Two-times doubles champion, Chinese Taipei’s Chang Kai-Chen is her opening opponent
World No.10 and top seed Roberta Vinci looks set for a tricky debut as she seeks to win her second WTA Tour title of the season at the BMW Malaysian Open (BMWMO).
The 33-year-old Roberta will open her campaign against world No.151 Chang Kai-chen of Chinese Taipei – a two-time doubles champion in Kuala Lumpur – when the main draw matches get underway at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC) on Monday.
Barring any major upset, fans should expect a possible quarter-final clash between Roberta and Canada’s world No.61 Eugenie Bouchard in the last-eight with third seed Sabine Lisicki of Germany awaiting the Italian in the semi-final.
World No.31 Sabine, on the other hand, has drawn world No.98 Linette Magda of Poland as her first round opponent.
But Roberta is certainly the player to beat at the moment, having lifted her career’s 10th crown at St. Petersburg two weeks ago on her way to breaking into world’s top 10 for the first time.
Roberta will be hoping to carry the good form into the BMMMO after making the semi-finals of the Qatar Total Open before going down fighting to world No.3 Agnieszka Radwanska on Thursday.
In the bottom half of the draw, world No.18 and second seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine will face a qualifier, while German fourth seed Annika Beck will begin her campaign against Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas, who reached the quarter-finals the last in her last visit in 2014.
Japan’s Nao Hibino, seeded fifth, looks forward to making her debut in the event and has set her sights of winning her second WTA Tour title.
The 21-year-old earned her breakthrough win at the Tashkent Open last year.
“I have played in Kuala Lumpur during my junior days in the ITF events and I’m glad to be back here again,” said world No.60, who will meet China’s Duan Yingying for her opening hurdle.
“My first title in Tashkent last year boosted my confidence greatly. Since then, I was looking to win more.
“I have got a decent draw. Maybe Kuala Lumpur is where I will win my second. We’ll see.”
Chinese Taipei Hsieh Hsu-wei, who is the only former champion in the field, will take on Jana Cepelova of Slovakia.
The 30-year-old, now ranked No.65, is seeded seventh. Hsu-wei, who won in 2012, has been competing in the last four editions and boasts a decent record in Kuala Lumpur.
She made quarter-finals in 2013 and reached the semi-finals last year before she was beaten by eventual winner Caroline Wozniacki.