Just with the end of this year's grass season, the WTA action comes back with the short European swing of 250 level tournaments played on clay during the upcoming two weeks. The first week contains two events in Palermo and Budapest, where some really good players will try to gain ranking points before the remainder of 2023 season headlined by the hard-court tournaments in America and Asia.
Palermo Ladies Open main draw
Daria Kasatkina is the biggest name to play this week, as the Russian headlines the draw of Palermo Ladies Open, being a top seed. The Russian will try to comeback into top 10 of WTA rankings, as she lost her 10th spot after Wimbledon Championships. Reaching out the final in Palermo will help her to enter into the field of top 10 players in the world again. The task is not easy though, as Kasatkina starts her campaign in Italy against the home crowd's favorite and great clay courts specialist - Martina Trevisan, which is an absolute hit clash of first round.
Top half of the draw contains two other Italians. Elisabetta Cocciaretto and Jasmine Paolini are the 4th and 5th seed, but had quite a tricky luck in a draw, while getting paired up against really good clay courts players. Cocciaretto plays against Sara Sorribes Tormo, who builds up her ranking mainly with the victories on clay. Paolini has even more difficult task, as she faces Arantxa Rus. The Dutch approaches Palermo with 15 consecutive wins on clay, including 3 titles with the recent one earned this week in the WTA 125 Grand Est Open 88.
Qinwen Zheng is the second seed in Palermo after receiving late wild card into main draw. The Chinese will try to bounce back after 4 consecutive loses, as she did not manage to win any single match during the grass season. Zheng starts from an interesting match-up against the experienced Italian, Sara Errani.
Both the finalists of the WTA 125 Nordea Open got placed in the bottom half of main draw. Olga Danilovic - the winner of challenger tournament in Sweden, plays her first round match against Lucrezia Stefanini. Danilovic can set up an exciting second round's match-up against another great clay courts player - Mayar Sherif. The Egyptian is seeded with #3 and starts her campaign in Palermo from the match against Jessica Bouzas Maneiro. The runner-up from Bastad - Emma Navarro, is seeded with #7 and will play her first match against one of the qualifiers.
Hungarian Grand Prix main draw
Bernarda Pera comes back to Budapest to take up the challenge of title defence after winning the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2022. The American is also the highest ranked player to participate in this year's edition of tournament in Budapest, being seeded with number one in main draw. The reigning champion start her campaign from an interesting match-up against fellowcountry Diana Shnaider - the talented youngster, who advanced into top 100 of WTA rankings in the age of 19.
The winner of this all-American clash will play against Tereza Martincova or Daria Saville, who came back on tour last month after long break caused by injury issues. The Australian entered the draw on the protected ranking rules.
Elina Avanesyan comes back on clay after a storming run into 4th round of Roland Garros. The Russian is seeded with number 6 and plays against the Slovakian, Rebecca Sramkova in the opening round. The winner of this match will play against one of the Hungarians, who set up the most interesting clash of first round from the perspective of home crowd. Anna Bondar play against the well known doubles specialist - Timea Babos.
Three other home representatives are placed in bottom half of main draw after getting awarded with wild cards. One of them - Amarissa Toth, will play against Shuai Zhang. The Chinese is seeded with #2 and will try to break through after 12 consecutive loses in singles. The run into semifinals of doubles competition in Wimbledon together with Caroline Dolehide surely gives some hopes for Zhang to perform better in second half of 2023.
Yulia Putintseva is the second highest seed in bottom half. The Kazakh, seeded with #4, starts from the match against the qualifier from Ukraine - Kateryna Volodko. Putintseva can set up an intriguing second round's clash against one of the Americans. Louisa Chirico, who performed a sensational run into semifinals of WTA 125 Nordea Open in Bastad, prevailed in the qualies for Hungarian Grand Prix and plays against Claire Liu. Both the players played against each other last week in Sweden, where Chirico performed an upset over her fellowcountry.