With only 32 women participating, the Bank of the West Classic has a rather intense draw. It will probably become even more interesting once the qualifiers have been added, but there is enough now to provide some exciting first round matches:
Serena Williams vs. Li Na: Sadly, this match will very likely not take place because of Li's knee injury, and--even if it does--Li is not likely to be playing at her best level. Still--on paper--it is a good one.
Samantha Stosur vs. Dominika Cibulkova: Stosur has been playing well of late. If she serves at her best level and Cibulkova is healthy (what a pity we have to say that so much), this could be an excellent first round match. It's certainly a shame to consider that one of them has to be eliminated.
Peng Shuai vs. Marion Bartoli: The two double-handers are usually quite entertaining when they have a go at each other.
Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Sorana Cirstea: This is the match I would watch if I were there. I expect it to have a bit of everything in it, and I expect the spectators to get their money's worth.
Daniela Hantuchova vs. Aleksandra Wozniak: Wozniak, the defending champion, is unseeded this year, as is Hantuchova. Both have been showing signs of quality play lately, so this, too, could be a good one.
Nadia Petrova vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands: This is an unfortunate draw for both, since they are doubles partners.
Maria Sharapova vs. Ai Sugiyama: Yes, the veteran is not what she used to be, but neither is Sharapova. If Sharapova shows up with an iffy serve, she could have a long match on her hands. Sugiyama may no longer be in the top 10, but she is as tough as they come.