Every week on wtatennis.com we'll bring you 10 of the most important things to know - who's playing, upcoming milestones and more... this week the Road To Singapore goes through Cincinnati.
1) Serena is the favorite - but she's never won here.
Serena Williams, the No.1 seed this week, has won WTA titles in eight different cities across North America - Indian Wells, Los Angeles, New York City, Toronto, Scottsdale, Miami, Charleston, Stanford - but she's never won in Cincinnati. She came so close last year to adding Cincy to that list, coming within two points of winning the final against Victoria Azarenka, but she came up just short.
2) Azarenka is trying to win her first WTA title since right here last year.
It has been a difficult last 12 months for Azarenka - well, last 11 months - she finished last year's summer hardcourt season up in fine form, winning Cincinnati and reaching the final of the US Open. But since the US Open last year she's just 9-10, hampered in particular by a foot injury that kept her out most of the first half of 2014. Can the former No.1 rekindle her WTA title-winning magic this week?
3) Halep is back, and she's No.2 in the world.
WTA Rising Star Simona Halep is back in action after a few weeks off, and even though she hasn't played in a few weeks, because Li Na's points from last summer are dropping off - and she's out of the rest of the summer hardcourt season with a knee injury - Halep goes from No.3 to No.2 on the WTA Rankings this week, the latest step in her impressively fast ascension over the last year and a half.
4) Radwanska and Venus hope to keep their good form from Montréal going.
Agnieszka Radwanska and Venus Williams battled through some rough terrain to be the last two standing in Montréal, and they'll both try and keep that momentum going in Cincinnati, though for one there's a little bit of a reprieve - Radwanska is the No.4 seed this week and will get a first round bye.
Williams, meanwhile, will begin against a seed - No.16 seed Lucie Safarova, to be exact. And though Williams leads Safarova in their head-to-head, 4-0, she did face match point at Roland Garros.
5) This is the second of two massive back-to-back stops in the Road To Singapore.
A whopping 900 points go to the winners of both the Rogers Cup in Montréal and Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. As an indication of how big these two weeks are, only 18 players have accumulated more than 1800 points on the Road To Singapore leaderboard for the entire season as of now.
6) The Emirates Airline US Open Series continues in Cincinnati this week.
The Emirates Airline US Open Series is a journey linking up the four Premier-level summer hardcourt events leading up to the US Open - Stanford, Montréal, Cincinnati and New Haven. Players who perform the best during the lead-up are eligible for bonus payouts at the big one - the US Open.
7) For the second straight week, all of the top doubles teams are in action.
The Road To Singapore heats up in doubles as well, as all of the best teams in the world are in action, led by Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, who just won their fifth WTA doubles title of the year in Montréal. French Open champions Hsieh Su-Wei and Peng Shuai are the No.2 seeds, Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik are the No.3 seeds and Cara Black and Sania Mirza are the No.4 seeds.
8) WTA Trivia: The Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati made its debut on the WTA calendar back in 2004. Only one player who was in the main draw in 2004 is in the main draw in 2014. Who is it?
9) WTA Live All Access Hour presented by Xerox is in Cincy on Monday - watch it here!
10) Find out where you can watch live action from Cincinnati at WTA TV developed by Xerox.