Leylah Fernandez follows through on a forehand.

Photo : Hong Kong Tennis Open

While hard courts are generally the best surface for Canadians, perhaps not the ones in the far east.

The biggest events of the Asian swing took place last week and it did not go well for the Canadians competing in Beijing and Shanghai.

But two members of Canada’s Billie Jean King Cup team are spending another week in the east and it is already off to a better start. Here’s what you need to know.

In Case You Missed It: Not to be at Asian 1000s

The first 1000 events in Asia since 2019 were not a positive return for the Canadians.

In Shanghai, Felix Auger-Aliassime suffered yet another opening round loss, this time in a three-hour thriller at the hands of Marton Fucsovics. He also lost in the first round of the doubles with Jiri Lehecka to the eighth seeds Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer.

Over in Beijing, Gabriela Dabrowski also suffered an opening-match doubles defeat alongside Erin Routliffe at the hands of eventual semifinalists Magda Linette and Peyton Stearns.

Despite not being the top seed at a tournament for the first time since March 2022, Iga Swiatek claimed the final WTA 1000 title of the season, defeating Liudmila Samsonova in two quick sets.

Read the full tournament recap on the National Bank Open website.

Shanghai is still going this week, although eight of the Top 10 seeds have already been eliminated.

*(Year-to-date titles/career titles) 

What to Watch: Strong starts for Fernandez, Dabrowski

The Asian swing winds down this week with three tournaments on the WTA Tour alongside the conclusion of the Rolex Shanghai Masters for the men.

Leylah Annie Fernandez is already off and running at the 250 event in Hong Kong, advancing past top seed Victoria Azarenka early on Tuesday after the two-time major champion retired before the start of the third set of their first-round clash.

Read also: Fernandez, Marino, Dabrowski, Bouchard, and Stakusic to represent Team Canada at Billie Jean King Cup Finals in Seville

Next up for Fernandez is teen star Mirra Andreeva. The Canadian’s next possible seeded opponent would be in the semifinals, either No. 4 Xinyu Wang or No. 5 Anna Blinkova. Beatriz Haddad Maia, the second seed, is the top-ranked player remaining in the draw.

Gabriela Dabrowski was also an early winner to start her campaign this week at the WTA 500 event in Zhengzhou, China. She and Erin Routliffe, the top seeds at the event, defeating Tereza Mihalikova and Yifan Xu to advance to the quarter-finals.

Next up for Dabrowski and Routliffe are an all-Brazilian pair that include the Canadian’s former partner Luisa Stefani. They are in the same half of the draw as Laura Siegemund and Vera Zvonareva, who Dabrowski and Routliffe beat to win the US Open last month.

Read also: Tennis Canada CEO Michael Downey awarded ACA Gold Medal

The singles draw in Zhengzhou is strong and is led by Maria Sakkari, Ons Jabeur, and Caroline Garcia.

There is also a 250 event in Seoul, Korea this week where Jessica Pegula and Jelena Ostapenko are the top two seeds.

Meanwhile back in Shanghai, Carlos Alcaraz is the overwhelming favourite as the Masters 1000 event reaches the latter stages. He is one of only two Top 10 players left in the draw, alongside Monte Carlo champion Andrey Rublev.

Both are in the same half meaning only one Top 10 player can reach the final. Hubert Hurkacz is the only player left on the bottom half of the draw who has reached a Masters 1000 final.

Under the Radar:

Liam Draxl has been on fire for the last month and came very close to adding a third consecutive title to his trophy case at the ITF M15 event in Ithica, New York.

The top-seeded Canadian reached the final without dropping a set, extending his winning streak to 14 matches having last lost in qualifying at the National Bank Open in Toronto, before finally succumbing to Romania’s Radu Mihai Papoe in three sets.

Draxl has reached the final of all but one ITF event he has played since November 2022 and has reached at least the semifinals of every ITF event he has entered since October last year.

Photo : @fedecoltenis

Kayla Cross came close getting her hands on a trophy last week on the ITF Tour, reaching the doubles final at the W25 event in Redding, California. She and partner Maria Fernanda Herazo Gonzalez dropped just one set on their way to the final where they lost in straight sets to local favourites Liv Hovde and Clervie Ngounoue.

Alexis Galarneau continued his strong run of form since the summer, reaching the semifinals of an ATP Challenger event in Tiburon, California.

The Canadian Davis Cup team member won back-to-back three-setters 7-5 in the third set before falling to the eventual champion Zachary Svajda in the final four.

Galarneau continues his busy fall this week at a Challenger in Fairfield, California. His teammate Gabriel Diallo is competing at a Challenger in Bratislava, Slovakia.

On home soil, the Birmingham Canadian Wheelchair Tennis Championships are taking place later this week in Bedford, NS.

You can follow the Canadians in action every week here