CARLSBAD & WASHINGTON DC, USA - Four Top 10 players - as well as a slew of former Top 10 players and Grand Slam champions - will be in action this week in Carlsbad and Washington DC.
The Premier-level Southern California Open in Carlsbad will host three of those Top 10 players, with Victoria Azarenka, Agnieszka Radwanska and Petra Kvitova fronting an all-star line-up at the beautiful La Costa Resort & Spa. Most eyes will be on Azarenka, though, as the World No.3 is playing her first tournament since a right knee injury forced her to pull out mid-tournament at Wimbledon last month.
Rounding out the Top 8 seeds are Roberta Vinci, Samantha Stosur, Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic and Carla Suárez Navarro. Four former Top 10 players are among the unseeded contingent, with three of them - Daniela Hantuchova, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Francesca Schiavone - formerly Top 5.
And Carlsbad will also be the stage for the doubles comeback of Martina Hingis, a former World No.1 in both singles and doubles who will make her return to the team discipline alongside Hantuchova.
The other Top 10 player in action this week will be on the other end of the country, as Angelique Kerber headlines the Citi Open draw in Washington DC. Kerber is also playing for the first time in a while - this will be her first tournament since suffering a second round loss to Kaia Kanepi at Wimbledon.
Kerber's toughest challenge could come from Sloane Stephens, the newest member of the Top 15 and the No.2 seed this week. After a little bit of a lull in the spring, Stephens has been showing the form she showed during Australia over the last few months, winning 11 of her last 15 matches and actually doing much better than Kerber at Wimbledon - the American made it all the way to the quarterfinals.
This is the second of five weeks in the Emirates Airline US Open Series, and the only week where there are two tournaments counting towards the overall standings - Week 1 was Stanford, Week 2 is Carlsbad and Washington DC, Week 3 is Toronto, Week 4 is Cincinnati and Week 5 is New Haven.