The Collector Swedish Open has been rocked by a string of withdrawals in the lead to the event. World number 1 Serena Williams was set to defend her title but decided not to compete in Bastad because she hasn't fully recovered from the viral illness that saw her exit Wimbledon in bizarre circumstances. Flavia Pennetta, Carla Suarez Navarro, Barbora Zahlavova Strycova and Yvonne Meusburger were all down to play in Bastad but have all pulled out prior to the commencement of the tournament. In some rare good news for the tournament officials and spectators, Alize Cornet accepted a late wild card into the event; the Frenchwoman will replace Serena Williams as the number 1 seed in Bastad.
Alize has had some big victories this year, most notably her two victories over Serena Williams at Wimbledon and in Dubai. Cornet also defeated Radwanska on route to her only title of the year in Katowice. Cornet hasn't had the greatest results on clay; she has a 2-4 record on what is considered to be her most preferred surface. In her final clay court event of the year, Cornet has a good chance to rectify her poor clay court record this season and claim her second title of the year. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Camila Giorgi and Yaroslava Shvedova are among the seeded players also in action at the Swedish Open.
Alize Cornet faces a qualifier in the opening round whilst her second round opponent will likely be Jana Cepelova. The number 1 seed is then projected to face Polona Hercog In the quarter-finals. Hercog has a rather comfortable route to the Quarter-final stage.
Quarter-Final 1 Prediction: (1) Alize Cornet vs (8) Polona Hercog
The second quarter is wide open with seeded players Yaroslava Shvedova and Annika Beck both seemingly vulnerable to early round defeats. If Beck gets through her first round match with Piter she will face the winner of Arruabarrena and Begu. Arruabarrena defeated Annika Beck last week in a tight three set match in Bucharest. Shvedova doesn't usually play her best tennis on clay, however she should at least make the quarter-finals in Bastad as she faces a qualifier in the opening round before playing Scheepers or Dique-Marino in the second round.
Quarter-Final 2 Prediction: (4) Yaroslava Shvedova vs Lara Arruabarrena
The third quarter of the draw looks like the toughest section of the draw. Camila Giorgi, Anna Schmiedlova, Mona Barthel and Kaia Kanepi all feature in this section. Giorgi has been playing a lot of tennis of late. After two commanding victories she suffered a shock loss to Shelby Rogers in the quarter-finals at Bad Gastein last week. Giorgi faces a qualifier in the opening round before a potential second round match against Mona Barthel. Giorgi should be primed for a big week in Bastad; I wouldn't be surprised to see her win the title. Anna Schmiedlova suffered a surprise first round exit in Bucharest last week, if she gets through her opening match in Bastad she is likely to face the in form Kai Kanepi in the second round. Kanepi has played two clay court challenger tournaments since Wimbledon; she won the latest one in Biarritz.
Quarter-Final 3 Prediction: (5) Anna Schmiedlova vs (3) Camila Giorgi
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova rounds out the draw, the Russian started the season off well but injury amongst other issues have derailed her season. Pavlyuchenkova faces a tough opening round match, coming up against the in form Grace Min. The American youngster made the semi-finals of a WTA event for the first time last week in Bad Gastein before falling to the eventual champion Andrea Petkovic in three tight sets. Torro-Flor is the other seeded player in this section; she too faces a tough opening round match. The Spaniard will play Julia Goerges for a spot in the second round. Anyone could come through this section of the draw, Pavlyuchenkova is due for a good week, and hopefully she can deliver
Quarter-Final 4 Prediction: Julia Goerges vs (2) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Final prediction: (3) Camila Giorgi def. (1) Alize Cornet:
I think we may see a repeat of this years Katowice final where Alize Cornet came up against Camilia Giorgi in the final. This would be a good result for the tournament, their final in Katowice was a great match, Cornet eventually prevailed 7-6 5-7 7-5. I’m picking Giorgi to avenge that loss here.