Tokyo 500, Japan:
As the longest running ATP event in Asia, there’s a long list of champions, including Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Del Potro, Sampras, Hewitt, Edberg….etc.
This year is a strong line-up, but unfortunately, none of the top 7 players in the world are here.
However, with Taylor Fritz, Casper Ruud, Alexander Zverev, and Australia’s own Alex de Minaur, there will be plenty of action.
Joining De Minaur, are plenty of other Aussies, including Christopher O’Connell, Aleksandar Vukic, Jordan Thompson and Alexei Popyrin, meaning we have a great chance of seeing some Australians later in the week. One who has bowed out as we are underway Monday in Tokyo is Max Purcell 5-7, 4-6 to American Mackenzie McDonald.
Antwerp 250, Belgium:
Only in its 8th edition, but with winners including Andy Murray, Jannik Sinner, and Felix Auger-Aliassime, Antwerp has already established itself as a big event. This year, Stefanos Tsitsipas will be the clear favourite to take the title, as the sole top 20 player. But he may not have it all his own way, with Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff, and young Frenchman Arthur Fils hoping to upset the Greek in Belgium this week.
Stockholm 250, Sweden:
Another event that has been a staple for decades, with Holger Rune as the most recent champion, having joined players such as Mats Wilander, John McEnroe, Boris Becker, and Roger Federer on the honour roll. Holger is back to defend his title this year, and although he hasn’t been in great form lately, he will go in as favourite. Challegers will sure to come from Adrian Mannarino, Alejandro Davidovich-Fokina, and Sebastian Baez.
Nanchang 250, China:
A fairly strong 250 event for China this week, despite only the Brazilian, Beatriz Haddad Maia in the top 20. Behind her, there are another 6 players in the top 50, including Magda Linette, Marie Bouzkova, and Xinyu Wang, who will give the Chinese spectators someone to cheer for. For the Aussies, Kimberly Birrell will take on local player Sijia Wei in the first round, and then is likely to come up against Haddad Maia, which will be a great test for her.
Transylvania 250, Romania:
While local hero Simona Halep won’t be playing here, the locals will still have some strong representation, with Sorana Cirstea, ranked 26, as the top seed, and Ana Bogdan as the 5th seed. The dangers for Cirstea will come from Alycia Parks, Greet Minnen, and if Kaia Kanepi can find some of her old form, she becomes a dangerous floater.
Monastir 250, Tunisia:
Disappointingly for the locals, Ons Jabeur won’t be here, meaning no Tunisians in the main draw. However, they will see some quality tennis, with Italian Jasmine Paolini as the top seed, closely followed by Elise Mertens and Martina Trevisan.
ATP Challenger Tour:
Olbia 125, Italy:
A new event on the calendar has drawn a fairly good field, and a very even field. Only one top 100 player, Frenchman Alexandre Muller, at 81, with the remaining 7 seeds ranked between 107 and 123. This means we could have a week of unpredictable results. When you add Fabio Fognini and Benoit Paire to the draw, anything could happen!
Santa Fe 75, Argentina:
A typical South American Challenger event, with plenty of Argentinians for the home crowd to support. Federico Coria is the top seed, and only top 100 player. But he’ll have his work cut out for him with the likes of Juan Manuel Cerundolo, Tomas Barrios Vera, and his opponent in last week’s final, Mariano Navone, always competitive at this level.
Shenzhen 75, China:
USA’s Aleksandar Kovacevic backs up from winning the title here last week, and will go in as the second seed behind Australia’s James Duckworth. A couple of other Aussies in the field here, including Li Tu, and Luke Saville. Li has found some form over the last couple of months, and Luke has cut his ranking almost in half since the start of the year. Both will be wanting to finish off the season in style.
Hamburg 50, Germany:
Australia’s Adam Walton gets into the Hamburg field as the second seed, currently at a career high 177, and just one place behind top seed, Austria’s Dennis Novak, who has been as high as 85. This is a great opportunity for Adam to continue his rise up towards the top 100. He may be joined by Akira Santillan, who is into the final round of qualifying at time of writing.
W100 Shrewsbury, UK:
A nice field assembled here, with 10 players ranked inside, or marginally outside, the top 200. These include Swiss top seed, Viktorija Golubic, who was as high as 35 just last year, but has dropped down in the rankings since. Australia’s Olivia Gadecki goes in as the third seed, and will be looking to build on a season that currently has her at her career high ranking of 131. A final push in the next month or so, could see her with direct entry to the Australian Open, which would be a great achievement.
W100 Shenzhen, China:
The same category ITF event, but far weaker, with just 4 top 200 players. Two locals take the top seeded positions, in Zhuoxuan Bai, and Yue Yuan. There are a couple of players who have been far higher in the rankings though, with Timea Babos, and Kristina Mladenovic having reached 25 and 10 in the world respectively.
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