Daria Kasatkina is the top seed
The newly-minted ‘Tennis in the Land’ in Cleveland will be the final WTA tournament in the US Open Series. Scheduled to be held from 22 to 28 August, the WTA 250 event has attracted quite a few established names looking to get some wins under their belt ahead of the US Open.
World No. 26 Daria Kasatkina, a two-time titlist this season, headlines the 32-player draw. World No. 28 Anett Kontaveit, World No. 34 Ekaterina Alexandrova and Nottingham champion Johanna Konta round out the top four seeds.
On that note, here’s an in-depth look at how the draw might unfold:
Top half: Ekaterina Alexandrova, Magda Linette looking to topple Daria Kasatkina
Ekaterina Alexandrova is looking to bounce back
Seeded players:  Daria Kasatkina,  Ekaterina Alexandrova,  Nadia Podoroska,  Magda Linette
Expected semifinal: Daria Kasatkina vs Ekaterina Alexandrova
Dark horse: Magda Linette
Analysis: Daria Kasatkina started the US Open Series in style, reaching the final at the Silicon Valley Classic where she went down to Danielle Collins in three sets. But the Russian couldn’t build on that in her subsequent two tournaments at Montreal and Cincinnati.
Having won a grand total of just one match in the two events combined, Kasatkina will be eager to get her rhythm back before heading to New York. And the Cleveland tournament gives her exactly that opportunity.
The 24-year-old opens her campaign with a first-round match against the talented but inconsistent Kaja Juvan, who made the third round at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon earlier this year. A win will place Kasatkina in the Round of 16, where she is likely to face 19-year-old rising star Caty McNally.
The quarterfinal stage is where things could get really interesting. Kasatkina could have a rematch with Magda Linette, just a couple of weeks after their thrilling last-eight showdown at San Jose. The Russian needed three tight sets to see off Linette in that encounter, and the Pole would be looking for revenge if they meet in Cleveland.
Third seed Ekaterina Alexandrova or fifth seed Nadia Podoroska could be waiting for Kasatkina in the semifinals.
Nadia Podoroska could be a threat
Alexandrova has made at least the quarterfinals in five events this year, but has been in a slump of late. Since her run to the last eight in Berlin, the World No. 28 has managed to win just two matches in three events combined, and she is coming to Cleveland on a two-match losing streak.
Alexandrova, who kick-starts her tournament against the tricky Irina-Camelia Begu, will be desperate to strike some form before the US Open. But with former French Open semifinalist Nadia Podoroska potentially standing in her way in the quarterfinals, things won’t be easy for the Russian.
Alexandrova could do very little the last time she crossed swords with Podoroska, losing 1-6, 3-6 at the Tokyo Olympics. The third seed would need to be at her absolute best if she wants to avenge that thrashing.
Semifinal prediction: Daria Kasatkina def. Ekaterina Alexandrova
Bottom half: Jil Teichmann, Sara Sorribes-Tormo, Johanna Konta, Anett Kontaveit packed together
Anett Kontaveit is a on a five-match losing streak
Seeded players:  Anett Kontaveit,  Johanna Konta,  Sara Sorribes Tormo  Shelby Rogers
Expected semifinal: Anett Kontaveit vs Johanna Konta
Dark horse: Jil Teichmann
Analysis: The bottom half of the draw is packed with quite a few talented players, each of whom is capable of shaking up the field.
World No. 28 Anett Kontaveit leads this section but she is currently on a five-match losing streak, and is arriving in Cleveland very low on confidence. Unfortunately for the Estonian, her path to the semifinals isn’t free of landmines either.
She begins her tournament against Lauren Davis and could face Caroline Garcia after that, who has notched up a few wins in the US Open Series. Things don’t get any easier after that, as one of Shelby Rogers, Jil Teichmann or Katerina Siniakova could be Kontaveit’s quarterfinal opponent.
A proficient doubles player, Siniakova has been making her mark in singles too this year. The Bad Homburg runner-up has registered wins over Slam champions Garbine Muguruza and Jelena Ostapenko in the ongoing North American hardcourt swing.
Teichmann, meanwhile, has come back to the tour with a bang after putting her injury woes behind her. The Swiss upset World No. 2 Naomi Osaka and Olympic champion Belinda Bencic en route to the last four at Cincinnati, and will be coming to Cleveland with a lot of momentum behind her.
If Teichmann can continue playing in the same vein, she would fancy her chances of beating Kontaveit and progressing to the semifinals.
Jil Teichmann is making a lot of noise again
The other quarter in this section has the likes of Konta, Sorribes Tormo and Liudmila Samsonova huddled together.
Konta’s fitness remains a cause for concern. She gave a walkover to Coco Gauff in the Round of 16 at Montreal due to a left knee injury, and subsequently lost her opener to Karolina Muchova at Cincinnati.
The British No. 1 faces Martina Trevisan in her Cleveland opener, after which she could find herself up against Berlin champion Liudmila Samsonova. If Konta manages to withstand the big serves and attacking groundstrokes of Samsonova, she would be slated to meet Montreal quarterfinalist Sorribes Tormo.
Semifinal prediction: Sara Sorribes Tormo def. Jil Teichmann
Prediction for the final
Daria Kasatkina def. Sara Sorribes Tormo