What's at Stake: Races to Singapore, WTA No. 1 are on at Wuhan Open

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Garbine Muguruza reached No. 1 for the first time after the US Open. Will she hold onto it for the rest of the season? (Getty)

While the men have spent the last two weekends teaming up for Davis Cup and Laver Cup, the women have been busy getting a jump on the month-long Asian swing that closes out their season. It hasn’t taken them long to make news. On Sunday, Caroline Wozniacki finally won a tournament in 2017, in Tokyo, even as the two US Open finalists, Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys, crashed out in the opening round of this week’s big-money event in Wuhan.

Fortunately, the Americans weren’t the only bold-faced names in the Wuhan draw. Here’s a look at what’s at stake in that well-stocked tournament, as well as at the week’s other three events:

Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open (WTA)
Wuhan, China
$2,365,250; Premier 5
Hard court
Draw is here

Two years ago, there didn’t seem to be room for another fully-loaded, $2.4 million, Premier 5 draw in the middle of the WTA’s already-jammed fall schedule. But Wuhan’s organizers and sponsors wedged their way in, and the tour’s elite players have followed them to the hometown of Li Na. Eight of the Top 10, including Garbiñe Muguruza, Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova, Wozniacki, Johanna Konta and Jelena Ostapenko, were in the Wuhan draw to start.

How many will remain by, say, Wednesday? As Keys and Stephens showed in their straight-set defeats, it can take a little while for the players to get their fall-season legs under them. But there will be benefits to anyone who can. The race to the year-end event in Singapore, and the race for the year-end No. 1 ranking, are very much on here. Muguruza, Halep, Pliskova, and Wozniacki are all within striking distance of the top spot.

Second-round matches to watch: Halep vs. Daria Kasatkina; Pliskova vs. Shuai Zhang; Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Julia Goerges

Tashkent Open (WTA)
Tashkent, Uzbekistan
$226,750; International
Hard court
Draw is here

Tashkent can’t compete with Wuhan for prize money, or for players. There are two million fewer dollars on the line, and no one in the Top 40 to compete for them; 41st-ranked Kristyna—not her twin, Karolina—Pliskova is the top seed, followed by 52nd-ranked Timea Babos.

More interesting, perhaps, is the fate of a qualifier, Vera Zvonareva. The 33-year-old Russian, a former Wimbledon finalist and new mother, is in the midst of a comeback after getting married and having her first child last year. She won her first-round match over No. 4 seed Irina-Camelia Begu.

Shenzhen Open (ATP)
Shenzhen, China
$666,690; 250 ranking points
Draw is here

The men start to play catch-up with the women in Asia this week, as a few of the top players make their way across the globe for two tune-up events in China. Alexander Zverev, fresh off his winning efforts in Laver Cup in Prague this weekend, is the top seed in this 28-player draw in Shenzhen. After that flight, will he be ready for Steve Darcis in his opener—or, perhaps, for his brother, Mischa, if they meet in the semifinals?

Also here: No. 2 seed David Goffin and No. 6 seed Damir Dzumhur, who is coming off his first ATP title run, in St. Petersburg.

Chengdu Open (ATP)
Chengdu, China
$1,138,910; 250 ranking points
Draw is here

Fly to China after Laver Cup to play a 250? Not a problem for the hardest working—or overworking—man in tennis, Dominic Thiem. The Austrian is the top seed in a Chengdu draw that’s heavy on his fellow young gunners. Borna Coric, Andrey Rublev, Taylor Fritz, Kyle Edmund, Mikael Ymer, Karen Khachanov and Jared Donaldson are all present and accounted for. It should be especially interesting to see how the 19-year-old Rublev, who was the surprise breakout performer of the US Open, fairs the rest of this season.

Also here: Peter Gojowczyk, who won his first title this weekend in Metz.

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