OSTRAVA, Czech Republic - The WTA tour heads to Ostrava for the first time to host an exciting week of Premier women's tennis, headlined by top seeds Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova.
Svitolina, who reached the quarterfinals of Roland Garros earlier this month, will likely face stiff opposition from her first match as she takes on the winner of Kristyna Pliskova and Maria Sakkari. Sakkari stunned 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams at the Western & Southern Open this summer and just missed out on a Top 8 seed; the Greek star won her most recent clash with Svitolina at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in 2019.
Projected to face Svitolina in the semifinals is No.4 seed and US Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka. The Belarusian is aiming to shake off a disappointing French Open finish by rebounding on hardcourts, on which she won the Western & Southern Open title and narrowly fell to Naomi Osaka in a thrilling final in Flushing Meadows. Azarenka will face one of two qualifiers following a first round bye.
❕DRAW❕— J&T Banka Ostrava Open 2020 (@JTBankaOpen) October 17, 2020
What matches are you looking forward to? 🤩 pic.twitter.com/OewsDKuhAs
Pliskova, too, will be pleased to be back on hardcourts after a surprising second round exit in Paris - bowing out to 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko - and could face Donna Vekic in her opening round, should the Croat overcome her qualifier. Aryna Sabalanka, the No.3 seed, is Pliskova's projected semifinal opponent, and will take on a qualifier or Czech wildcard Katerina Siniakova.
No.6 seed Elena Rybakina also looms large in the bottom half. The Kazakh made a major splash to start the 2020 season with runs to the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy and Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships finals - losing to former World No.1 Simona Halep after a third-set tie-break in the latter - and will first face a qualifier before taking on the winner of an intriguing first round between Dayana Yastremska and US Open semifinalist Jennifer Brady.
Brady has been one to watch since the tour resumed after the COVID-19 lockdown, winning her maiden major title at the Top Seed Open presented by Bluegrass Orthopaedics in Lexington and pushing eventual champion Osaka to three sets in New York.