Zhengzhou 500, China:
The event has been robbed of some of its star power, with the withdrawal of Coco Gauff and Elena Rybakina. That leaves Maria Sakkari as the top seed, and great chance for her to build on her drought breaking victory in Guadalajara last month. For the Aussies, it was great to see Ellen Perez qualify. With a current ranking of 456, it’s a wonderful opportunity to play quality matches against higher ranked players. She’ll come up against Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina, who, with a ranking of 28, will be a massive challenge, but I expect Ellen to give a really good account of herself.
Seoul 250, South Korea:
Jess Pegula has decided to play the 250 event in Seoul, which will make her a clear top seed this week. However, there will be some challenges during the event, with other competitors including Jelena Ostapenko, Sofia Kenin, and Ekaterina Alexandrova. Kimberly Birrell will represent Australia, and will take on USA’s, Sachia Vickery in round one.
Hong Kong 250, China:
Priscilla Hon is the one confirmed Aussie in the main draw Hong Kong and will take on local wildcard, Eudice Chong, giving her a good chance at moving forward into the week. Daria Saville could join Hon if she wins her final qualifying match tonight. This event has quite a bit of depth, with the top 8 seeds ranked between 18 and 47. Victoria Azarenka is the top seed, but Brazilian, Beatriz Haddad Maia is currently just one ranking place behind her, so there should be some competitive tennis here.
Rouen 125, France:
Quite a nice 125 event in France, where Astra Sharma will be the sole representative for Australia. After winning the 125 event in Romania a few weeks ago, Astra has had a couple of first round losses, but will be hoping to bounce back from that. Belgian’s Greet Minnen is the top ranked player, at 61, but there are 4 other top 100 players in the draw who will give her some competition.
We’re into the second week of the Shanghai Masters, and unfortunately for Australia, there’s no remaining men left in the singles draw. While it hasn’t been a good week for the Aussies, there’s a lot of good tennis to play out this week, with most of the top seeds left, including Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Andrey Rublev.
ATP Challenger Tour:
Bratislava 125, Slovakia:
A popular tournament for both players and spectators, Bratislava will again play host to a top level Challenger. Leading the charge this year will be Austria’s Dominic Thiem, who still hasn’t been able to recapture his best form yet. Other players who might fancy their chances this year are Dominic Stricker, Maxime Cressy, Liam Broady, and Benjamin Bonzi.
Malaga 125, Spain:
Plenty of quality in Spain this week, with 5 top 100 players, including local hopes, Roberto Bautista Agut, Roberto Carbelles Baena, Pablo Carrena Busta, and Bernabe Zapata Miralles. France also have some good representation here, including Benoit Paire, Constant Lestienne, and Hugo Grenier.
Buenos Aires 100, Argentina:
We would always expect a big crowd and a party atmosphere in Argentina, and in the last couple of years, they’ve had reason to celebrate, with Sebastian Baez, and Juan Manuel Cerundolo, as home town winners. Juan Manuel is back this year as second seed. Ahead of him is his countryman, Federico Coria, who is currently the only top 100 player in the draw.
Shenzhen 100, China:
As always, the Asian swing hosts plenty of Australians. Top seed this week is Thanasi Kokkinakis, who just can’t seem to break through to push into the top 50, but hopefully a big week here will go a long way towards that. He’s joined by Li Tu, James McCabe, Luke Saville, Philip Sekulic, and James Duckworth. Fabio Fognini also gets a wildcard into the event. Currently ranked 128, it will be interesting to see how is motivation is heading into next season, if he has to play on the second tier for extended periods.
Fairfield 75, USA:
Australia’s Christopher O’Connell took home this title back in 2019, and this year, while he won’t be there, as his career has headed north, there are a few other representatives who might be able to make a run this week. Bernard Tomic, Adam Walton, and Tristan Schoolkate will be taking on the American hardcourts, as they continue to try to shore up an Australian Open qualifying ranking. Top seed is young American, Alex Michelsen, who has soared up the rankings this year, and is now on the verge of a top 100 berth.
W25 Cairns, Australia:
Week two in Cairns, and a fairly similar field. Destanee Aiava remains the top seed, and is coming off a title win last week. Although, the final was handed to her, due to the withdrawal of Lizette Cabrera. Regardless, it will be a great confidence boost for Destanee, and she’ll be hoping for more of the same this week. Maddison Inglis, Talia Gibson, and Taylah Preston will all be pressing to win a title on home soil.
M25 Cairns, Australia:
Australia’s Jeremy Beale, and New Zealand’s Ajeet Rai reached the final last week, and they’ll both be back in action this week. Along with Omar Jasika, Blake Ellis, and Blake Mott, there are a handful of Japanese players all looking to gain some wins in the tropical north.
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