Matches and storylines to watch at this week's ATP and WTA touranments in Rotterdam, Buenos Aires, Memphis, St. Petersburg and Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
The Watch List is your go-to guide to the upcoming week in tennis, highlighting the must-know storylines, matchups and more.
Argentina Open (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Notable players: Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, John Isner
All eyes will be on Rafael Nadal this week as the defending champion returns to Buenos Aires following his early exit at the Australian Open. No. 1-seed Nadal and the other three top seeds—David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, John Isner—all have first round byes. Nadal could play Juan Monaco, who is playing in his first ATP tour event since last August in Kitzbuehel after having right wrist surgery.
Playing in his first tournament in Buenos Aires, Dominic Thiem is in Nadal’s half of the draw and opens against Pablo Carreno Busta, while Italy’s Fabio Fognini landed in the bottom half with Tsonga and Ferrer.
ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament (Rotterdam)
Notable players: Richard Gasquet, Marin Cilic, Gilles Simon, Gael Monfils
Eight of the top 25 ATP players are in action in Rotterdam this week, with Richard Gasquet leading the field after Roger Federer had to withdraw from the tournament following knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. After missing the Australian Open due to a back injury, the Frenchman returned to the tour last week and won his first title of the season and 13th of his career at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier on Sunday. He’ll open against countryman Jeremy Chardy.
Marin Cilic is the No. 2-seed in the tournament and will open against Denis Istomin while No. 3-seed Gilles Simon is in the bottom half of the draw and opens against Robin Haase.
Borna Coric and Alexander Zverev are also in the bottom half while Korean teen Hyeon Chung is in Gasquet’s half and will start out his Rotterdam campaign against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. Roberto Bautista-Agut, who has already won two titles this season in Auckland and Sofia, is also in the draw and starts his quest for a third trophy against Joao Sousa.
Memphis Open (Memphis, Tennessee)
Notable players: Kei Nishikori, Steve Johnson, Donald Young, Sam Querrey
Memphis kicks off the first North American tournament of the season this week, where three-time reigning champion Kei Nishikori is the top seed. Nishikori, who is looking to join Jimmy Connors as the only players to win four titles in Memphis, will start his title defense against either Ryan Harrison or 18-year-old Frances Tiafoe, as the two Americans will face off in the opening round. There are 13 Americans overall in the draw, including No. 2-seed Steven Johnson, No. 3-seed Donald Young, No. 4-seed Sam Querrey, Rajeev Ram, Denis Kudla, Tim Smyczek and Austin Krajicek.
There is also a record five teens in the draw as Americans Tommy Paul, Taylor Fritz, Jared Donaldson and Michael Mmoh join Tiafoe in Memphis. The previous tournament record was four, when Andre Agassi, Michael Chang, Jim Courier and Pete Sampras were in the draw in 1989.
St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Notable players: Belinda Bencic, Roberta Vinci, Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic
St. Petersburg is one of the two WTA events that are being played for the first time this week. At the Premier-level event, Belinda Bencic is the top seed for the first time in her career and there is potential for a semifinals clash with Caroline Wozniacki, who is playing in her first tournament since losing in the first round at the Australian Open, No. 2-seed Roberta Vinci and No. 4-seed Ana Ivanovic.
After reaching the third round at the Australian Open, young Russian Daria Kasatkina in also in the draw in St. Petersburg and will open against Kirsten Flipkens. Other notable players in the draw include Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Kristina Mladenovic, Alize Cornet, Monica Niculescu and Barbora Strycova.
Taiwan Open (Kaohsiung, Taiwan)
Notable players: Venus Williams, Misaki Doi, Yulia Putintseva
The Taiwan Open in Kaohsiung is the first WTA event in Taiwan and is one of a record nine WTA Premier and International tournaments that will be hosted on the Chinese Mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan this season. After losing in the first round at the Australian Open to Johanna Konta, Venus Williams returns to action and is the top seed in Kaohsiung. She’ll start her quest for a 49th career title against local wildcard Pei-Chi Lee.
Other notable players in the draw include American Alison Riske, Zarina Diyas, Kristyna Pliskova, Naomi Osaka and Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva, who is coming off a strong run in Melbourne, including a win over Wozniacki.