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ON THE TENNIS MENU THIS WEEK



The first major of the year is in the books, and it’s a long 4 months until the next one. But the tour rolls on. So what do we have around the world this week?


Davis Cup:


The Davis Cups kicks off again for a new year, although we’re all a bit unsure how it’s going to look in the future, after the decision to part ways with Kosmos.


At this stage, not much changes for 2023, but it will be interesting to see what plans the ITF has going forward.


Anyway, this week sees countries trying to qualify for the finals, playing a home and away tie.


Australia and Canada are already through to the finals, after competing in the year end finale last year. Without knowing exactly who’s going to take to the court, it’s hard to predict any winners at this stage, but all the big countries will be competing, including USA, Spain, France, Serbia, Germany, Argentina, Great Britain, and plenty more.


Then we have the World Group 1 playoffs, where countries are vying to move up to the qualifiers group for next year. Countries such as Poland, Greece, and Denmark would fancy their chances. But again, it all depends who puts their hand up to play for their country. Those that lose their tie, will drop down into the World Group 2 playoffs for next year.


This year’s World Group 2 teams have countries such as Uruguay, Bolivia, South Africa, and Tunisia trying hard to get promoted into World Group 1.


WTA Tour:


Two 250 events for the women this week to re-start the WTA tour after Melbourne.


Hua Hin 250, Thailand:


Not held in the last couple of years, Hua Hin is back on the women’s calendar. In two previous instalments we’ve had Magda Linette take out the title in 2020, and Dayana Yastremska defeat Aussie Ajla Tomljanovic back in 2019.


This year sees Bianca Andreescu as the top seed, but there is plenty of talent looking to take the title, such as Yulia Putintseva, Marta Kostyuk, and after her huge run in Melbourne, Linda Fruhvirtova will be hoping to keep the momentum rolling.


Lyon 250, France:


The fourth instalment of this tournament, which has seen Zhang Shuai, Clara Tauson, and Sofia Kenin take out the title over the last three years. The sole top twenty representative this week, is home town hero, Caroline Garcia. Not a huge amount of depth in the draw, but a couple of interesting players to watch, are, Garbine Mururuza…can she reclaim some form? The other, is Czech qualifier, Linda Noskova, who we saw take out the second Adelaide tournament earlier in the summer.


Cali 125, Colombia:


The first of the WTA 125’s for the year, takes us to South America. No top 100 players in the field, with Hungarian, Reka-Luca Jani, at 111 the top seed of the week. One spot behind her in the rankings, is Brazilian Laura Pigossi, who got into the Australian Open as a lucky loser through qualifying. It will be interesting to see if she can keep moving towards that top 100.


ATP Challenger Tour:


Koblenz 100, Germany:


The beautiful German town of Koblenz holds their indoor hardcourt event this week. Originally a smaller event held during the Aussie Open, it has been upgraded to a Challenger 100, and now falling after Melbourne, we see quite a nice field assembling this year. Three top 100 players, Zhizhen Zhang, Roman Safiullin, and Vasek Pospisil lead the way.


Burnie, 75, Australia:


For those players staying on in Australia, a flight across Bass Strait will land them at Burnie, a tournament which has been running since 2003. Aussies have obviously had success here, with players such as Omar Jasika, Nathan Healey, John Millman, and Bernard Tomic taking out the title in previous years.


I can’t help but think this should’ve been held last week, to attract some internationals to stay on.


Now it essentially becomes an Australian and Japanese championship, with nearly all players coming from those two countries. Rinky Hijikata may find it hard to come down off winning the Australian Open doubles, but he is the second seed here this week, only behind James Duckworth.


Keep an eye on Omar Jasika too, who will be looking to make amends for a poor showing at the AO qualifying.


Cleveland 75, USA:


The Cleveland Challenger is back for its 5th consecutive year, and has been a breeding ground for some of the young Americans now forging their way, such as Seb Korda, Brandon Nakashima, Jensen Brooksby, etc. Last year Dominic Stricker took out the title, defeating Yoshihito Nishioka, who made the fourth round of the Aussie Open this year.


No top 100 players in the field this year, but China’s Yibing Wu, and Americans Jack Sock, and Steve Johnson certainly create some interest.


Tenerife 2 75, Spain:


Back in Tenerife for the second tournament here this year. Alexander Shevchenko took out the first instalment, and he is back for more this week. Top seed is Italian, Francesco Passaro, but there’s a few other dangerous floaters in the field, such as Benoit Paire, Lloyd Harris, and Ukrainian, Oleksii Krutykh, who qualified for the Aussie Open, and pushed Diego Schwartman to 4 sets.


ITF Women’s Tour:


A couple of ITF 60’s on the schedule for this week.


W60 Rome, USA:


Obviously heavy on American entries, although it is Hungarian, Panna Udvardy, at 90 in the world, who leads the field. A couple of others to keep an eye on, are Elizabeth Mandlik (Hana Mandlikova’s daughter), and Dutch woman, Arianne Hartono, who qualified for the Australian Open, taking out our own Destanee Aiava in the final round.


W60 Burnie, Australia:


Loaded up with Aussies, this will be a good chance for some of our girls to gain some points before having to get back on the road. Jaimee Fourlis is the top seed, but with Kimberley Birrell, Priscilla Hon, Olivia Gadecki, and Lizette Cabrera, breathing down her neck, this is going to be a competitive week in Tasmania.

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