Top seeds Sabalenka, Badosa anchor opposite sides of Charleston draw

Top seeds Sabalenka, Badosa anchor opposite sides of Charleston draw

Karolina Pliskova (middle), with Pam Whytcross of the WTA and Bethanie Mattek-Sands. (Chris Smith/COCO)

With World No.1 Iga Swiatek out, it’s Top 10 members Aryna Sabalenka, Paula Badosa, Karolina Pliskova and Ons Jabeur are the top four seeds. Here’s a look at the draw.

Former world No.1 and two-time Grand Slam runner-up Karolina Pliskova didn’t mind studying the Credit One Charleston Open draw on Saturday during the official draw ceremony.

“Of course I’m not looking at who is going to be in the semi-finals – there is a long ways to go with that and you never know when you’re going to lose,” the world No.8 said after the draw was made. “[But seeing] the first match, I’m not too stressed to about that.”

As the top eight seeds receive a bye, Pliskova will meet either Yuan Yue or Katarina Zavatska in her first match.

Pliskova is one of four Top 10 players in the world set to feature this week on Daniel Island, with World No.5 Aryna Sabalenka taking a wild card and seeded atop the draw.

World No.1 Iga Swiatek withdrew due to injury after victories in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami.

Sabalenka is joined by No.4 seed Ons Jabeur in the top half of the draw, while Pliskova is joined by second seed Paula Badosa in the bottom half.

Potential quarter-finals include:
[1] Sabalenka vs. [6] Jessica Pegula
[4] Jabeur vs. [5] Elena Rybakina
[3] Ka. Pliskova vs. [7] Leylah Fernandez
[2] Badosa vs. [8] Veronika Kudermetova

Singles Main Draw

Kudermetova, the reigning champion here, leads a trio of former winners that includes Americans Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens.

Keys, the champion here in 2019, is the No.9 seed and has Anastasia Gasanova first. She could meet compatriot Pegula in the third round.

Stephens won here in 2016. She’s seeded 13th and meets Zheng Qinwen to open. Should their seeds hold, Stephens will meet Pliskova – but no until the third round.

In must-see matches in the first round, local favorite Shelby Rogers meets big-hitting Kaia Kanepi of Estonia with the potential to meet two-time Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova in the second round.

Americans Alison Riske and Caty McNally meet in the opening round, too, with No.1 seed Sabalenka awaiting the winner.

Wild card and Charleston native Emma Navarro meets fellow American Madison Brengle to start, the winner taking on Jabeur in round two.

Other players to watch include American No.15 seed Amanda Anisimova, No.12 seed Alize Cornet of France, Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, the No.10 seed, and up-and-coming teenager Linda Fruhvirtova, who meets Ana Konjuh to start.

Qualifying is set to finish on Sunday, with nine slots in the draw still waiting to be filled. Thirteen Americans are already featured in the main draw.

Pliskova: Wowed by new Charleston facilities

Pliskova said she’s impressed with the renovated facilities on the grounds, including the brand new Credit One Stadium, which seats 10,000 for tennis matches and includes state-of-the-art player facilities, including a lounge that overlooks the stadium court.

“This stadium is amazing. I’m surprised by the space, the Center Court,” she said. “It’s much better than some of the bigger tournaments on tour.”

Pliskova was impressed by the Family Weekend crowds on site on Saturday, too.

“For qualifying, for my practice [today], there were so many people there watching and supporting,” she said. “I’m sure we’re going to have great crowds and some fun this week.”

She said of the Swiatek withdrawal: “It’s a big loss for the tournament, but for us players it’s good.”

The Wimbledon runner-up in 2021, Pliskova has lost her first two matches of the year after a hand injury forced her out of the Australian Open. She was 37-19 in 2021, including her run to the Wimbledon championship match.

“The tennis has not really been there the last couple of tournaments, but I believe if I keep playing, each week, and I get a couple of matches, things will be better for me.”

Bethanie Mattek-Sands, a former doubles champion here and Olympic gold medalist, assisted with the draw. Mattek-Sands is hosting a daily Q&A session on the Feature Stage at the Match Point Bar & Grill.

ALIZÉ CORNET Amanda Anisimova Aryna Sabalenka Belinda Bencic Elena Rybakina Karolina Pliskova Madison Keys Ons Jabeur PAULA BADOSA Petra Kvitova Shelby Rogers Sloane Stephens Veronika Kudermetova