Only one Top 10 player is in action this week on the WTA tour, but a number of former No. 1s and young guns are in the mix at Prague, where defending champion Lucie Safarova shoots for a fourth career title, and Rabat where Swiss Timea Bacsinszky is the defending champion.
Here are the tournament breakdowns:
J&T BANKA PRAGUE OPEN
Prague, Czech Republic; surface: red clay
Seeds: Karolina Pliskova, Caroline Wozniacki, Barbora Strycova, Samantha Stosur, Lucie Safarova, Zhang Shuai, Ana Konjuh, Katerina Siniakova
Floaters: Camila Giorgi, Julia Goerges, Jelena Jankovic
Notes: Pliskova the lone Top 10 player, but the former No. 1 Wozniacki and the former Slam winner Stosur also among the seeds…Interesting starts for (1) Pliskova vs. the tenacious Giorgi, and (3) Strycova vs. the somewhat-resurgent Goerges…The former No. 1 Jankovic is looming in the second round for (5) Safarova…Wildcards were awarded to Slovakia’s Jana Cepelova, Jankovic, and to the fast-rising Czech teen Marketa Vondrousova…Withdrawing from the field were Mandy Minella, Naomi Osaka and Louisa Chirico…Safarova is the defending champ, beating Stosur in last year’s three-set final for her third Prague title…Czechs or Slovaks have won the tournament in six of its seven years…Former champs in the field are Safarova (2016,’13-12) and Pliskova (2015).
GRAND PRIX DE SAR LA PRINCESSE LALLA MERYEM
Rabat, Morocco; surface: red clay
Seeds: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Timea Bacsinszky, Daria Gavrilova, Timea Babos, Yulia Putintseva, Irina-Camelia Begu, Lauren Davis, Alison Riske
Floaters: Laura Siegemund, Alize Cornet, (WC) Francesca Schiavone, Andrea Petkovic
Notes: No Top 15 players in the field…Interesting starts for (7) Davis starting against a qualifier then Siegemund, (8) Riske vs. the upset specialist Cornet, (4) Babos vs. the former French Open winner (WC) Schiavone, and (5) Putintseva vs. the veteran Petkovic…Wildcards were awarded to Schiavone, Russian Anna Blinkova, and Morocco’s Lina Qostal…Bacsinszky beat Marina Erakovic in last year’s final…A Moroccan has never reached the singles or doubles final in the 13-year history of the event…Returning former champs in the field are Bacsinszky (2016) and Schiavone (2013).
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