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Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Stephens could end an incredible year on a positive note

Young Aussie Barty could be a threat but looks short enough

Sloane Stephens showed how good she can be when winning the US Open in September
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WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai
BT Sport 1, 7.30am Tuesday

ATP Paris Masters
Sky Arena, 10am Tuesday

The draw for the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai was not issued until late on Sunday and Kristina Mladenovic, who has not won a match since early August, is the top seed.

Mladenovic's fellow Frenchwoman and arch-rival Caroline Garcia has shone in recent weeks, which culminated in a semi-final placing in the WTA Finals Singapore on Saturday, but there is no great desire to support the top seed to be spurred on by her former doubles partner given her own form has taken a sudden dive after a fine start to 2017.

Angelique Kerber will feel rather odd being in the WTA second division having started the year ranked world number one.

The German could come good in a tournament in which the oddsmakers are quoting 7-1 the field, but Kerber's record against Rose group seed Anastasia Pavlyu­chenkova is poor and neither of them can be considered safe against Ashleigh Barty anyway.

CoCo Vandeweghe and US Open heroine Sloane Stephens should have too much for their group rivals, while Julia Goerges could gain reward for her consist­ency by seeing off Mladenovic and Magdalena Rybarikova in the Azalea section.

Barty could be a threat to all, but bookmakers have already factored in that possibility and if Stephens finds her A-game in China then she could be the one to beat.

The American has been below her best since her New York triumph, but that dip came as no great surprise and Stephens is more than capable of finishing the season with another command performance.

The action starts at 7.30am and the day's best match bet could be Vandeweghe to open well against Shuai Peng. Chinese wildcard Peng can still ruffle a few feathers, but American powerhouse Vandeweghe should have too much strength for her opponent.

Britain's Anna Smith is involved in the doubles, in which four of the six pairs are all-Chinese, but there is no betting on that event.

In the ATP Paris Masters, Borna Coric, who will have one eye on next week's NextGen Finals, can continue his decent run of form with a win over Jan-Lennard Struff.

German Struff has enjoyed a positive campaign in 2017 and there should be better to come in future, but Coric is one of the classiest young players in the sport and can overcome his first-round opponent in Paris-Bercy.

Roger Federer pulled out of the tournament following his final triumph over Juan Martin del Potro in the Swiss Indoors.

Recommendations
S Stephens
2pts 7-1 general
C Vandeweghe to beat Shuai Peng
1pt 6-10 188Bet
B Coric to beat J-L Struff
1pt Evs general


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The American has been below her best since New York, but Stephens is more than capable of finishing the season with another positive performance
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