After a very enjoyable couple of weeks in London that saw Petra Kvitova emerge victorious to capture her second Grand Slam title there will be two international events this week both on clay.
Given the recent success of Romanian's on the WTA tour, most notably Simona Halep's stunning rise up the WTA rankings last year a new tournament in the Romanian capital of Bucharest will be staged this week. No less than 8 Romanians will be competing at Bucharest this week including Simona Halep. Simona is the number 1 seed and will be the centre of attention this week, local fans will be hoping to see the world number three claim her second title of the season. Simona has had an awesome first half to season, starting off in Australia where she reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final before falling to eventual finalist Dominika Cibulkova. Simona captured her first premier title in Doha, defeating Agnieszka Radwanska and Angelique Kerber in the process. In Paris, Simona reached her first Grand Slam semi-final where she was defeated in a thrilling three set battle by Maria Sharapova. The ever-consistent Halep reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon but fell in straight sets to Eugenie Bouchard.
Apart from Simona there really isn't much to get excited about here, the draw is quite weak. Roberta Vinci, Klara Koukalova and Karin Knapp make up the rest of the top four seeds at the inaugural event.
Simona has actually been dealt a tricky first round match. The number 1 seed will face Kristina Mladenovic who defeated Simona in their only previous meeting earlier this year indoors in Paris. I suspect the result will be very different this time around but it certainly is a danger game for Simona. Apart from this there are a couple of other interesting first round matches including Vinci vs Dulgheru and Koukalova vs Niculsecu.
Simona has been vulnerable in events like this, however I'm sure she will be determined to play well in front of her home fans. I can't see any real threat to Simona in the draw. The number 2 seeded Roberta Vinci is having a horrible season having been knocked out in the opening round at each Grand Slam and is currently on a 5 match losing streak. It would be nice to see Roberta have a deep run here, she really should given the state of the draw. I think this is a great chance for promising youngster Anna Schmiedlova to come through the bottom section of the draw. The clay court specialist showed what she is capable off when she defeated Venus Williams at Roland Garros last month.
Predicted Chmapion: Simona Halep def. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova
First Round Match Predictions:
Lara Arruabarrena to defeat (5) Annika Beck in three sets, Veronica Cepede Royg to defeat Cagla Buyukakcay in straight sets, (3) Klara Koukalova to defeat Monica Niculescu in straight sets, (8) Polona Hercog to defeat Anna Tatishvili in straight sets, (6) Karolina Anna Schmiedlova to defeat Kristina Kucova in straight sets, (WC) Cristina Dinu to defeat Nadiya Kichenok in three sets, Katarzyna Piter to defeat (WC) Cristina-Andreea Mitu in three sets, (4) Karin Knapp to defeat (WC) Raluca Olaru in straight sets, (2) Roberta Vinci to defeat Alexandra Dulgheru in straight sets, Aleksandra Krunic to defeat Alexandra Panova in three sets, (1) Simona Halep to defeat Kristina Mladenovic in straight sets, (7) Petra Cetkovska to defeat Alexandra Cadantu in straight sets