Watch List: Nadal in Rio; four WTA Top 10 players in Dubai
The Watch List is your go-to guide to the upcoming week in tennis, highlighting the must-know storylines, matchups and more.
Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Notable players: Simona Halep, Garbine Muguruza, Petra Kvitova, Belinda Bencic
This week’s WTA Premier level tournament sees four of the Top 10 players in action, with Simona Halep, Garbiñe Muguruza, Carla Suárez Navarro, Petra Kvitova, Belinda Bencic, Karolina Pliskova, Roberta Vinci and Svetlana Kuznetsova rounding out the top eight seeds of the draw. On Monday, both Pliskova and Kuznetsova lost their opening matches, to CoCo Vandeweghe and Julia Goerges, respectively.
After the Italian veteran defeated Bencic 6–4, 6–3 for her 10th career title in St. Petersburg over the weekend, Roberta Vinci returns in Dubai and will open against Yaroslava Shvedova. The 18-year-old Swiss, who is seeded No. 5 and opens against Jelena Jankovic, cracked the Top 10 and reached a career-high ranking of No. 9 on Monday after advancing to the final against Vinci. Unseeded in the tournament, Ana Ivanovic will start off against Daria Gavrilova and Barbora Strycova will play Tsvetana Pironkova.
Rio Open (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Notable players: Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Teliana Pereira
After losing to Dominic Thiem in the Argentina Open semifinals on Saturday, Nadal returns as the top seed at the Rio Open, an ATP 500-level event and a WTA International level tournament. Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga round out the top three seeds, with John Isner, Thiem, Jack Sock, Fabio Fognini and Thomaz Bellucci also in the draw. Nadal will start off against Pablo Carreno Busta while Tsonga gets Brazilian wildcard Thiago Monteiro and Ferrer will play Chile’s Nicolas Jarry.
Other notable first round matches include Sock vs. Federico Delbonis, Isner vs. Guido Pella and Thiem vs. Pablo Andujar. On the women’s side, Teliana Pereira is looking to win her third career title after becoming the first Brazilian in 27 years to win a WTA title at the Claro Open last year. Other notable players in action in Rio include Christina McHale, Shelby Rogers and Tatjana Maria.
Open 13 Provence (Marseille, France)
Notable players: Stan Wawrinka, Tomas Berdych, Marin Cilic, Gael Monfils
Stan Wawrinka returns to action in Marseille for the first time since losing to Milos Raonic in the fourth round of the Australian Open and is the No. 1-seed at the Open 13. Berdych is also making his first appearance since losing Melbourne and the top two seeds are joined by No. 3 Richard Gasquet, No. 4 Marin Cilic, No. 5 Gilles Simon, No. 6 David Goffin, No. 7 Gael Monfils and No. 8 Benoit Paire.
Simon is the defending champ in the tournament and will open against Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili. Monfils, last year’s runner-up, is coming off a loss in the Rotterdam final to Martin Klizan and will play fellow countryman Quentin Halys in the first round. Other notable players in action include youngsters Alexander Zverev, who made it to the quarterfinals in Rotterdam, and Hyeon Chung, as well as Nick Kyrgios, who will play in his first match since the Australian Open against Vasek Pospisil.
Delray Beach Open (Delray Beach, Florida)
Notable players: Kevin Anderson, Grigor Dimitrov, Bernard Tomic Juan Martin del Potro
Kevin Anderson is the No. 1-seed in Delray Beach in his seventh-straight appearance in the tournament. Defending champion Ivo Karlovic, Bernard Tomic and Grigor Dimitrov round out the top four seeds of the draw. Also in action are Jeremy Chardy, Steve Johnson, last year’s runner-up Donald Young and Adrian Mannarino.
One of the more noteworthy storylines of the tournament is the return of Juan Martin del Potro, who is playing in first tournament since undergoing left wrist surgery on Jan. 20 and on June 18. He only played in two tournaments last season, in Sydney and Miami, and is making his first appearance in Delray Beach since 2011. He’ll open against Denis Kudla in the first round.
Other notable players in the draw include Taylor Fritz, who is coming off a loss in the Memphis Open final to Kei Nishikori, Fritz’s first round opponent Tim Smyczek, Noah Rubin and Sam Querrey.