Photo : Camera Work USA
After the Grand Slam season wrapped up in New York, it was a quiet week in the tennis world with only a couple of small tournaments on the WTA tour.
But now attention begins to shift towards qualifying for the respective tour finals and play begins to ramp up again this week. Here’s what you need to know:
MUST WATCH: THREE CANADIANS IN ACTION, LOADED FIELD IN OSTRAVA
After a week off, the men return to action on the ATP Tour this week with a loaded field at the Moselle Open, including a pair of Canadians.
Vasek Pospisil and Brayden Schnur are both competing in Metz this week and could meet in the quarter-finals. To do so, they would both have to defeat a wildcard from the host country in the first round and then a seed in the second.
Schnur, who went through qualifying to reach the main draw, opens against former world No. 10 Lucas Pouille and would meet top seed Hubert Hurkacz in the second round. Pospisil faces off with Gregoire Barrere and could face another Frenchman in the form of sixth seed Ugo Humbert, assuming the sixth seed defeats Andy Murray.
Pospisil is coming off a second-round appearance at the US Open, while Schnur will be competing in his third ATP main draw in 2021.
The field in Metz is extremely strong for an ATP 250 event, led by the Wimbledon semi-finalist Hurkacz, home favourite Gael Monfils, two-time titlist in 2021 Alex de Minaur, and Olympic medallists Pablo Carreno Busta and Karen Khachanov.
After a strong summer that saw her reach the third round of the Omnium Banque Nationale and qualify for the US Open, Rebecca Marino will look to carry her strong form into the fall when she competes this week at the Columbus WTA 125.
Like Schnur in Metz, the draw was not kind to Marino, who will have to face the tournament’s top seed, Ann Li, if she gets out of her first-round match against Harriet Dart.
Marino kicked off her strong summer with a title at the Challenger event in Evansville in July. She is 11-4 at all levels of competition since the summer hard court season began.
The J&T Banka Ostrava Open kicks things up a level this week with a very deep field at the WTA 500 event.
Seven of the tour’s Top 20 will be competing in Ostrava, including No. 6 Iga Swiatek, Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic, Roland Garros runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova as well as Petra Kvitova, Maria Sakkari, Angelique Kerber and Elena Rybakina.
With only a few weeks to go in the Race to the WTA Finals, this is a big event to watch with all these big names looking to grab some crucial points towards qualification. Swiatek and Sakkari currently sit in qualifying positions, while the rest are on the outside looking in.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: OSTAPENKA DEFENCE FALLS SHORT
The week after a major is always quiet on both tours. There was no play on the ATP Tour, but there were a couple of small events taking place on the women’s side.
The highlight came in Luxembourg, with former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko trying to defend her title among a strong field that included Bencic and world No. 18 Elise Mertens.
While Bencic and Mertens both bowed out in the quarter-finals, Ostapenko got back to the final with a chance to win her second straight title, but was ultimately bested by 18-year-old Clara Tauson in a tight three-set final.
UNDER THE RADAR
There is a large Canadian contingent playing across the Challenger and ITF tours this week.
The big two to watch are Peter Polansky and Steven Diez, who are competing at the ATP Challenger events in Columbus and Braga respectively. Diez is the eighth seed at the Portuguese challenger.
The Fischer U18 Junior Outdoor Nationals are also taking place this week at the Sobeys Stadium in Toronto.
You can follow the Canadians in action every week here.