Open WTA Hong Kong
Top seed Angelique Kerber who is the new World number one since her third grand slam final of the year at the US Open in September will now set her sights on the WTA finals early next month to finish off the season still as the top of the tree.
She won't get a better opportunity to add to her growing list of silverware this week in Hong Kong where she sits in a very favourable half of the draw with only pint-sized Gavrilova (8th seed) as a potential banana skin or the 6th Caroline Garcia who blows hot and cold and not a good match-up against the defensive skills of Kerber. German, Kerber, would see off this pair without having to go through the gears leaving the winner of a difficult to figure out the bottom half of the draw to see who the real danger to the title would be.
2nd seed Venus Williams plays decently on Asia however at 36 and after a long season with the WTA finals already secure it could just be batting practice for Venus this week and remaining healthy for the coming few weeks the priority.
3rd seed Joanna Konta has the bit between her teeth right now and in search of a top eight spot for Singapore, she will go deep once again having lost in the Beijing final only a few hours ago on Sunday. Kerber has a similar style to Radwaska who beat Konta in straight sets in that final and add to the fact Kerber has by far the fresher legs I would be confident should they meet in a final.
Main danger for me and decent each-way value at 8/1 with half the odds to make the final is the 5th seed Caroline Wozniacki. Playing on her favoured surface and racking up the wins once again she is looking every bit the player that took her to two US Open finals. Each-way terms are half the odds to make the final and 8s looks the best bet from the bottom half however it is Kerber for me at 9/4 with Bet365, Paddy Power, Coral, and Betway to win in Hong Kong Outright.
Agnieska Radwanska returns to defend her title and the 8/1 from last year is only a skinny 7/4 this time around. Aga is playing fantastic tennis as she usually is able to sustain for the full year to her credit. The Polish star is already guaranteed her slot in Singapore and coming off the back of the title in Beijing where she won convincingly is a rightful favourite this week but feel she is worth taking on having played a lot of tennis lately.
2nd seed Svetlana Kuznetsova is at 5/1 general and is my selection this week here, playing on a surface she loves and with the motivation of getting back into the race to Singapore contention having dropped down due to Konta's run to the Beijing final.
The Russian I feel will bring the highest intensity to the courts in Tianjin and looks the only other class act bar Radwanska.
Monica Puig is the 3rd favourite at 14/1 and this price adds the to the idea of it being between the front two in the betting, the Rio Olympics Gold medalist has been in party mood since her shock title and I don't see her blossoming again until the 2017 season.
Vesnina and local favourite Shuai Zhang are also at 14/1 but unlikely again to trouble Radwanska or Kuznetsova for the title.
It is the fresh and determined Kuznetsova for me over the defending champion Radwanska at the far more appealing 5/1 general here in Tianjin.
WTA Hong Kong - Angelique Kerber to win Outright @ 9/4 Bet365, Paddy Power, Coral, & Betway.
WTA Tianjin - Svetlana Kuznetsova to win Outright @ 5/1 General.