Plenty of stars are in action in Moscow and Luxembourg as the WTA stages its last two events leading up to the season finales in Istanbul and Sofia.
Samantha Stosur comes into the Kremlin Cup by Bank of Moscow with sky-high confidence, having picked up her second WTA title of the year and fifth of her career on Sunday in Osaka. And she is no stranger to success in Moscow, having been runner-up last year.
Another Moscow entrant in good form is Ana Ivanovic. The Serb made her first WTA final in almost two years last week in Linz. Few would be surprised to see Romania's Simona Halep emerge victorious, considering the season she has had. Her four WTA titles are second to just Serena Williams for most in 2013. The lone previous Moscow champion in this year's draw is 2011 winner Dominika Cibulkova. Roberta Vinci, a two-time WTA titlist this year, also could be a threat.
Russians dominated this event from 2003 to 2007, winning four of those five stagings, but none have been triumphant since. Maria Kirilenko, a runner-up here in 2010, likely represents the best chance to end that mini drought.
"Unfortunately I will not able to play in Moscow this year," Kvitova said. "The back injury I picked up in China is still painful, and with the WTA Championships around the corner, my priority has to be rest and recovery. I'm sorry to the fans in Russia."
"I am very sorry to have to withdraw from the Kremlin Cup," Jankovic said. "I was really looking forward to playing for my Russian fans but unfortunately the hip injury I suffered in Beijing needs more time to heal. I hope to see everyone in Moscow another time."
Others to keep an eye on include second-seeded Sloane Stephens and Eugenie Bouchard. Stephens is aiming for her first WTA title, though opens up against 2009 Luxembourg champion Timea Bacsinszky. Bouchard is fresh off her first WTA final in Osaka.