Two players that have had rather disappointing years, but both have good memories of playing in Stanford. Wickmayer reached the semi-final last year to back up her quarter-final appearance in 2010, while Daniela Hantuchova has reached the semi-final once and the quarter-final on a couple of occasions.
Wickmayer started the year well by reaching the final in Auckland, but has struggled slightly since then, having won back-to-back matches in just two tournaments – the Australian Open and Eastbourne. Hard court defeats to the likes of Ayumi Morita, Galina Voskoboeva and Monica Niculescu will have been disappointing for a player that began the year on the verge of the top 20. She will be looking for her serve to work well and provide plenty of cheap points, given that she often struggles with her movement once she is drawn into the rallies.
Daniela Hantuchova has been in the spotlight in Stanford as she is playing doubles with the returning Martina Hingis. However, she has had a hugely disappointing year with the exception of her title in Birmingham. She has won just seven matches on hard courts this year, throwing in defeats to lower ranked players such as Nina Bratchikova, Yung-Jan Chan and Lesia Tsurenko. Despite this, she has improved recently and will be hoping to carry her good grass court form onto the American hard courts.
Daniela Hantuchova has a dominant lead in the H2H having won all five of their previous encounters. Three of those were on indoor hard courts, one on an outdoor hard court and one on clay and it is important to note that Wickmayer has won just one set in those five matches. However, the most recent of these was back in 2010, so we must be careful to put too much emphasis on these results.
“I love playing here. It is one of my favourite tournaments” – Daniela Hantuchova on Stanford
I fancy Daniela Hantuchova to win this one. While they have not met for a while, the H2H suggests that Wickmayer has problems with this match-up and she is not exactly in any great form at the moment. I suspect Hantuchova will just been a little too solid and will be looking for a good start to the North American swing, particularly with the opportunity to pick up some points to try and boost her ranking ahead of the US Open.
The Rest of the Matches
The match between Stefanie Voegele and Ajla Tomljanovic is very evenly matches and could come down to whichever player copes better on the big points. Alla Kudryavtseva should see off the horribly out-of-form Tamira Paszek, while Larcher de Brito will hope to build on her big Wimbledon victory over Maria Sharapova with a good performance against Lepchenko. The big-serving Marina Erakovic should find these conditions to her liking against Vera Dushevina, while Coco Vandeweghe has final points to defend from last year, but faces a very tough opener against the tricky Monica Niculescu. The day also sees the top two seeds in action, but it would be a real surprise if either Agnieszka Radwanska or Sam Stosur is really troubled by Francesca Schiavone or Olga Govortsova respectively, despite their solid 1st round victories.