A packed field has descended on Stuttgart for the first stop on the European clay court season, and wtatennis.com contributor Ravi Ubha takes us through who's looking good to go deep...
WTA Staff

STUTTGART, Germany - For the men, Monte Carlo marks the opener of the European clay court season. For the women the opener is the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart.

And what a tournament it is.

It has perhaps the deepest field in any tennis event on the planet, this year's last direct acceptance into the 32-player draw being 46th-ranked Madison Brengle.

That means an overflow of enticing matches in the first couple of rounds.

Here's a look at the draw, quarter by quarter.

First Quarter: Can Anyone Stop Maria Sharapova?
Or maybe that should read, 'Will Maria stop Maria?' Sharapova - the three-time defending champion - was intent on competing for Russia in the Fed Cup semifinals in her dear Sochi over the weekend, but a leg injury led to her withdrawal. Thus, even though she remains in the Stuttgart draw, just how healthy is she? And if now fully healthy, how much practice time has she had? Will it be enough?

Sharapova is one of four players with a bye, meaning she'll have a little more time to prepare. Her opener could come against a German, and a rejuvenated German at that, in Charleston champ Angelique Kerber. Kerber upset Sharapova at Wimbledon last year, and on the Stuttgart clay two years ago, their three set encounter stretched to 7-5 in the third.

Three qualifiers find themselves in the quarter, too.

Prediction: Kerber def. Makarova

Second Quarter: Petra Back, Ana's Rematch
Fans of Petra Kvitova couldn't have imagined the lefty's season would be going anything like this, even if she can be unpredictable on court.

Kvitova openly discussed how happy she was to be working with fitness trainer and physio Alex Stober - formerly in Li Na's camp - in the off-season, but she was upset at the Australian Open. After results didn't go her way in the Middle East, she skipped Indian Wells and Miami, citing exhaustion. From what Kvitova has said about her time away, it appeared to be more mental fatigue than anything else.

Her return came in the Fed Cup, a competition she loves, and it was a successful one.

Kvitova, another player with a bye, could begin against Svetlana Kuznetsova, playing better of late and a 9-7 winner over the Czech in the third set at last year's French Open.

For the third time in barely over a month, 2014 finalist Ana Ivanovic and Caroline Garcia tangle.
Garcia won the first one in Monterrey comfortably and the second one was headed that way before Ivanovic broke to stay in the match in the second set. But Ivanovic comes into Stuttgart after a positive weekend in the Fed Cup; Garcia lost a tough one to Lucie Safarova on Saturday.

Prediction: Ivanovic def. Kuznetsova

Third Quarter: Suárez Navarro, Petkovic Get Reacquainted
Now it's time for Carla Suárez Navarro to play on her beloved clay. With all the success she's had on hardcourts this year, the Spaniard could be forgiven for wanting to stay on the hardcourts for a while longer, though.

Suárez Navarro, the Miami finalist, takes on Andrea Petkovic in a can't-miss first round match. Suárez Navarro topped Petkovic in Miami, but with the German crowd behind 'Petko' the result might be different this time. Petkovic was far from content, too, with her performance against Suárez Navarro in Florida.

Caroline Wozniacki has been busy, eh? She played tennis with US President Barack Obama, watched some NCAA basketball and met Dr. Oz of Oprah fame. Teaming up with clay court expert Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, the Dane hopes, will kick start her season.

Safarova probably awaits Wozniacki in the second round - and the Czech beat Wozniacki in their lone clay court duel in Stuttgart five years ago.

Prediction: Safarova def. Petkovic

Fourth Quarter: Simona's Tough Task
Garbiñe Muguruza has beaten the best in the world, and that includes Simona Halep. Suárez Navarro's pal disappointed Halep's supporters in the Fed Cup in February - in Romania - and topped the World No.3 in Wuhan during the Asian swing last year.

The competitor that she is, Halep would probably want to get another crack at Muguruza in the second round. First, however, Muguruza has to beat the tricky Barbora Strycova.

Agnieszka Radwanska's match against Martina Hingis in the Fed Cup got tennis fans excited due to their off-pace, similar styles - and Radwanska challenges a not dissimilar foe in the first round in clay court veteran Sara Errani.

Sabine Lisicki, up against Zarina Diyas, prospered in both Indian Wells and Miami, but will losing to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the Fed Cup after holding a match point Saturday still be weighing on her mind? If Lisicki and Errani play in the second round, the former holds the recent edge, though the Italian did ease past Lisicki in their only clay court tussle two years ago.

Prediction: Halep def. Errani

Semifinals: Kerber def. Ivanovic, Halep def. Safarova

Winner: Halep