FILE – Bianca Andreescu, of Canada, reacts between points during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis championships, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, in New York. Andreescu, the 2019 U.S. Open champion, is going to take a mental break from tennis and sit out the start of next season, including the Australian Open, saying Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, she wants to “re-set, recover, and grow” after a “challenging” two years that included getting COVID-19.(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)
2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu returns in Stuttgart after a six-month break
No. 1 seed Iga Swiatek, on her best surface, looks to prolong her unbeaten streak
Read on as we analyze the contenders for the title and make our predictions
The conditions at the Stuttgart Open are unique, as it is the only indoor clay-court tournament at the top level.
The clay is extra-slippery. And it’s fast. And there are lights to deal with. In short, the more times you play it, the better you’ll be.
But not many of the top contenders this year have much Stuttgart experience.
WTA Stuttgart Open Singles Odds
Iga Swiatek (POL)
Paula Badosa (ESP)
Maria Sakkari (GRE)
Anett Kontaveit (EST)
Aryna Sabalenka (BLR)
Elena Rybakina (KAZ)
Ons Jabeur (TUN)
Angelique Kerber (GER)
Petra Kvitova (CZE)
Marketa Vondrousova (CZE)
Karolina Pliskova (CZE)
Bianca Andreescu (CAN)
Coco Gauff (USA)
Emma Raducanu (GBR)
Camila Giorgi (ITA)
Laura Siegemund (GER)
Odds as of April 17 at Barstool Sportsbook
Defending champion Ashleigh Barty is retired.
And the most experienced veterans – 2015-16 champion Angelique Kerber, 2018 champion Karolina Pliskova and 2019 champion Petra Kvitova – have tough draws.
In the first round, Kerber faces No. 5 seed Anett Kontaveit – who did well at this event before last year’s meteoric rise.
Pliskova and Kvitova play … each other.
Some serious contenders will be out after the first round.
Bianca Andreescu Finally Returns
After exactly six months away to tend to her mental health, 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu is back this week.
Her first opponent is German wild card Jule Niemeyer, ranked No. 109.
It could have been worse. But Andreescu has exactly zero experience in Stuttgart (and very little top-level experience on clay). And the draw is fierce.
.@Bandreescu_ & @Ons_Jabeur share a laugh during their Friday afternoon practice in Stuttgart pic.twitter.com/6GYUz8VKLt
— Jimmie48 Photography (@JJlovesTennis) April 15, 2022
The 21-year-old Canadian could have played a competing tournament in Istanbul, Turkey for her first time back.
That one would have had a lesser field; but she also would have had to deal with the uncertainties that come with playing outdoors in the spring – wind, rain, cold.
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Previous Stuttgart Open Winners and Finalists
 Ashleigh Barty (AUS)
 Aryna Sabalenka (BLR)
 Petra Kvitova (CZE)
 Anett Kontaveit (EST)
 Karolina Pliskova (CZE)
Coco Vandeweghe (USA)
[WC] Laura Siegemund (GER)
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA)
 Angelique Kerber (GER)
[Q] Laura Siegemund (GER)
Angelique Kerber (GER)
 Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)
 Maria Sharapova (RUS)
 Ana Ivanovic (SRB)
 Maria Sharapova (RUS)
 Li Na (CHN)
Of the eight seeds, four are making their main-draw debut (including the top two seeds and top favorites). Two others have only played it once.
There’s a good chance for plenty of upsets and three-setters this week.
Stuttgart Open Seeds – Best Previous Results
Career Main Draw W/L
 Iga Swiatek
 Paula Badosa
 Aryna Sabalenka
 Maria Sakkari
 Anett Kontaveit
 Karolina Pliskova
 Ons Jabeur
 Emma Raducanu
First-Round Matches to Watch
[WC] Jule Niemeier vs Bianca Andreescu
Even if Andreescu and Niemeier had some history, it would be pretty irrelevant as the Canadian returns to action.
She’s been training on clay for about a month. But practice isn’t matches. There are going to be nerves. And a whole lot of rust, too.
All that has made Niemeier a slight favorite, even if both are in the minus.
Practice at the Rafa Nadal Academy💪 @Bandreescu_ 🎥 @rnadalacademy pic.twitter.com/IYGgn7Juxy
— Bianca Andreescu Fans (@Andreescu_Fans) April 12, 2022
Still, for Andreescu, it’s a whole lot better than playing Kerber, Kvitova or Pliskova in the first round.
Prediction: Andreescu (-105)
Coco Gauff vs Daria Kasatkina
Kasatkina has a funky game, well-suited to the clay. And she has a lot more experience sliding (even when it’s extra slippery). The Russian also has a win over Gauff, although that was more than three years ago in Miami.
Gauff went 13-2 through the clay of Rome, Parma (a small event she won) and the French Open last spring. A long time ago.
Kasatkina not only is going to try to make her move up and back on the slippery court, she’s going to change the pace and try to break down Gauff’s forehand.
It could work
Prediction: Over 2.5 Sets (+170)
The bottom half is so much denser than the top that whomever does get through to the final – and likely faces Swiatek, might not have the energy to give it a proper go.
Best Bet: Iga Swiatek (+110)
Good Longshot: Ons Jabeur (+2200)