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Preview: Top seeds talk motivation, preparation ahead of Wuhan Open 2nd round
By sportswriter Spencer Musick
WUHAN, Sept. 23 -- Top-seeded players who received byes into round-two of the ongoing 2018 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open opened up Sunday about how they are approaching the week ahead here at the WTA Premier Five event.
Defending champion Caroline Garcia said that she is ready to fight here in Wuhan, and said that she expects competition from a strong field of players here, adding that how each player prepares for the Asian swing is largely up to their personal preference.
"Physically we are all very fit athletes, we are able to do it. After the US Open there is a very small break. Depends of some players, but some take a break, some go practice. It depends when do you start in Asia. But I think we are all fit and we all can do it," Garcia said.
She pointed out that the weather conditions here in Wuhan can be tough to cope with.
"In Wuhan, the condition can be very humid, so it can be tough. These two tournaments, Beijing and Wuhan, are very difficult physically because there's, like, lot of matches in very few days. It's almost like a (Grand) slam, but in one week," she added.
World No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki has taken a few days off to prepare for the Asian swing, and says she is ready for the challenge of playing in this late stage of the season.
"I feel good. It's the end of the season. I think everyone is kind of tired. I'm excited that it's nearing the end, that we can hopefully finish it off strong," she said.
Wozniacki said that she is not letting her Grand Slam title distract her from keeping focused on each match.
"I think this part of the season, the US Open, the last slam, you just kind of have to refocus and, yeah, reassess, just put your head down and keep working. There's not many tournaments left, but it's big tournaments. You want to do well," she concluded.
World No. 5 Petra Kvitova said that she is feeling good about the Asian swing this time around.
"Actually from the first tournament we played here, I just felt great here. Obviously I like to play in Asia, in China. It's tough to explain why," Kvitova said.
One issue that Kvitova said she will be keeping an eye on here in Wuhan is a proper ratio of practice to court time.
"I need to be really careful with the balances of the practices. I'm saving everything for the matches. Then when the match comes, of course everything will be back. I think when you play, you [are] just really not thinking about it," the Czech remarked.
World No. 6 Elina Svitolina has been training for the Asian swing since her fourth round exit at the US Open with new coach Nick Saviano. She said that success in this late stage of the tour, is all about finding the right formula.
"It's finding the balance between your fitness, between your mental conditions, and obviously putting everything together. When you are ready, then you're going to take your chance, you're going to win the tournaments," the Ukrainian said.
She added that things had changed markedly for her since her first outing here in Wuhan.
"I remember my first semifinal here in Wuhan probably was, like, first tournament that was here. I remember that feeling when I couldn't really beat anyone from top 10. This was a big issue. Now it's different story," Svitolina continued.
I try to find the ways all the time to find my game and to fight back. That's tennis. That's how you have to take it, one match at a time," she concluded.
Round one of action wraps up Monday and the top seeds who received byes will hit the court later in the day.