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Back To Clay: Palermo & Budapest

The WTA switches from grass back to clay for a few weeks now, with International-level clay court tournaments in Palermo, Italy and Budapest, Hungary taking place this week coming up.

Published July 07, 2013 12:00

Back To Clay: Palermo & Budapest
Sara Errani, Monica Puig

PALERMO, Italy & BUDAPEST, Hungary - The WTA switches from grass back to clay for a few weeks now, with International-level stops in Palermo, Italy and Budapest, Hungary this week.

A phenomenal field has assembled in Palermo for the XXVI Italiacom Open, headlined by Italy's No.1 player, Sara Errani, who is coming off a shock first round upset at Wimbledon to Monica Puig.

Errani, who is currently ranked No.5 but will slip slightly to No.6 on Monday, was shocked by the Puerto Rican teenager in a first rounder two weeks ago, continuing a really hot and cold pattern of Grand Slam performances - over the last 12 months she has made the semifinals of two Grand Slams (US Open and French Open) but has fallen first round at the other two (Australian Open and Wimbledon).

"Monica played a very good match - she wasn't making any mistakes, and she was hitting the ball very well - but for me it's tough to play on grass," Errani said that day. "Normally it's always tough for me to move on this surface. This is a very important tournament, but it's a very difficult one for me.

"I tried, but I couldn't do it today. She played a very good match, so I have to say well done."

Errani won't have any trouble getting used to this week's surface - she has won six of her seven WTA titles on clay and she made her first Grand Slam final on the stuff too, at Roland Garros last year.

Seeded No.1, the Italian is joined by No.11-ranked countrywoman and best friend Roberta Vinci as the No.2 seed, with Kristina Mladenovic, Klara Zakopalova, Lourdes Domínguez Lino, Irina-Camelia Begu, Sílvia Soler-Espinosa and Karolina Pliskova rounding out the Top 8 seeds at the tournament. Former Top 10 player Flavia Pennetta and former Top 20 player Anabel Medina Garrigues are also in there.

Speaking of former top players, Lucie Safarova and Alizé Cornet - who have both been ranked in the Top 20 before - highlight the field at the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest. Safarova, who has been ranked as high as No.17 in the world, and Cornet, a former World No.11, are the Top 2 seeds.

Rounding out the Top 8 seeds there are recent back-to-back WTA champion Simona Halep, Annika Beck, Johanna Larsson, Chanelle Scheepers, María-Teresa Torró-Flor and Anna Tatishvili. Another former World No.11, Shahar Peer, is lurking among the unseeded contingent in the Hungarian capital.

The two week summer clay court swing will conclude the next week with another pair of International-level tournaments in Bastad and Bad Gastein, before the transition to the summer hardcourt season.

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