SYDNEY & HOBART, Australia - After making the perfect start to the season with a title run in Auckland, Agnieszka Radwanska makes the three-hour trip across the Tasman Sea to finalize her preparations for the Australian Open at the Apia International Sydney next week.
In Auckland, Radwanska betrayed no signs of early season rustiness, not dropping a set all week and outfoxing an in-form Yanina Wickmayer in the final. As No.1 seed, the Pole has been granted a first round bye at the New South Wales Tennis Centre, with either a qualifier or wildcard Casey Dellacqua meeting her in the last 16.
Stosur has often struggled to sparkle on home turf, and her first round defeat to Sofia Arvidsson in Brisbane last week was the latest disappointment to befall her in front of her adoring fans.
No less intriguing is the bottom half of the draw; No.2 seed Angelique Kerber faces a likely second round meeting against Wickmayer, while Sara Errani, Petra Kvitova and Caroline Wozniacki are the remaining seeds.
The other tune-up event prior to Melbourne takes place in the Tasmanian capital, Hobart.
Like Sydney, there is no shortage of quality at the Moorilla Hobart International, with four of the Top 30 in attendance. Hsieh Su-Wei is top seed and kicks off her campaign with a tricky encounter against Peng Shuai, a semifinalist in the opening week of the season in Shenzhen.
The remaining seeds are Sorana Cirstea, Klara Zakopalova, Yaroslava Shvedova, Carla Suárez Navarro, Francesca Schiavone, Sloane Stephens and defending champion Mona Barthel.