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Week in Preview: Can anyone build 11th-hour momentum before Melbourne?

Week in Preview: Can anyone build 11th-hour momentum before Melbourne?

The combined event in Adelaide sports a strong lineup that includes WTA world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, reigning Wimbledon women's champion Simona Halep and the in-form Andrey Rublev.

After a frenetic first week, the action quiets over the next seven days, as most of the game’s big names turn their attention to the Australian Open. But others have chosen to keep competing right up until the opening bell in Melbourne. Here’s a look at this week’s four tournaments, and who might be able to build some 11th-hour momentum at them.


Adelaide International (WTA)

Adelaide, Australia

$848,000; Premier

Hard court

Draw is here

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It’s time for a restart for Ashleigh Barty. Last week, the WTA’s No. 1 player was ambushed in her opener in Brisbane by Jennifer Brady. Can the Aussie native right the ship before she heads for her home Slam? A win in Adelaide would be well-earned. Barty will be the top seed in a draw that features Simona Halep, who will make her 2020 debut, Belinda Bencic, Kiki Bertens, Aryna Sabalenka, Sofia Kenin, and 2019 French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova, who is returning from wrist surgery and will play her first tournament since Wimbledon.

First-round matches to watch:

Anett Kontaveit vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Bencic vs. Daria Kasatkina

Sabalenka vs. Su-Wei Hsieh

Wang Qiang vs. Angelique Kerber


Adelaide International (ATP)

Adelaide, Australia

$610,000; 250 ranking points

Hard court

Draw is here

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With the Big 3 away, the Next Gen comes out to play—and scoop up as many dollars and ranking points as possible while they have the chance. The top three seeds in Adelaide are all up-and-comers: Alex De Minaur*, Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Andrey Rublev. Of those three, De Minaur and Rublev will look to build on their fast starts last week: Rublev won the title in Doha, while De Minaur acquitted himself well in the ATP Cup for Australia. Auger-Aliassime, meanwhile, will try to put his opening week behind him. The Canadian lost three of his four ATP Cup matches, all in straight sets, all to lower-ranked opponents.

*De Minaur later withdrew due to a re-aggravation of an ab injury.


ASB Classic (ATP)

Auckland, New Zealand

$610,000; 250 ranking points

Hard court

Draw is here

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As Serena Williams and the rest of the women make their exits from Auckland, the men arrive for the ATP’s version of the ASB Classic. Foremost among them are the top four seeds: Fabio Fognini, Denis Shapovalov, Karen Khachanov, and John Isner.

Also here: 22-year-old Hubert Hurkacz of Poland, who beat Dominic Thiem in ATP Cup last week, and looks like he could be set for a breakthrough year in 2020.


Hobart International (WTA)

Hobart, Australia

$275,000; International

Hard court

Draw is here

Getty Images

Rounding out the last week before the Aussie open is this International-level event. Elise Mertens is the top seed, and Garbiñe Muguruza, a wild card, is No. 2.

On the mend: CiCi Bellis. After enduring four surgeries in 2019, on her wrist, arm, and elbow, the American—who is still only 20—is back on tour, and playing her second tournament. She’ll start against Marie Bouzkova.