Another non-traditional week, with Zhuhai and Chengdu wrapping up their events on Tuesday. These are followed up with Astana (250) beginning on Wednesday, and Beijing (500) kicking off on Thursday.
Aussie Number 1, Alex de Minaur is on the Main Draw Entry List for Beijing and Max Purcell and Aleksandar Vukic are on the Qualifying List at this point with draws still to be released. Alexei Popyrin is on the main draw entry list for Astana.
Tokyo 500, Japan:
A bit of controversy before a ball is hit here, with Elena Rybakina not given a bye in the first round (although I personally would like to see all byes scrapped), despite her being the number 3 seed. Both Caroline Garcia, and Maria Sakkari are ranked below her, yet received the bye. WTA have re-introduced ‘performance byes’, which are based on the performance of the player, in the week prior. Rybakina didn’t play, while Sakkari and Garcia played each other in the quarter finals of Guadalajara over the weekend with Sakkari going on to win the tournament.
Iga Swiatek and Jess Pegula are back in action as the top two seeds, and we can expect another closely fought WTA 500 event.
Ningbo 250, China:
Some big names have decided to bypass the Tokyo event, and compete in China. Ons Jabeur, Petra Kvitova, and Sorana Cirstea, all would’ve given themselves a chance of pushing deep in the 500 tournament, yet they’ve decided to play here. Aussie Daria Saville will also be there taking on Yulia Putintseva, before a likely second round clash with Petra Kvitova.
ATP Challenger Tour:
Bogota 125, Colombia:
For a 125 event, this is somewhat lacking in quality, with the last direct acceptance ranked 454. Top seeded Chilean, Tomas Barrios Vera, gets in with a ranking of 115, which is half what he started the season at, so he’s had a great year, and will be hoping this week could be successful enough to propel him into the top 100.
Orleans 125, France:
A great Challenger event that has been going for nearly 20 years now, and a vastly different field, with the last direct acceptance ranked 141, making it quite a strong field. All 8 seeds are ranked inside or very close to, the top 100, with French quartet, Richard Gasquet, Luca van Assche, Hugo Gaston, and Benjamin Bonzi claiming the top 4 spots. Add players such as Maxime Cressy, and Jack Draper, and we’ve got ourselves a great week ahead.
Braga 75, Portugal:
No top 100 players, and no Aussies making an appearance here this week. Zsombor Piros, the 23 year old Hungarian, goes in as the number one seed, having boosted his ranking from 162 at the start of year, up to 110. He is yet to break through to a double figure ranking, but with two titles this year, his trajectory suggests it won’t be long before he reaches that goal. Another player to watch is Britain’s, Jan Choinski, who is up to 134 in the ranking, after starting the year around 250. He’d be another player with an eye on the top 100 to gain direct entry into the Aussie Open in a few months time.
Charleston 75, USA:
Always some Aussies playing the American events, and this week is no different. Bernard Tomic sneaks in as the last direct entry, at 292 (currently 296). He’ll be joined by Tristan Schoolkate, and Adam Walton. Tomic has jumped up in the rankings after starting the year at 462, but he would probably have hoped to get into the top 200 by the end of the season. While there’s still a couple of months to go, he will need to have some big results for that to happen. Frenchman Enzo Couacaud, at 178 is the top seed, so it’s a fairly even week across the draw, which may lead to some interesting results.
W60 Templeton, USA:
The biggest event on the ITF tour this week is in the States, and as you’d expect, the line up is heavily weighted towards American players. Katie Volynets, Taylor Townsend, Ann Li, and Hayley Baptiste will all be looking for a good showing on home soil. No top 100 players, but 11 in the top 200 will make for a highly competitive week here.