WTA Tour hits Asia as cancelled Israel Open means just one men’s event remains.
The WTA Tour heads to Asia this week with events in China, Korea and Japan.
Meanwhile, after the cancellation of the Israel Open due to security concerns, there’s just one ATP event this week in the ‘Green City’ of Metz. Keep reading for our preview of all this week’s tennis action.
Toray Pan Pacific Open
It’s the thirtieth birthday of this event in 2014 although it’s now an outdoor hard court tournament rather than the indoor carpet event that was launched in 1984.
Nine of the world’s top twenty players will be in action in Tokyo and the player to beat is US Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki. The Dane has been in terrific form in recent weeks and there are signs that she is back to playing her very best tennis.
Angelique Kerber and Ana Ivanovic are top ten players and will be strong challengers, as will tenacious Italian Sara Errani, world number ten Jelena Jankovic and Slovakian star Dominika Cibulkova.
The popularity of tennis in China has exploded in the last few years and the country will host six WTA tournaments in 2014.
One of those is the Guangzhou International Women’s Open, where at its inaugural staging in 2004, Li Na became the first Chinese woman to win a WTA title.
Peng Shuai reached the semi-final of the US Open this year before retiring through injury when giving Caroline Wozniacki quite a fright. Peng won the doubles at this event in 2013 with her partner Su-Wei Hsieh and will hope to win her first WTA title.
Aussie fave Sam Stosur and American Sloane Stephens will provide strong competition, as will Zhang Shuai, China’s number two ranked player and the defending champion.
There’s a strong men’s field in the French city of Metz this week for the Moselle Open.
The indoor hard court tournament was first played in 2003 and home based stars have had decent success at the event.
Arnaud Clement won the inaugural tournament eleven years ago and since then Jerome Haehnel (2004), Gael Monfils (2009), Gilles Simon (2010, 2013) and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2011, 2012) have tasted success.
Frenchmen Tsonga and Monfils in particular have been in good form in recent weeks and both reached the last 16 of the US Open.
Their strongest challenge this week comes from world number four Stan Wawrinka while top 30 players including Philipp Kohlschreiber and Leonardo Mayer will also be in the ‘Green City’.
Kia Korea Open
Seoul’s WTA tournament launched a decade ago at Seoul Olympic Park Tennis Center, the site of the 1988 Summer Olympics.
There’s a strong Eastern European contingent in Seoul for this event including last year’s champion and world number five Agnieska Radwanska. Karolina Pliskova and Klara Koukalova from the Czech Republic are the next two highest ranked players after the withdrawal of US Open semi-finalist Ekaterina Makarova.
Britain’s Heather Watson remains in the world’s top 50 and will also feature and is certainly worth keeping an eye on in this week’s tennis match betting options.
Negev Israel Open
The Israeli city of Tel Aviv was all set to host the country’s first ATP Tour event since 1996 this week. The Negev Israel Open was previously hosted in St Petersburg and would have given 28 players the chance to share a prize fund of $1 million.
However, in August the ATP regretfully announced that the inaugural tournament would not take place in 2014 due to security concerns arising from the military conflict in the region.