The Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open begins tomorrow, and the most anticipated feature of the tournament is the return of Kim Clijsters to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Clijsters has her work cut out for her in the first round--she plays Stanford champion Marion Bartoli. Here are some other interesting first round matches:
Peng Shuai vs. Dominika Cibulkova: Cibulkova hasn't had too good a time of it lately, and it doesn't help for her to meet Peng in the first round.
Gisela Dulko vs. Patty Schnyder: I wish I could watch this match--two players whose styles I really enjoy should give spectators a good match.
Carla Suarez Navarro vs. Aleksandra Wozniak: The clever Suarez Navarro competes against a returning-to-form Wozniak, last year's Stanford champion.
Melania Oudin vs. Ana Ivanovic: Oudin made it through qualifying, only to find herself competing against the world number 11. If Ivanovic serves well, Oudin will have all she can handle.
Elena Vesnina vs. Anna Chakvetadze: One Russian is having her best season to date; the other is beginning--maybe--to find her way again. If both play at their best levels, this could be an excellent match.
Kateryna Bondarenko vs. Magdalena Rybarikova: They have played each other only once, and Rybarikova won. Bondarenko, like her sister, is streaky, but has been more consistent lately. This, too, has the potential to be an entertaining match.
Anastasia Pavlyenchenkova, the top qualifying seed, was upset in the final qualifying round by Tatijana Malek. Malek defeated Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 6-2.