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Fans’ guide: September 27 ” October 3 2010


 

Originally published on: 27/09/10 11:12

PTT Thailand Open
When? September 27 – October 3
Where? Bangkok, Thailand
Event Type: ATP World Tour 250
Surface: Hard
Prize money: $551,000
Draw Size: S-28, D-16
2009 Champion: Gilles Simon

Defending champ, new dad and last week’s Metz champion Gilles Simon will not be returning to Bangkok this year, opening the door for a new Thailand Open champion to join past champions Roger Federer, James Blake and Jo-Wilfed Tsonga.

Making his first appearance in Thailand after withdrawing from the event for the past two seasons, world No.1 Rafael Nadal shows no signs of slowing down on another groundbreaking season. Competing in his first tournament since that blistering performance in Flushing Meadows, the Spaniard makes his long-awaited debut at Thailand Open and will bid to win his first title in Asia since Olympic success at the 2008 Beijing Games.

The seemingly unstoppable Rafa will have to watch his back however as the much anticipated return of 6’5” Argentine Juan Martin del Porto also headlines the Thailand Open. The 22-year-old has been sidelined with a wrist injury since January and underwent surgery in May. After slipping to No.35 in the rankings, a final appearance will see him return inside the top 30.

The 2009 US Open champ posted the good news on his twitter page:

“I am extremely happy to tell you: I WILL PLAY AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!! Will be in the BANGKOK tournament next Monday. Thanks so much for everything!”

Juan Martin del Potro – we are just as excited to have you back!

Bangkok is also host to Victor Troicki, Ernests Gulbis and late addition Fernando Verdasco. The world No.8 equalled his best performance at the US Open this month, losing in three sets to compatriot Nadal. In 11 meetings the left-hander has never beaten Nadal, who also defeated him in Monte Carlo earlier this year. Can Fernando put an end to his losing streak against Nadal on new turf?

Malaysian Open
When? September 27 – October 3
Where? Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Event Type: ATP World Tour 250
Surface: Indoor Hard
Prize money: $850,000
Draw Size: S-28, D-16
2009 Champion: Nikolay Davydenko

Nikolay Davydenko always seems to save his best for last. The defending champ, who won here before going onto to win the Shanghi Masters and the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in 2009, has a lot of defending to do if he’s to book a return ticket to London this year. After failing to defend his titles in Hamburg and Umag in August, he made a second round exit in the US Open to Frenchman Richard Gasquet. Will Davydenko’s fortunes change? We all know he doesn’t quit easily.

The world No.6 is also joined by fellow top tenners Robin Soderling, Mikhail Youhzny and Tomas Berdych who are all chasing qualifying spots the World Tour Finals in November. Soderling has kept hold of his No.5 spot since early July and after equalling a last-eight appearance at the US Open and doesn’t seem likely to give up his position anytime soon.

Tomas Berdych also has some important points to collect in hope of qualifying for his first end-of year tour finals. The Wimbledon finalist makes his second appearance at the tournament, returning after a third round loss to Soderling last year. Can Berdych beat him the second time round? 

Marcos Baghdatis, David Ferrer and Lleyton Hewitt also return to complete an impressive line up.

Toray Pan Pacific Open
When? September 26 – October 2
Where? Tokyo, Japan
Event Type: Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Premier
Surface: Outdoor Hard
Prize money: $2,000,000
Draw Size: S-56, D-16
2009 Champion: Maria Sharapova

The Asian swing really gets into its stride for the women this week as well as the first of two back-to-back WTA Premier events kicks off in Tokyo.

Well, technically the action kicked off yesterday, and while Laura Robson qualified for the main draw the young Brit fell in the first round to Great Arn, who also saw off Elena Baltacha in her qualifying draw.

Monday sees the introduction of the big names – and there are plenty in Japan chasing those crucial points for a spot at the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha next month. Six players could potentially book their spot should results go their way this week.

Former champ Sam Stosur will be on the plane should she lift the title, but after that it gets a bit complicated. We’ll leave the WTA’s official site to guide you through that one, but needless to say there will be plenty of added interest in Victoria Azarenka’s fortunes this week. Maria Sharapova won’t be adding anything to her tally – the defending champ was ousted in the first round by home favourite Kimiko Date Krumm a day ahead of the veteran’s 40th birthday.

With world No.1 Serena Williams skipping both this week’s sole WTA event in Tokyo and next week’s Beijing Open as she continues her rehab from foot surgery, top seeds Caroline Wozniacki and Vera Zvonareva are in contention to usurp the American from top spot should they produce a spellbinding fortnight in the Far East.

But with seven of the world’s top ten on hand this week to play interference this week and next, don’t bet on Serena slipping just yet. In fact, should things go her way, she could book her place in Doha without hitting a ball.

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