Athletistic/Tennis. The women’s clay court season will begin in Stuttgart. Iga Swiatek returns to Germany to defend the title she won twice in a row. Arina Sabalenka, loser in the last two finals, Elena Rybakina and Coco Gauff can prevent her from scoring a hat-trick.

Analysis of the drawing:

The upper half:

Best seeds: [1] Iga Swiatek, [4] Elena Rybakina, [7] Mr Jabert, [8] Elena Ostapenko

The defending champion Iga Swiatek will start the tournament against Elise Mertens or Tatiana Maria. Although Maria’s unusual tennis style could pose some problems if the match continues, Iga’s first real test won’t come until the quarterfinals. Her expected opponent, Jelena Ostapenko, will face Linda Noskova, who has already upset Szwiatek this year. Also in this part of the grid are Emma Raducanu and Angelique Kerber.

In the other part of the upper half of the draw, the favorites are Elena Rybakina and Ons Jabeur. However, both face difficult challenges. Rybakina could play in the second round against Barbora Krejcikova, while Jabeur, who is not in his best form at the moment, may struggle against Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Semi-final predictions: Swiatek will beat Rybakina

Lower half:

Best seeds: [2] Arina Sabalenko, [3] Coco Gauff, [5] Zheng Qingwen, [7] Marketa Vondrousova

Coco Gauff will start her season on clay against the winner of the pair Sachia Vickery – Aleksandra Sasnovich, then will probably meet Zheng Qingwen or Sorana Cirstei. The Romanian is enjoying something of a career renaissance and continues to pose a threat, but her striking isn’t the best on clay.

In the other half of the draw is Aryna Sabalenka, who lost to Swiatek in her last two finals in Stuttgart. The Belarusian can meet Paula Badosa at the start of the tournament. She had already beaten her in Miami. Next come players like Marketa Vondrusova and Donna Vekic, but they haven’t been in the best shape lately and they just don’t like playing on clay. As a result, Sabalenka is expected to advance to the semi-finals.

Semi-final predictions: Gauff will defeat Sabalenka

Prediction for the final: Swiatek will defeat Gauff.

Vyacheslav Gorbachev, Athletistic