WTA Auckland: Caroline Wozniacki and Julia Goerges headlines entry list

Caroline Wozniacki will look to grab a title in the opening week at the 2018 ASB Classic, but she will face some tough competition from quality players like Julia Goerges and Barbora Strycova.

WTA Auckland: Caroline Wozniacki and Julia Goerges headlines entry list
Caroline Wozniacki, Barbora Strycova, Julia Goerges and Agnieszka Radwanska are the headliners of the field in Auckland | Photos: Getty Images, Graphics: Don Han

The ASB Classic has had a 32-year history, and for their 33rd edition of the tournament, they will welcome a star-studded line-up with former world number ones Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka headlining the draw. However, they will certainly miss some of the biggest stars they have ever hosted, with the Williams sisters and Kuznetsova opting not to participate this year. The tournament is rather popular amongst the players, having been voted as the “best Asia/Pacific International tournament of the year” on the past three occasions.

Top seeds look to replicate their success

Former semifinalist Barbora Strycova would be returning to Auckland for the fifth time in her career, hoping to improve on her best result. The Czech will be the third seed for the tournament, just ahead of 2013 champion Agnieszka Radwanska, whose ranking recently dipped to 28 due to a loss of form. This will just be the Pole’s second appearance in this tournament.

Barbora Strycova reached the quarterfinals in Auckland this year, falling to eventual champion Lauren Davis | Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images AsiaPac
Barbora Strycova reached the quarterfinals in Auckland this year, falling to eventual champion Lauren Davis | Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images AsiaPac

This year’s quarterfinal thriller between Julia Goerges and Caroline Wozniacki could occur in the final in 2018 after both of them are slated to be the top seeds in Auckland. Coincidentally, they have both been runner-ups here but have never hoisted the trophy. It would be Wozniacki’s fourth time participating in this tournament, while Goerges will look to claim the title on her eighth attempt, having participated in this tournament for eight consecutive years and reaching the quarterfinals four times.

Rounding off the seeds

Fifth seed Mona Barthel is an active participant here in Auckland, with her best result being a semifinal appearance back in 2013. However, she has been winless in the main draw since then, going 0-4 in her first-round matches in the previous years. Defending champion Lauren Davis would return to Auckland as the sixth seed, and she has impressively reached the quarterfinals here on three different occasions. Looking to have another successful run, the American has a ton of points to defend as well.

Mona Barthel serves at the 2017 ASB Classic, where she lost to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni | Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images AsiaPac
Mona Barthel serves at the 2017 ASB Classic, where she lost to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni | Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images AsiaPac

The list of seeds concludes with Yulia Putintseva and Donna Vekic, with the Kazakh having unsuccessful campaigns in 2014 and 2015. The Croatian opted to start her year in Auckland for the first time in her career, while Putintseva is winless during her previous appearances. Nonetheless, they would look to grab some confidence-boosting wins to start their seasons.

Notable names

Talented youngsters Marketa Vondrousova and Beatriz Haddad Maia will be having their first full season on the WTA Tour, and they have decided to start their year in Auckland. They will be joined by former Wimbledon semifinalist Kirsten Flipkens and Olympic Gold Medalist Monica Puig.

Madison Brengle, who was able to be the only player in 2017 to defeat Serena Williams with a magical victory against the legendary American in Auckland this year, also returns hoping to look for a similar result. Former world number one and two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka has also received a wildcard into the tournament, making her return to tennis after a series of family issues. (NOTE: Azarenka has withdrawn from the tournament shortly after, with her wildcard being handed to Sara Errani instead)

Madison Brengle celebrates her incredible win over Serena earlier in the year | Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images AsiaPac
Madison Brengle celebrates her incredible win over Serena earlier in the year | Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images AsiaPac

Other notable names include Sara Errani and the returning Margarita Gasparyan, who would be participating in the qualifying rounds for a place in the main draw. (NOTE: Sara Errani has taken over Azarenka's wildcard after the Belarusian announced her withdrawal.)

Other participating players

Americans Varvara Lepchenko, Taylor Townsend, and Christina McHale would return to Auckland once again, with their best results being a second-round exit. Making their debuts in the main draw would be Veronica Cepede Royg and Hsieh Su-wei, whereas Alison Van Uytvanck, Lara Arruabarrena, Petra Martic, and Polona Hercog have yet to win a match in Auckland in their previous appearances. Former quarterfinalists Johanna Larsson and Nao Hibino would also look to replicate their runs once more.