Ekaterina Alexandrova will defend her Korea Open title in Seoul as she goes up against a strong field that includes top seed Jessica Pegula, former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and British number one Katie Boulter.
Jelena Ostapenko to win @ 5/1
Ostapenko arrives in Korea fresh from beating Pegula in Beijing, which was the Latvian’s second win over a Top 5 opponent this year.
Her other was against world No.1 Iga Swiatek in the fourth round of the US Open and she freely admits that her confidence has been high in the aftermath of New York.
After falling behind an early break in the first set, the 26-year-old from Riga dominated Pegula from the baseline for the rest of the match and finished with an impressive tally of 24 winners to just 11 unforced errors.
Her big-hitting approach can sometimes land her in trouble against opponents like Pegula prepared to grind it out from the back of the court.
But the fast courts at the Seoul Olympic Park Tennis Center should suit her game and give her a good shot at adding to the Birmingham Classic title she won on grass in June.
Ekaterina Alexandrova each-way @ 13/2
Alexandrova has form for defending titles this year as she has already retained her Rosmalen crown on grass.
The flat-hitting right-hander prefers fast courts and brought her accurate baseline game to Seoul in 2022 when she beat Ostapenko 7-6,6-0 in the final.
The Prague resident’s draw is not unkind either as she begins her quest for further glory against Japan’s Mai Hontama, who usually operates at lower-level events on the ITF circuit.
She is in the same half of the draw as Pegula, but would not meet Ostapenko again until the final if both women progress.
Eva Lys to beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova @ 4/7
One of the more intriguing first-round matches in Seoul takes place on Tuesday morning when Germany’s Eva Lys goes up against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.
Lys lost to Ostapenko in the first round of last week’s China Open but was by no means disgraced in Beijing, as she took the first set off the seeded Latvian 6-2.
The Kyiv-born 21-year-old achieved her best-ever Grand Slam result and biggest payday at this year’s US Open and could be one to watch next year as she targets a breakthrough into the Top 100.
Schmiedlova’s last event was on clay in Italy and she will be less acclimatised to the conditions in Asia than Lys, who beat former US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez in qualifying at Beijing.