We’re 3 majors down now, and the run up to the US Open begins. But we still have both grass and clay court events to get through, so it’s an interesting time on the tour, and there should be something to suit everyone.
ATP 250, Newport, USA:
Grass court tennis isn’t done yet! The only ATP grass tournament outside Europe, has a long history, including some Aussie winners, Lleyton Hewitt and Mark Phillippoussis, and back to Wally Masur and John Fitzgerald.
Plenty of Australian men from this generation will be lining up for one more tilt on the natural surface. Max Purcell, Jordan Thompson, Aleksandar Vukic, Rinky Hijikata, and James Duckworth take their place in the field. Top seed, Tommy Paul, and four time winner John Isner will be flying the flag for the home country.
ATP 250, Bastad, Sweden:
Not many tournaments have been going for 75 years. And even less have been voted ‘best 250 tournament of the year for 11 straight years’. But that’s exactly the history of this classic Swedish event. Needless to say, a full honour board of stars, from Björn Borg, to Rafael Nadal, Mats Wilander, and Australia’s own, Richard Fromberg in 1990.
This year, Casper Ruud will be looking to win the title for a second time. But he’s joined by a great field, including Andrey Rublev, Alexander Zverev, and Lorenzo Musetti.
ATP 250, Gstaad, Switzerland:
No many more beautiful locations on the tour than Gstaad, and similarly to Bastad, a historical event spanning over 5 decades. Casper Ruud has won the last two titles, but won’t be here to defend.
On paper, not the strongest 250 event, with Roberto Bautista-Agut, the only top 40 player entered. Plenty of interest here though, with Dominic Thiem, Stan Wawrinka, and Fabio Fognini, all dangerous floaters in the field.
WTA 250, Budapest, Hungary:
Not a line up that will have most viewers glued to their tv, but plenty of interest for Australian fans. Daria Saville will be looking for more matches in her comeback, and Storm Hunter will be hoping to consolidate her great doubles season so far, into more singles success.
USA’s Bernarda Pera will be looking to defend her title as the top seed, and with only one other player in the top 50 here, she has a good chance to doing exactly that.
WTA 250, Palermo, Italy:
No Aussie ladies here, but a little more depth to the field. Top seed is Daria Kasatkina, who is the only top 20 player. But behind her is Qinwen Zheng, and Mayer Sherif, who should fancy their chances of going deep into the tournament.
WTA 125, Iasi, Romania:
The women head to Romania, after the men had their own Challenger event last week. Home town favourite, Irina-Camelia Begu, will be favoured to take the trophy as a clear top seed, ranked 30. Three other top 100 players, including second seeded, Ana Bogdan, also from Romania, meaning the home crowd might have plenty to cheer for.
ATP Challenger Tour:
Granby 100, Canada:
Canada’s longest running Challenger event is up to it’s 26th edition. Peter Luczak won this event back in 2002, and Frances Tiafoe in 2016 is probably the biggest name to have lifted the trophy. A plethora of Aussies here this year, including top seed Thanasi Kokkinakis. Also joining him are James McCabe, Dane Sweeny, Adam Walton, Omar Jasika, and Tristan Schoolkate, so there’s a good chance we might have some more Aussie silverware come the weekend.
Trieste 100, Italy:
Three years ago, a young Spanish guy named Carlos Alcaraz won his first ever Challenger title, beating Lorenzo Musetti, and Tomas Martin Etcheverry along the way! Will a future Wimbledon champion come from this week’s field? Top seed is Hungarian, Fabian Marozsan, and as the only top 100 player, he would fancy his chances of at least going deep in the event this week.
Amersfoort 75, Netherlands:
Tallon Greikspoor has won this event for the last two years, but he won’t be here this year to make it a treble. No Aussies here, and a weaker field than last year, with no top 100 players, so it is a fairly open field. Two South Americans as top seeds, with Argentinian, Facundo Diaz Acosta, and Brazilian, Felipe Meligeni Alves at opposite ends of the draw.
Pozoblanco 75, Spain:
No top 100 players here this week, meaning another wide open field on paper. Fernando Verdasco is still going around, and at age 39, with a ranking of 354, he has to be admired for continuing to grind away. He has only won a single match in a main draw on the Challenger tour this year, so clearly he’d be hoping to improve on this. Frenchman Hugo Grenier is the top seed this week.
Tampere 75, Finland:
Over 40 years of history here, and one of the most popular events for players and fans. Some good winners here too over the years, including Jiri Lehecka, David Goffin, Robin Soderling, and even Casper Ruud’s dad, Christian. While there are no top 100 players here this week, players such as Cristian Garin, and Zsombor Piros should ensure some great tennis again in Finland.
W100, Granby, Canada:
The women are in Granby this week too, and USA’s Jennifer Brady is making her comeback to the tour after a couple of years away. A strong North American flavour this week, with all direct entries, bar two, from either USA, Canada, or Mexico. No Aussies here this week though.
W100, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain:
Oceane Dodin takes the top seeded spot this week. She had a cracking start to the year, but has since been on the slide a little since then. Back on the hard court should suit, and she’ll be hoping to push back into the top 100. Britain’s Jodie-Anna Burrage should also perform well on the hard court, after an up and down grass season.
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