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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Sharapova may be ready to spring a Beijing surprise

Halep looks a vulnerable second seed in China capital

Maria Sharapova reached the last 16 of the US Open
1 of 1

Day one
BT Sport 3, from 5.30am Saturday

After Wuhan it's straight to Beijing for the China Open and of the top 22 players in the world only Venus Williams and Madison Keys are missing.

Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza tries again after getting outplayed by French Open heroine in Wuhan, but it's difficult to be sure about which non-Grand Slam tournaments the Spanish world number one is keen to prevail in.

Simona Halep is struggling for form, Caroline Wozniacki survived a rollercoaster ride to triumph in Tokyo recently and Johanna Konta has not been at the top of her game.

Another title could soon come the way of third seed Elina Svitolina, while Karolina Pliskova did little wrong in defeat to Ashleigh Barty in Wuhan.

US Open champion Sloane Stephens looked way off the pace in her Wuhan opener so may be best avoided, while Petra Kvitova found it hard going in Hubei province.

Angelique Kerber may soon return to the winner's circle, but at the available prices it could be worth taking a chance on wild-card Maria Sharapova.

The Russian returned from her drugs ban in April and may not be that far from full fitness after plenty of outings.

A repeat of the form she produced at Flushing Meadows, where she upset Halep on the way to a last-16 exit, could see Sharapova figure prominently.

M Sharapova
1pt 10-1 bet365

Tournament lowdown

Venue China National Tennis Center, Olympic Park, Chaoyang, Beijing
Prize money $7,027,063 ($1,271,525 to winner)
Category Premier Mandatory (1,000 ranking points to winner)
Surface Outdoor DecoTurf hard courts
Ball Head
When to bet Starts 5.30am Saturday
Where to watch Daily live coverage on BT Sport
Weather forecast Mostly dry week but cloudy too. High temp 27C. Winds 8-25 kmh
Time difference Seven hours ahead of the UK and Ireland

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The Russian returned from her drugs ban in April so may not be that far from full fitness
E.W. Terms
Sky bet