The Watch List spotlights the must-know storylines for the upcoming week in tennis. This week sees the return of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to the ATP Tour and the women begin their Asian swing.
It’s been a virtual infirmary for the French talent pool over the last few months, with France’s No. 1, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, sidelined since Wimbledon with a left knee injury and its No. 3, Gilles Simon, skipping the U.S. Open after contracting whooping cough and suffering two broken ribs (no really). Both men return this week at the Moselle Open in Metz, France, an ATP 250 level event. Tsonga and Simon lead the field, which includes Andreas Seppi, Philipp Kohlschreiber, and Benoit Paire. Sam Querrey, seeded sixth, takes on Ivo Karlovic in the first round.
KDB Korea Open
No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska has ditched her blonde experiment and leads the WTA International field in Seoul, Korea. Radwanksa hasn’t won a tournament since January, but she shouldn’t have much trouble with the field this week. No. 20 Maria Kirilenko, No. 33 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and No. 34 Klara Zakopalova round out the top 4 seeds. The match-up of the tournament could occur in the first round, where 50th-ranked Andrea Petkovic takes on Francesca Schiavone. The last time Schiavone beat a Top 50 player on a hard court was at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, Japan last year.
Seoul may feature the bigger names, but the Guangzhou Open is the more competitive tournament of the two. While the veterans are in Seoul, the draw in Guangzhou, China is stuffed with youngsters trying to win their first titles of the year. No. 22 Sorana Cirstea, who had a strong summer lead-up season, looks to rebound from a disappointing second round exit from the U.S. Open. She’s the top seed with a resurgent Alize Cornet, last year’s runner-up Laura Robson, and Peng Shuai rounding out the top 4 seeds. Urszula Radwanska, Varvara Lepchenko, Monica Puig and Bojana Jovanovski, who won the Tashkent Open last week, are also in the draw. Jovanovski’s recovery skills will be tested early as she opens against top-seeded Cirstea in the first round.
St. Petersburg Open
Fabio Fognini is the No. 1 seed, with Mikhail Youzhny, Davis Cup hero Janko Tipsarevic, , and Dmitry Tursunov holding the top four seeds. Two names to keep an eye on: Ernests Gulbis and Marcos Baghdatis. Gulbis is coming off a shocking five-set loss in the first round of the U.S. Open, while Baghdatis seems to have put his struggles behind him and is playing much better tennis under new coach Zeljko Krajan. Baghdatis opens against Tursunov in the best matchup of the first round.