ATP, WTA Grasscourt Previews

Posted on June 9, 2008

The Artois Championships, Queen's Club, England

Defending Wimbledon runner-up Rafael Nadal leads the star-studded field at Queen's, joined among the Top 8 seeds by Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick, David Nalbandian, Richard Gasquet, Andy Murray, Paul-Henri Mathieu and Ivo Karlovic.

The Top 8 seeds receive byes, but opening-round matches of interest include Roddick vs. the winner of Robby Ginepri and Vince Spadea in an all-American, No. 9 Fernando "Hot Sauce" Verdasco vs. Hyung-Taik Lee, and American John Isner vs. South African Kevin Anderson in a college rematch.

Potential quarterfinal match-ups include (1) Nadal vs. (8) Karlovic, (3) Roddick vs. (6) Murray, (5) Gasquet vs. (4) Nalbandian, and (2) Djokovic vs. (11) Hewitt.

Last year Roddick won his fourth Queen's title in the last five years.

Gerry Weber Open, Halle, Germany

World No. 1 Roger Federer had won the Halle title four years running last year before withdrawing from the event citing fatigue. This year the Swiss will try to make it five consecutive titles in his last five appearances.

Federer is joined among the seeded players by American James Blake, defending champion Tomas Berdych, Russian Mikhail Youzhny, Cyprus' Marcos Baghdatis, Czech Radek "The Worm" Stepanek, Finn Jarkko Nieminen, and Croat Ivan Ljubicic.

Federer's early road in Halle is not a difficult one, with an opener against German Michael Berrer, and a second-round meeting with a qualifier before potentially meeting Baghdatis in the quarters.

Opening-round matches of interest include (4) Youzhny vs. Dmitry Tursunov in an all-Russian, (8) Ljubicic vs. the serve-and-volleying Frenchman Michael Llodra, (6) Stepanek vs. former No. 2 Tommy Haas, and (3) Berdych vs. former Slam champion Thomas Johansson.

In last year's final, Berdych defeated Baghdatis in straight sets.

Orange Warsaw Open, Warsaw, Poland

Why take to the grass when you can still play on clay? Nikolay Davydenko and Tommy Robredo lead the field at the Orange Warsaw Open, joined by seeds Juan Monaco, Gilles Simon, Guillermo Canas, Potito Starace, Marcel Granollers and Al Montanes.

Former French Open runner-up Guillermo Coria also continues his comeback in Warsaw, opening against France's Florent Serra.

Robredo is the defending champ, last year topping unseeded Jose Acasuso in the final.

DFS Classic, Birmingham, England

The grasscourt season on the WTA Tour kicks off Monday with the 56-draw at the DFS Classic in Birmingham, England, an event surprisingly devoid on stars. France's Marion Bartoli is the lone Top 10 representative, with only 10 players ranked within the Top 50.

Russian Dinara Safina withdraw after reaching the French Open final. Joining Bartoli among the Top 8 seeds are Nicole Vaidisova, Sybille Bammer, Alona Bondarenko, Sania Mirza, Olga Govortsova, and Tamira Paszek.

Barcelona KIA, Barcelona, Spain

Israel's Shahar Peer is one of the top attractions at one of the newest events on the WTA Tour, the second-annual Barcelona KIA. Peer is joined by top seeds Maria Kirilenko, Dominika Cibulkova, Lucie Safarova, Pauline Parmentier, Sara Errani, Klara Zakopalova and Tathiana Garbin.

Also in the draw is French Open breakthrough Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro, who reached the quarters at Roland Garros with wins over Amelie Mauresmo and Flavia Pennetta.

In last year's final American Meghann Shaughnessy beat Edina Gallovits in the straight set final.