Wimbledon has come to a close, but don’t despair! The WTA and ATP has five decent tournaments next week, and there are also some tasty looking draws on the ITF/Challenger tour.
ATP Newport 250 (grass)
John Isner tops the bill once again at Newport and, with a lack of star names, could be the one to lift the trophy once more after a five year wait. Defending champion Ivo Karlovic is second seed and has made the final in each of the last three tournaments, while two-time champion Rajeev Ram has been awarded a wild card and is due to play a qualifier in round one.
Other names in the draw include Adrian Mannarino, Denis Kudla and Stefan Kozlov. The eighth seed is Illya Marchencko is ranked outside the top 100 and emphasises the lack of quality in the draw.
It’s difficult to look past a big-hitting final between Isner and Karlovic. Both had a disappointing time at Wimbledon so expect to see the two top seeds in the final. I think Isner will win for the first time since 2012… 3 tie-breaks of course!
WTA international Bucharest (red clay)
The draw in Romania is much more appealing than ATP Newport, with the likes of Anastasija Sevastova, Sorana Cirstea, Carla Suarez Navarro and Irina-Camelia Begu amongst the seeds. Belgian Elise Mertens will be looking to build on her French Open form (and forget the grass season), after being one of the emerging stars of Paris.
There will be plenty of home talent on show, with no fewer than six Romanians in the main draw, proving the strength in depth the country has on show.
A tough one to call with so many emerging talents in the draw. I’m going to go with Elise Mertens, who has a nice draw, to take her second WTA title of the year.
ATP Bastad 250 (red clay)
The clay stars have travelled to Sweden and the fans have a real treat on their hands. All of the seeds could win in what is a wide open draw, with Pablo Carreno Busta, defending champion Albert Ramos-Violas, Pablo Cuevas, Karen Khachanov, Fernando Verdasco and Diego Schwartzman all will real chances of being crowned champion. Other players in the draw include David Ferrer, Ernests Gulbis and Tommy Haas, while the Ymer brothers will be doing their best to represent Sweden.
This draw is very hard to predict, but next gen star Karen Khachanov looks like the man to beat!
WTA international Gstaad (red clay)
Caroline Garcia, fresh from a fantastic month of tennis in Paris and Wimbledon, leads the charge in Switzerland. If she can recapture the form she’s shown in the last few tournaments, which has seen her rise to a new career high inside the top 20, then she’ll definitely be the one to beat. Defending champion Viktorija Golubic will be under tremendous pressure to defend her rankings points, while Kiki Bertens, Anett Kontaveit and Carina Witthoeft all look to have real prospects of taking the crown.
If Caroline Garcia plays like she has on the big stages these last two months, then she has to be the clear favourite. However, she is very inconsistent, so I’m going to go for the unseeded Maria Sakkari upset the apple cart.
ATP Umag 250 (red clay)
David Goffin is set to make his return from injury in Umag. Hopefully he’ll come out firing, but will find it difficult to take the title. Italian Fabio Fognini is third seed, while Gael Monfils, Paolo Lorenzi and Borna Coric are also in the draw. Britain’s Aljaz Bedene will be one to watch out for following his fantastic clay form this season, while Gilles Simon and Benoit Paire will also be strong contenders.
Fabio Fognini has to be the pre-tournament favourite going into Croatia, but it would be great to see next gen star Coric take the crown in front of his home crowd. However, the Italian should have enough to win the tournament.
Best of the rest
Naomi Broady, Tara Moore and Harriet Dart all compete in the ITF 100k President’s Cup in Astana – Shuai Zhang heading up the seeded players. In the mens’s draw (Challenger level), Evgeny Donskoy, Mikhail Kukushkin and Alexander Bublik are among the top seeds in a competitive field.
Canadian star Denis Shapovalov is back in his home country to take the seventh seed slot in the ATP Challenger event in Gatineau. Malek Jaziri, Liam Broady and Yuki Bhambri are among his competition. In the women’s event (25k ITF), Australia’s Olivia Rogowska is the top seed, with Katie Swan, Danielle Lao and Aleksandra Wozniak among the draw.