Felix Auger-Aliassime tosses a ball up to serve.

Photo : Martin Sidorjak

The surface shift continues towards the hard courts on the ATP and WTA Tours, with the first big event, the National Bank Open in Canada, now firmly in sight.

Hoping to impress on home soil, many Canadians are getting some preparation in this week south of the border.

With just one week to go before the world’s best arrive, here’s what you need to know:

In Case You Missed It: Iga Holds Court at Home

The summer hard court season officially got underway last week and did so with a bang, as the No. 1-ranked woman made a statement as she gears up for a US Open title defense.

Iga Swiatek cruised to her first title since Roland-Garros last week in her hometown of Warsaw, Poland, not dropping a set on her way to her first hard-court title since February. Most impressively, she wrapped up the week by finishing off her semifinal earlier in the day before blowing away Laura Siegemund 6-0, 6-1 in the final to claim the trophy.

It was the first time the WTA Poland Open was played in the Polish capital and was contested on hard courts.

Taylor Fritz was the first winner of the summer hard-court swing on the ATP Tour, becoming just the seventh different man to win the Atlanta Open. The American-Australian domination of the event was guaranteed after semifinal Saturday when Fritz booked a date with Australia’s Aleksandar Vukic in the title match.

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The clay season officially came to an end last week on the WTA Tour, with Arantxa Rus in Hamburg and Elisabetta Ciocciaretto in Lausanne being crowd the final champions on the dirt in 2023.

There is one more clay court event on the 2023 calendar this week on the ATP Tour, but the last 500-level tournament was played last week, with Alexander Zverev winning his first title since 2021 on home soil in Hamburg. Top seed Casper Ruud was beaten in the quarter-finals by Arthur Fils, while second seed Andrey Rublev lost in the second round to Daniel Altmaier.

No Canadians were competing on either tour last week.

*(Year-to-date titles/career titles)

What to Watch: Canadians Kick Off Their Summer

The hard-court takeover really begins this week, with four of the five events taking place on the surface.

All eyes will be on the joint ATP-WTA 500 in Washington, D.C. this week, an event that features a quartet of Canadians.

Felix Auger-Aliassime will hope a return to hard courts provides a boost to his fortunes as he seeks his first match win in over two months. The Canadian, seeded third in D.C., has a first-round bye and will meet either Wu Yibing or Yosuke Watanuki in his opening match.

His first seeded opponent could be No. 13 Ugo Humbert and the Canadian is in the same quarter as No. 5 seed Grigor Dimitrov. No. 2 seed Frances Tiafoe is his projected semifinal opponent. Taylor Fritz is the top seed in a draw that also includes Hubert Hurkacz, Sebastian Korda, Christopher Eubanks, and Andy Murray, as well as comeback players Kevin Anderson and Kei Nishikori.

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Bianca Andreescu was the first Canadian up in Washington, but lost in the first round to Marta Kostyuk despite holding multiple match points.

After coming through qualifying to join Andreescu in the main draw, Leylah Annie Fernandez will face Bernarda Pera in the first round and would play No. 4 Maria Sakkari in the second round. Madison Keys could loom in the quarter-finals before either top seed Jessica Pegula or No. 5 Daria Kasatkina in the semis.

Gabriela Dabrowski is teaming up with Shuko Aoyama in Washington. The pair are seeded second.

Read also: Meet the Canadian Women Competing at the 2023 National Bank Open in Montreal

Gabriel Diallo’s quest for a first win on the ATP Tour takes him to Mexico this week as he is competing in the ATP 250 event in Los Cabos. The 21-year-old faces Gijs Brouwer, four spots below the Canadian in the rankings, in the first round.

Should he score that first tour-level win, Diallo would face either sixth seed Nicolas Jarry or Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez in the second round, with a potential clash first Top-10 meeting with top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas looming in the quarter-finals.

The final clay-court event of 2023 takes place this week in Kitzbuhel, Austria, where Roland-Garros quarter-finalist Tomas Martin Etcheverry is the top seed.

There is also a WTA 250 in Prague this week on hard courts, with Marie Bouzkova as the No. 1 seed.

Under the Radar:

A week after claiming the title in Granby, Alexis Galarneau nearly managed to qualify for an ATP Tour event for the first time, falling in three sets in the last round of qualifying in Washington. He will compete in his third ATP Tour tournament next week in Toronto.

Read also: Meet the Canadian Men Competing at the 2023 National Bank Open in Toronto

After all the doubles success he’s had in 2023, Juan Carlos Aguilar had a shot at singles glory last week on the ITF Tour, reaching the final of the M15 event in Pittsburgh before losing a three-setter to Darian King.

Aguilar has five doubles titles on the ITF Tour this year but is still seeking his first singles title.

There are five Canadian men competing on the ATP Challenger Tour this week, as well as a group of Canadian women in various ITF W60s. There is also an ITF wheelchair event taking place in Windsor, ON.

You can follow the Canadians in action every week here.