here this week and expect Cirstea to reach the last four.
The fourth and final quarter of this draw is headlined by former world number one and second seed Caroline Wozniacki and fifth-seeded German Laura Siegemund. Wozniacki, coming off a title in Hong Kong, opens against American Madison Brengle while Siegemund faces off against wildcard Francesca Schiavone. Another German, 2013 Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki, faces Swiss Viktorijia Golubic and Belgian Kirsten Flipkens meets Romanian Monica Niculescu.
With Wozniacki coming off a title this past week in Hong Kong, the Dane and 2013 champion will most likely be tired but the former number one's resilience should suffice in getting her to another last four here in Luxembourg.
Semifinals: Kvitova def. Dodin, Wozniacki def. Cirstea
Final: Kvitova def. Wozniacki