For the top flight the Italian Open (Masters 1000 for the Men and WTA 1000 for the Women) continues this week. Alexei Popyrin is Australia's big singles hope with a blockbuster 4th round showdown with 7th seed Holger Rune from 7pm AEST tonight.
Storm Hunter and partner Elise Mertens (BEL) are through to the women's doubles semi finals and Jason Kubler and Alex de Minaur are through to the Quarter Finals, eyeing a big 1000 trophy this week.
Away from the Eternal City, there is a plethora of events for players to compete in around the globe.
ATP Challenger Tour:
Bordeaux 175, France:
A pretty nice destination to hit a few tennis balls, and with ex-winners such as Thanasi Kokkinakis in 2015, and Alexei Popyrin last year, the Aussies have enjoyed playing in the south of France.
This year Thanasi is back, with a first round win last night 7-5, 6-4 def Great Britain's Ryan Peniston. Joining Thanasi, is a cracking field, that sees German Jan-Lennard Struff as top seed, after his run to the Madrid final. Second seed is Andy Murray, who, if all goes to plan, will play Stan Wawrinka in the second round. Two multiple major winners in round 2 of a Challenger is a tantalising prospect….
Turin 175, Italy:
Speaking of beautiful destinations, the Italian Alps play host to a new tournament, and the second 175 event this week. Unfortunately, it’s not nearly as strong as Bordeaux, with the event stacked full of alternates. Fifteen alternates seems somewhat ridiculous, and dramatically reduces the excitement that a 175 event should have. The South Americans dominate the seedings, with Sebastian Baez as the clear number 1 seed, ranked 40, before it drops off to Daniel Elahi Galan, ranked just inside 100. Big chance for Baez here.
Tunis 75, Tunisia:
A popular event on the calendar for almost two decades, with past winners including Gael Monfils and Pablo Cuevas. This year Pablo is back as an alternate, but with no top 100 players in the event, who’s to say he couldn’t take the trophy again. Croatia’s Borna Gojo will be the top seed, while Britain’s Liam Broady takes his place at the bottom of the draw as second seed. Aussie James MCabe will be in final round qualifying tonight.
Oerias 4 75, Portugal:
Another event in Oerias. We’re becoming quite used to this location now. A couple of Aussies take their place in the field, Rinky Hijikata and weekend winner in Busan, South Korea Aleksander Vukic who at 101 in the rankings, could take his place in the top 100 for the first time. He will play Portuguese wildcard Frederico Ferreira Silva in the first round late tonight AEST.
Neither has played much on clay this year, so it’ll be interesting to see how they go. Argentina’s Pedro Cachin is the clear top seed, and the only player currently inside the top 100, at 68.
WTA 125 Paris, France:
What better way to tune up for Roland Garros, than to play in Paris. And we have a pretty nice field assembled here, with 3 top 50 players, Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Varvara Gracheva, and Alycia Parks. Add Linda Noskova and Alize Cornet, and it’s going to be a competitive tournament.
WTA 125 Florence, Italy:
Another rough location to watch some tennis, with Florence playing host to a 125 event. Just like the Paris event, a worthy field has descended, including two Aussies. Priscilla Hon will take on top seed, American Lauren Davis, who is just outside the top 50, while Olivia Gadecki has drawn Italian Lucia Bronzetti. A few other notables in the draw are Eugenie Bouchard, who is trying to resurrect her career, Sara Errani, a former top 5 player, and Claire Liu, who is on the verge of the top 50 for the first time.
W100 Madrid, Spain:
A very nice field has assembled in the Spanish capital, just a week after the Madrid Open.
Dalma Galfi of Hungary, and USA’s Emma Navarro, are the only top 100 players. However, the rest of the direct entries are all ranked inside 200. Unfortunately Aussie trio Kim Birrell, Arina Rodionova and Jaimee Fourlis have all been knocked out in the first round. This looks like a really competitive event for all players as they prepare for Roland Garros.
Lots of other Aussies will be playing at ITF 25K level and Junior level. Follow us on Twitter all through the week for the latest daily scores