How will Serena Williams do in the first tournament of her US Open preparations? Let's check in with contributor Ravi Ubha for his expert predictions at the Premier event.
WTA Staff

TORONTO, Canada - How long has it been since Serena Williams lost a match in Toronto? Well, the last - and only - player to beat her there has been retired for a while: Elena Dementieva, in 2009.

An asterisk is required somewhere because the Rogers Cup shifts between Montréal and Toronto, but you no doubt get the point. Williams has had more success in Ontario (20-1) than Québec (7-2).

By now you all know that Williams is on the verge of completing the Calendar Year Grand Slam. After skipping the Bank Of The West Classic, her US Open preparation begins in Toronto.

Let's take a closer look at Williams' draw.

First Quarter: Repeat Of The French Open Final?
As early results showed in Stanford, the first match on a different surface for the top seeds can be difficult, especially when their foes have had some match practice already.

After a bye, Williams, if things go as planned, would face a fellow veteran in Flavia Pennetta. Pennetta has actually been paired with Williams in Toronto before and advanced - thanks to a walkover in 2005. As great a competitor as the Italian can be, she's 0-6 versus the World No.1 in WTA or Grand Slam matches and has dropped 11 consecutive sets (getting four games just once in those 11 sets).

In this potential match and throughout the tournament, though, the questions are: How is Williams' elbow and how much does she want to exert herself with New York three weeks away?

Three Czechs feature in the Top 10 next week, a first, and two could meet in the third round in Lucie Safarova and Karolina Pliskova.

A tournament this deep has loads of tasty first round encounters, and Samantha Stosur versus the soon-to-be full-time Aussie Daria Gavrilova fits the bill. Stosur had a good week in Washington and a victory over Gavrilova would see her face Safarova. The latter owns a 10-3 record in their head-to-heads, though none of have been lopsided.

Prediction: Williams def. Safarova

Second Quarter: Respite For Genie?
In a 2014 season filled with many a high, the valley for Eugenie Bouchard might have resulted at this tournament. Playing in her hometown of Montréal, Bouchard was upset by American Shelby Rogers. She took a set but the two she lost were 6-0s. Could 'irony' work its magic and see Bouchard turn her 2015 campaign around in Toronto? It would be some achievement, given she just cut ties with experienced coach Sam Sumyk. Having seen her points from last year's Wimbledon drop off, Bouchard isn't seeded this year and will be tested straight away by a player even younger than her - and now better ranked - in Belinda Bencic. Bencic, unlike Bouchard, enjoyed a fruitful grass court swing.

The winner gets Caroline Wozniacki, who'll be keen to go deep after being upset as the top seed in Stanford by Varvara Lepchenko. (They could battle in the third round in Toronto.) But, is Wozniacki's leg better?

Another player intent on performing especially well in Toronto is Sabine Lisicki. Kimiko Date-Krumm hadn't won a WTA main draw match all year until topping the former Wimbledon finalist in Stanford.
Lisicki starts against Montréal finalist Venus Williams in what could be a big-serving contest - Lisicki owns the fastest serve in women's history, followed by Venus.

Down at the bottom of the section, Ana Ivanovic - back with Nigel Sears - and Ekaterina Makarova appear to be on a collision course, although Makarova retired in Washington on Saturday and the Serb's possible opener comes against Irina-Camelia Begu. Begu sits at a career-best 29th.

Prediction: Ivanovic def. Wozniacki

Third Quarter: A Wimbledon Champ And Finalist
So here we are again, post Wimbledon, wondering if this might be the season where Petra Kvitova prospers and has an extended stay at the US Open. Kvitova performing well during the Emirates Airline US Open Series has happened before, in 2012. That summer, the Czech won in Montréal (beating pal Li Na) and New Haven, and made the semifinals in Cincinnati. Like Wozniacki and Lisicki, Kvitova won't have fond memories from her most recent tournament, since the two-time Wimbledon champion was stunned by Jelena Jankovic at the All-England Club after leading by a set and break.

Kvitova certainly won't be able to ease herself into this week, since likely first up is Victoria Azarenka; Kvitova has won four straight but their last clash came in 2011. This could be the part of the season where Azarenka takes off, after near misses against Serena just about everywhere.

Garbiñe Muguruza, defeated by Williams in the Wimbledon final, returns, too. The third round could see the Spaniard tangle with Timea Bacsinszky in a repeat of their Wimbledon quarterfinal. Bacsinszky trails Kvitova by a mere six points for eighth - the final year-end spot - in the Road To Singapore.

Prediction: Azarenka def. Bacsinszky

Fourth Quarter: Simona And The Defending Champ
An injury delayed Agnieszka Radwanska's start in Stanford and while the Pole was able to rally past Misaki Doi, there was no getting past Angelique Kerber in the ensuing round.

Speaking of Singapore, Radwanska has some serious ground to make up if she's to maintain her streak - four straight seasons - of competing at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. Radwanska is accustomed to challenging players more powerful than her - since she herself isn't a big hitter - and one of the game's top strikers of the ball, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, looms in the second round. It's been largely a forgettable year for the Russian - she's hovered around the Top 40 mark after being considerably higher in years past - but the two-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist is showing signs of recovery, reaching the semifinals in Baku and final in Washington.

Simona Halep, meanwhile, must be hoping that being back on hardcourts revives her campaign. After all, the Romanian claimed the most important title of her career in Indian Wells in March and severely tested Serena in the latter's stronghold of Miami. Halep got the better of Jankovic in a tight Indian Wells finale; they could renew acquaintances in the second round in Toronto. Kerber figures to enter the picture later.

Two first round matches to take note of: Alizé Cornet versus Carla Suárez Navarro (that one could linger) and Washington finalist Sloane Stephens versus Dominika Cibulkova.

Prediction: Kerber def. Stephens

Semifinals: Williams def. Ivanovic, Azarenka def. Kerber

Final: Williams