Hamburg | Preview: WTA and ATP combine at European Open

Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina has withdrawn from next week’s Hamburg European Open, leaving Anett Kontaveit, the World No 2, to lead the field at the WTA 250 clay court event.

My team and I have the tradition that I don’t look at the draw and they always tell me the outcome afterwards. I heard that I have a qualifier. For sure I want to win the tournament. That’s why I am here. But it’s going to be difficult as the tournament is packed with many good players. I am looking forward to next week. Barbora Krejcikova

The tournament has also suffered the loss of 2022 Australian Open runner-up Danielle Collins, Qinwen Zheng, Clara Tauson, Anhelina Kalinina and Marta Kostyuk, who have also withdrawn ahead of the start on Sunday.

The Hamburg Open 2022 brings the final ATP 500 clay court event of the 2022 season and the penultimate week of European clay competition on the WTA tour before the North American hard court swing in the build-up to the US Open.

For the first time, the Hamburg Open will stage a combined men’s and women’s event, with the men’s tournament a 500 level event and the women’s a 250 level affair.

Kontaveit had a red-hot season last year and continued that form at the start of the 2022 before contracting COVID-19 in April, and she has not won back-to-back matches in her last 4 tournaments.

The Estonian has taken one last wild-card to compete in the Hamburg Open, and will also participate in the Prague Open the week after, seeking match wins to defend a ton of ranking points in the coming months.

Russia’s Daria Kasatkina, ranked 12 and a Roland Garros 2022 semi-finalist, is the No 2 seed in Hamburg, while Czech Barbora Krejcikova is seeded 3 and Aliaksandra Sasnovich, another Russian, is 4th seed.

The WTA main draw begins on Sunday  and culminate in the women’s final on Saturday 23 July, while the men’s main draw kicks off and finishes a day later, beginning Monday and ending with the men’s final on Sunday 24 July.

Both events have a draw of 32, with 8 seeds and no byes.

Despite the withdrawals, the women’s draw still boasts plenty of top talent, as Elena-Gabriela Ruse of Romania returns to defend her 2021 title, while the player she beat in last year’s final, Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, will look to claim the title herself in 2022.

Another German star in young talent and Wimbledon quarter-finalist Jule Niemeier joins the field too.

Among the men, two-time Masters 1000 champion Carlos Alcaraz comes in as the top seed in his first competition since Wimbledon, while World No 8 and Hamburg Open 2020 champion Andrey Rublev from Russia is the 2nd seed, Argentine Diego Schwartzman seeded 3 and Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta as No 4 and the defending champion.

Gael Monfils returns to ATP action after injury, and two-time Hamburg Open champion Nikoloz Basilashvili will hope to make it 3 crowns in the German city, as Roland Garros quarter-finalist Holger Rune makes his tournament debut, hoping to put a l4-match loss streak behind him.

The event takes place at the Tennisstadion Am Rothenbaum in Hamburg, Germany on outdoor clay courts and can be viewed on Amazon Prime Video for women’s matches, while the men’s matches can be watched via the ATP subscription service, TennisTV.

Anett Kontaveit took a wild-card to compete in Hamburg and the World No 2 is the top seed there

Top seed Anett Kontaveit begins her Hamburg European Open campaign against Irina Bara of Romania as she bids for her first WTA clay-court title.

Kasatkina will face Czech Katerina Siniakova in the first round, while Krejcikova takes on a qualifier.

“My team and I have the tradition that I don’t look at the draw and they always tell me the outcome afterwards,” explained Krejcikova, who left the terrace while the women’s draw was taking place. “I heard that I have a qualifier.

“For sure I want to win the tournament. That’s why I am here. But it’s going to be difficult as the tournament is packed with many good players. I am looking forward to next week.”

Sasnovich, the World No 36 will play German wild-card entry Nastasja Schunk in her first round match.

Carlos Alcaraz, seen here at Wimbledon, is the men's top seed in Hamburg

Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

On the men’s side, World No 6 Alcaraz makes his debut against German wild-card entry Nicola Kuhn in the first round, while Rublev leads the bottom half of the draw and takes on Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan.

Borna Coric, Jan-Lennard Struff and Daniel Altmaier attended the draw ceremony presented by Grossmann & Berger, which took place on a rooftop next to the ‘Deutschland Haus’ at Hamburg’s Gänsemarkt.

In his first appearance in the Free and Hanseatic City since 2015, Coric will play Serbia’s Laslo Djere in the opening round.

“I am very happy to be here after a long time,” the 25-year-old Croatian said. “We met in Rome in a tough match. I know him very well and it is going to be a fun match.”

Altmaier leads the German contingent and faces in-form Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina.

“I am happy to be back in Hamburg. It is such a great city and the tournament is fantastic,” Altmaier, a 23-year-old Kempen native, said. “It will be interesting to face Francisco, as we share the same fitness coach for the next three weeks. I am looking forward to the match.”

Struff will play No 7 seed Karen Khachanov, while Schwartzman starts his title bid against Emil Ruusuvuori from Finland and defending champion Carreno Busta takes on a qualifier.

Pablo Carreno Busta is the men's defending champion in Hamburg

© Alexander Scheuber/Getty Images for matchmakers



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