Originally written on Tennis Grand Stand  |  Last updated 10/22/14
Should Vika look over her shoulder? #1 could hinge on a title defense. Formerly riddled with upsets and surprise semifinalists, WTA draws grew relatively predictable in 2012 as a small group of women won virtually every marquee tournament.  That trend continued when Azarenka defended her Australian Open crown after several young stars rose and fell.  In the first Premier Five tournament of 2013, more of the familiar suspects look likely to shine.  Read a preview of the draw, quarter by quarter. First quarter:  Just as she did in Melbourne, Azarenka may need to defend her title to retain her #1 ranking with the second-ranked Serena Williams anchoring the opposite half of the draw.  Also like the Australian Open, the medium-speed hard courts in Doha suit the top seed’s style more than any other surface, and one must feel sanguine about her semifinal hopes in this weak section.  Several of the women surrounding her played Fed Cup over the past weekend, when most looked pedestrian at be...
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