The 2023 Davis Cup Finals Group Stage will take place this week across four cities - Bologna, Manchester, Split and Valencia. Australia is drawn to play in Manchester against Great Britain, France, and Switzerland. If the Aussies can finish in the top two, they’ll move through to the final 8, set down for November, in Malaga, Spain. Alex de Minaur, Max Purcell, Alexei Popyrin Thanasi Kokkinakis, and Matthew Ebden will fly the flag for Australia.
San Diego 500, USA:
The American swing isn’t done yet, with a strong 500 event straight after the US Open. While none of the top 4 women will be competing, Ons Jabeur takes the top seed position. She’ll be challenged by Caroline Garcia, Maria Sakkari, Jelena Ostapenko, Belinda Bencic, amongst a host of others.
Osaka 250, Japan:
Plenty of depth to the field, but with a 500 event on the same week, there’s probably not as much start power as there could be. China’s Lin Zhu takes the top position in the draw, ranked 44, but close behind her, is Tatjana Maria, Xinju Wang, and Linda Fruhvirtova.
Ljubljana 125, Slovenia:
Nothing to see here for Aussie fans, but if you’re from Slovakia, then you have the top seeded, Anna Karolina Schmiedlova to cheer for. She started the year just outside the top 100, and is currently sitting at 64, off the back of some solid results, including a round 4 appearance at Roland Garros. Another player to keep an eye on is Erika Andreeva, older sister (19 years old) of Mirra Andreeva, who has leaped ahead of her on the rankings this year. Erika hasn’t quite found her form this year, but don’t be surprised if she puts it all together and goes on a run very soon.
Bucharest 125, Romania:
A slightly stronger 125 field assembled here, and something for Aussie fans to follow, with Astra Sharma looking to continue her form, that has seen her jump from 285 in June, up to 195 currently has had a first round win overnight. We all know Astra is more than capable of getting back to the top 100 if she can stay fit, so let’s hope she has a clear run for the rest of the year, and set herself up well for the Aussie summer. If she does get through the first match, she’ll likely face home-town favourite, Ana Bogdan, ranked 60, which will be a great test for her.
ATP Challenger Tour:
Szczecin 125, Poland:
One of the best attended Challenger events in the tour, Poland has even seen some Aussie success, with Richard Fromberg winning this title back in 1997. No Aussies this year, but 7 top 100 players, including Roberto Carbellas Baena, who’s coming off a title in Seville last week, Pedro Cachin, Jaume Munar, and Alexander Shevchenko. As a previous winner of ‘Tournament of the Year’, we’d expect another big week in Szczecin.
ATP Challenger Tour:
Rennes 100, France:
Back on the indoor hardcourts, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga took out the inaugural event in 2006. This year, a quartet of Frenchmen lead the field, with Richard Gasquet, Gregoire Barrere, Quentin Halys, and Corentin Moutet filling the top four seeds. Add in players such as Maxime Cressy, young Italian, Luca Nardi, and Britain’s Liam Broady, and it’s a pretty nice field assembled.
Cary 75, USA:
A contingent of Aussies will compete this week including Bernard Tomic, Adam Walton, Rinky Hijikata as the top seed and Tristan Schoolkate.
Guangzhou 75, China:
As is often the case with the Asian events, Australians feature prominently. Christopher O’Connell is the clear number one seed, ranked at a career high 53, and coming off a win in Shanghai last week. Compatriot, Marc Polmans, at 174 is the second seed and has had a first up win on Day 1 on Monday. O’Connell will be the obvious favourite for this week. Other Aussies in the draw, are Li Tu, Omar Jasika, Alex Bolt, Dane Sweeny, and Luke Saville. Alex and Luke are coming off a doubles title together in Shanghai, so hopefully they can translate that form onto the singles court.
Santa Cruz 75, Bolivia:
Just the second edition of this event, with Argentinian, Francisco Cerundolo taking out the inaugural title. This year, it’s his brother, Juan Manuel, who will start favourite, as the sole top 100 player. Another set of brothers, Hugo and Murkel Dellien, will be holding the hopes of the local crowd, as the only two Bolivians in the top 300, with a realistic shot at going deep in the event.
W80 Le Neubourg, France:
Italian Lucrezia Stefanini, currently ranked just outside the top 100, will be the top seed for this hard court event in France. She has won a two smaller events on the circuit this year, and has been runner-up in a couple more. These consistent performances have seen her push into the top 100 briefly for the first time in her career. French woman Oceane Dodin started the year in fine style, but has since plateaued a little. She found a bit of form in Montreux at a W60 event last week, and will be hoping to use that as a springboard for the latter part of the year.
The Aussie Pro Tour comes back to Perth for a 25K event, and plenty of Aussie girls are happy to get home for some matches. Priscilla Hon, Maddison Ingles, and Destanee Aiava are the top 3 seeds this week. Seventeen year old Taylah Preston, who won her first title in May, and 19 year old Tahlia Gibson will also feature in the main draw. If you’re in Perth this week, there’s plenty of reasons to get along and take a look at the Aussie women in action.
Meanwhile, the men are headed to Darwin for their 25K event. Most of the top males are still overseas at the moment, so the field isn’t as strong as the women. Thomas Fancutt and Blake Ellis are the top seeds, ranked 429 and 434 at entry cut-off, almost 300 ranking places ahead of the 3rd seeded player, Jake Delaney. Fourteen year old Cruz Hewitt has his name in the qualifying draw, so it’ll be a great chance for him to gain some more experience on the pro tour, having won two junior titles this year already.