The grass court season has already started, beginning in modest with two International tournaments in s’Hertogenbosch and Nottingham. Simona Halep and Jelena Ostapenko reigned the clay swing; who’s turn will it be to start their grass court seasons with a bang? Previewing the Aegon Open Nottingham draw here.
First quarter: Headlined by (1) Johanna Konta
Johanna Konta is coming off a pretty disappointing clay court swing, falling to Hsieh Su-Wei in the first hurdle of the French Open. The Brit has decided to play all three grass court lead-up tournaments in Nottingham, Birmingham and Eastbourne, and this week’s Aegon Open will be Konta’s first stop. She kicks off her grass court endeavours against last year’s quarterfinalist Tara Moore. The winner of the match faces Yanina Wickmayer or a qualifier. French Open doubles runner-up Ashleigh Barty meets Tatjana Maria, while No.7 seed Mona Barthel starts with a qualifier after a disappointing French Open.
Second quarter: Headlined by (4) Alison Riske
Alison Riske’s favourite surface is the grass – her groundstrokes and playing style are completely suited to the grass and as last year’s finalist she kicks off her grass swing against home favourite Heather Watson who has been struggling all year. The winner of that match will likely face Magdalena Rybarikova who is on a stunning run of form, with a 21-3 record throughout the year. After a injury which forced her out of the tour since Wimbledon, Rybarikova came back to the tour in March and has won three ITF titles, 80K and 60Ks in Japan and just today (as of writing) she just won the 100K grass court tournament in Surbiton. She also won her first Grand Slam match in the French Open since 2016’s Australian Open against CoCo Vandeweghe.
Naomi Osaka withdrew from Wimbledon with injuries last year, so this is the first time we are seeing the Japanese player on grass. Most would probably think Osaka’s big game is suited on grass, so we’ll get a first look at her in a grass court main draw tournament for the first against a qualifier. If she wins, Osaka will face Magda Linette or Oceane Dodin, both dangerous players on the grass.
Third quarter: Headlined by (3) Lauren Davis
Lauren Davis has just been an up and comer this year, so I haven’t seen much of her on grass although on the WTA grass is stated as her worst surface. She technically has a tough draw as her second round opponent is grass-court specialist Tsvetana Pironkova, however the Bulgarian has been struggling so far and is now at No.126 in the rankings after her Roland Garros quarterfinalist points have been removed. Lucie Safarova is also decent on this surface – the French Open doubles titlist kicks things off with a qualifier then either Hsieh Su-Wei or Kristina Kucova.
Fourth quarter: Headlined by (2) Anastasija Sevastova
Anastasija Sevastova is known better for her clay court prowess as shown this year, but she is not bad on the grass courts as well as she reached the final of Mallorca last season. She starts off her grass campaign against Christina McHale, then either Maria Sakkari or Jana Cepelova. The other seeded player in this quarter, Shelby Rogers is another player better on the clay – she starts against Donna Vekic. Hometown favourite Laura Robson or fellow American Julia Boserup looms in the second round.
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