I've had the same problem occasionally with the freeze at the beginning of the battle and never being able to enter the game. I've solved this by changing wine versions. I'm using PlayOnLinux now. I was trying to see if it was better on Crossover (which I have), but apparently not. For no particular reason I have Wine versions 1.7.22, 1.7.49,1.9.7,1.9.10 (staging), and 1.9.11(staging) installed. When this happens normally i have best results with 1.7.22, but I have gotten it to run at various times on all of them, and usually try 1.9.10(staging) first if possible. I just do my first game with a low tier tank that I don't care about a loss on lately to test this. I've been away from WOT for at least six months, maybe longer, so I've been seeing this just the past week or so that I've been playing again. So far, when I get it to work with one of those versions, I'm fine for the rest of the session, only one time has it happened after the first game. Hope this helps someone.
I've had a similar problem with the loading of the client, which hangs or CTD's just before the screen with your email address and password. Switching around eventually helps that too, along with a reboot here and there. It all seems strange, it seems like it should work or not, but this is better than not.