The 2017 Hobart International is one of a few events on the calendar that will be played before the first major of the season. This is one of the last warm-up competitions before the upcoming Australian Open. A number of players come either here or to the Apia International to warm up for the first grand slam of the season. There are going to be a number of notable absences from the Australian Open – particularly on the women’s side – so the players who are in the running would be wise to show up here and get some momentum before the live action gets underway at Rod Laver Arena. Remember that Maria Sharapova is still out due to a suspension (she’ll be back in the spring), Victoria Azarenka – who won the Australian Open last year – is out after having a baby, Petra Kvitova is also absent due to her scary attack incident and Madison Keys also won’t be participating. That means the floor is wide open. Before we get there, though, let’s take a closer look at who’ll claim the 2017 WTA Hobart International, which takes place starting on Monday.
The competition in the 32-player main draw began on Monday, January 9.
Event: Hobart International
Category: WTA International tier
Date: January 9 – 15, 2017
Location: Hobart International Tennis Centre; Hobart, Australia
The 2017 Hobart Invitational will mark the 24th edition of the tournament, with its first appearance as a main tour event being 1994.
With a prize money allotment of $250,000, there is a slight increase from 2016, but this event really isn’t about the money. It’s about the ability to get in match play ahead of the Australian Open and find out how well the competition is playing. Getting a measurement of other players and one’s own game are the two basic goals for players at this tournament.
Champion – 280
Runner-up – 180
Semifinalist – 110
Quarterfinalist – 60
Round of 16 – 30 points
Former Champions and Results (5 Years)
Year Champion Runner-up Score
2016 – Alize Cornet def. Eugenie Bouchard — 6-1, 6-2
2015 – Heather Watson def. Madison Brengle – 6-3, 6-4
2014 – Garbine Muguruza def. Klara Zakopalova – 6-4, 6-0
2013 – Elena Vesnina def. Mona Barthel – 6-3, 6-4
2012 – Mona Barthel def. Yanina Wickmayer – 6-1, 6-2
Plenty of WTA stars take the week before the Australian Open off. However, this is not the case at the tour stop in Sydney, where several top-10 players are taking part. Here, one will see a less imposing field given the quality of the Sydney tournament. Unlike Sydney, where top-five players exist, there are no top-20 players here. Kiki Bertens, known from 2016 for taking Serena Williams deep into a close French Open semifinal (in which both players were injured), is ranked 22. She is the top seed at this tournament. Anastasija Sevastova is ranked 34, and she’s the second seed.
The third through eighth seeds are Monica Niculescu, Alison Riske, Misaki Doi, defending champion Alize Cornet (who is ranked 41), Kristina Mladenovic, and finally Ana Konjuh. Each will have a reasonable chance of winning here.
Bertens, as a major semifinalist last year, certainly merits attention as a player to watch, and a player who needs to show in some way that she can maintain a high standard on tour. She got on a roll in France and might have beaten Serena if she had not been injured. It’s up to her to re-establish herself in January and send a message to the rest of the tour.
The other particularly interesting player here is Konjuh, who made a surprise run to the 2016 United States Open quarterfinals. Can the young Croatian entrench herself on tour? A lot of people will be interested in the answer to that question.
Hobart International Tennis Centre
The Hobart International Tennis Centre first opened in December of 1964, and has undergone a series of transformations in the past 51 years. What was originally created as a 21-court complex has been subjected to a string of surface changes, today’s surface now moving to plexicushion, though there are courts with non-hardcourt surfaces available for locals to play on. The main stadium court has a seating capacity of 2,500, which is a small number created in part by the presence of a lot of box seats and a number of VIP suites.
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