The Abierto GNP Seguros in Monterrey, Mexico, kicks off this week featuring 3 former singles champions – Heather Watson (2016), Elina Svitolina (2020), and Leylah Fernandez (2021).
Absent is Emma Raducanu, the British No 1, who was the top seed last week in Guadalajara but has to retire in her opening match with an injury during the longest match of the WTA season so far.
Top seed Svitolina, who has pledged to donate her prize money to help with humanitarian efforts following Russia’s invasion of her country, Ukraine, last week, faces Russian Anastasia Potapova, while Watson takes on qualifier Jule Niemeier from Germany on Monday, and Fernandez starts her title defence against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova from Slovakia, also on Monday.
American Sloane Stephens arrives in Monterrey fresh off winning the Abierto Akron Zapopan in Guadalajara on Sundayand will play Egypt’s Mayar Sherif in the first round.
Two exciting first-round matches to watch will be between up-and-coming young stars Ann Li from the USA and China’s Xinyu Wang and veteran qualifier Sara Errani from Italy against Guadalajara finalist Marie Bouzkova from the Czech Republic.
Two Mexicans are competing in the main draw, wild-cards Renata Zarazua and Marcela Zacarías, while one to Watch is Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen, the youngest player in the main draw, who had a hot start to her 2022 season in Australia, where she entered the Top 100 by reaching the semi-finals of Melbourne Summer Set 1 (losing to Halep) and the second round of Australian Open (losing to Sakkari), her first-ever main draw appearance in a Grand Slam.
Zheng is making her tournament debut in Monterrey and will face Russia’s Anna Kalinskaya in round one.
The two played just last week in Guadalajara, where Kalinskaya won, 6-3 2-6 6-2.
In Lyon, another Ukrainian, Dayana Yastermska, who fled her home town of Odessa as Russian troops landed, has been given a wild-card to play Open 6e SENS – Metropole de Lyon this week, and opens against Romanian Ana Bogdan.
This is the 3rd edition of the tournament, which features 6 of the Top 50, headlined by World No 29 and two-time quarter-finalist Camila Giorgi, who begins her challenge against home favourite Caroline Garcia
No 2 seed this week is Sorana Cirstea from Romania, also back inside the Top 30 after a solid start to the year, highlighted by a 4th-round run at the Australian Open.
Facing her in the 1st round here will be qualifier Mariam Bolkvadze, from Georgia
Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic and Alizé Cornet from France are seeded 3 and 4 respectively, opening against Belgian Greet Minnen and Cristina Bucsa from Spain.
Last year, Golubic came through qualifying to finish runner-up to Denmark’s Clara Tauson, and is one of two former finalists in the draw, joined by the unseeded Anna-Lena Friedsam from Germany.
French teenager Elsa Jacquemot received 1 of 3 wild-cards into the draw and is one to watch as she faces qualifier Stefanie Voegele, another Swiss, in the first round.
Two years ago, she won the girls’ singles title at Roland Garros, the first French player to win a junior Grand Slam since 2009, and has recently begun to translate this talent into success in the senior ranks by reaching her second ITF Circuit final earlier in the year, and is rapidly closing in on a Top 200 debut.
British interest lies with Katie Boulter, who came through qualifying over the weekend without dropping a set, while Samantha Murray Sharan was not so fortunate, losing her opening qualifying match to top seed Ekaterina Gorgodze from Georgia.