BRUSSELS, Belgium & STRASBOURG, France - Final preparations for the French Open take to the clay of Brussels and Strasbourg this coming week, with five of the Top 20 players in the world in action.
World No.10 Caroline Wozniacki leads the field at the third annual Brussels Open, and she's looking to break out of a clay court slump - she has fallen first round at all three of the European clay court tournaments she has played so far this year, at Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome. She should already have some momentum in Brussels though, having won the title in her only previous attempt in 2011.
World No.13 Marion Bartoli is the headliner at the Internationaux de Strasbourg, which is currently celebrating an amazing 27th year on the WTA calendar. And they couldn't have a better top seed - Bartoli has been France's No.1 player for years, going as high as No.7 in the world last year, and has proven herself on clay as well, making it all the way to the semifinals of the French Open two years ago. She is returning from an ankle injury that forced her to withdraw from Rome last week.
The doubles draws are also packed, with Sania Mirza and Zheng Jie the top seeds in Brussels and Hantuchova and Lucie Hradecka the top seeds in Strasbourg. A trio of former No.1 doubles players - Liezel Huber, Kveta Peschke and Cara Black - are also sprinkled around the doubles draws this week.
There are also some noteworthy comebacks taking place this week. Elena Baltacha recently returned to action from an eight month foot injury lay-off to play some ITF Women's Circuit events, and she now plays her first WTA-level event since last July's Olympics when she plays in Brussels; over in Strasbourg, Petra Cetkovska - who went as high as No.25 in the world last summer - plays her first tournament of the year, having missed the first four and a half months due to her own foot injury.