Aussies in action in Asian capitals
On either side of the Korean Peninsula, a host of Aussies will take to courts this week in Beijing, China and Tokyo, Japan.
With the Asian circuit in full swing, several Aussies will this week attempt to capitalise on the big points and prize money available at prestigious stops in China and Japan.
At the China Open in Beijing, Sam Stosur and Daria Gavrilova fly the Aussie flag at the WTA’s final $4.5 million Premier Mandatory event of the season.
Stosur opens against Monica Niculescu while Gavrilova faces qualifier Irina Falconi.
Although both are winnable matches, the going gets tougher in round two; a win for Gavrilova would put her up against No.5 seed Garbine Muguruza, while Stosur would face the winner of the match between 13th seed Andrea Petkovic and Eugenie Bouchard.
Ajla Tomljanovic stood one win from the main draw only for a shoulder injury to prove her undoing in the final round of qualifying.
Another Aussie, Casey Dellacqua, was a wildcard into the main draw yet fell 6-4 6-0 to Ana Ivanovic on Saturday.
In the concurrent men’s event – an ATP 500 tournament – Australian John Millman needs one more victory to take his place in the main draw after beating compatriot James Duckworth on Saturday.
China’s Yan Bai is his next opponent.
Across in Tokyo, Aussie trio Bernard Tomic, Nick Kyrgios and Sam Groth have all been drawn against unseeded opponents at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships.
Tomic, the highest-ranked of the three, opens against Steve Johnson for a likely shot against No.7 seed Marin Cilic, while Kyrgios lines up against Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
Fourth seed Richard Gasquet, who in 2015 ousted Kyrgios in the Estoril final and at Wimbledon, looms as a potential second-round opponent.
Should Groth get past Jeremy Chardy, No.5 seed Kevin Anderson is his expected second-round foe.