The draw for the VTB Kremlin Cup has been made in Moscow with nobody inside the the top 12 participating in the WTA Premier event. With 8 of the top 10 heading to Singapore and injuries to Svetlana Kuznetsova and Johanna Konta, France’s Kristina Mladenovic astonishingly sits as the top seed.Embed from Getty Images
Mladenovic, who is on a torrid run of nine successive defeats, will be hoping to avoid a tenth loss and will face a tricky opponent in round two in either Timea Babos or Aliaksandra Sasnovic. With no players in the running for a place in Singapore, the tournament could be seen as slightly redundant, but it does open the draw up for someone to lay the foundations of a good ranking going into the Australian Open next year.
Tournament directors will be delighted that Maria Sharapova, who will contend her first WTA final since her doping ban in Tianjin tomorrow, will be playing in Moscow. She has drawn eighth seed Magdalena Rybarikova, while the two finalists in Hong Kong – Daria Gavrilova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova – will also be eyeing up the title.
Future of Russian tennis on show in men’s event
Russians Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov are among the seeds in the ATP draw and fans will be excited to see how the two Next Gen stars will fair at a home tournament. Rublev will open up against a qualifier, while Khachanov takes on Dudi Sela in round one. Danil Medvedev and Borna Coric will also be hoping to impress ahead of the Next Gen tournament in Milan.
Pablo Carreno Busta will be hoping to cement his place in the ATP World Tour Finals as top seed, while in-form Adrian Mannarino and Damir Dzumhur are also among the top seeds.
With plenty of Russian talent on display, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a home player crowned champion in at least one of the draws. While the obvious punt would be Maria Sharapova, I don’t think she’ll be able to maintain her performances from Tianjin for a second successive week. I’m going for Ekaterina Makarova – who could face Sharapova in the second round – to be the dark horse for the title.
In the men’s, these ATP 250 draws are always difficult to predict. Adrian Mannarino has impress lately and you’d expect the Frenchman to be in the running but I think Borna Coric, who has a nice draw, will take his chance and take the titleEmbed from Getty Images