BIRMINGHAM, England/MALLORCA, Spain - The grass court season enters its second week in the coming days as the WTA takes to the lawns at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham and the Mallorca Open in the Balearic Islands.
Comebacks begin and campaigns will commence as the tour's best look to get their preparation for the third Grand Slam of the year off on the right foot.
1) Azarenka arrives in Mallorca
Former World No.1 Victoria Azarenka is returning to competition for the first time since Roland Garros last year following the December birth of her son, Leo. A wildcard into the singles draw, Azarenka will face Risa Ozaki in the first round, and could face No.7 seed Ana Konjuh in the second round.
2) Kerber headlines Birmingham withdrawals...
The Aegon Classic Birmingham has been hit hard by injury withdrawals, with World No.1 Angelique Kerber joining the list of those sidelined on Sunday as she withdrew with a left hamstring injury.
3) ...but a top 10 trio holds strong
Despite the long list of pullouts, three top 10 players are still slated to compete in Birmingham, with World No.5 Elina Svitolina as the top-ranked player in the draw along with Dominika Cibulkova and home favorite Johanna Konta.
4) Shaking up the Brum draw
With Kerber's withdrawal on Sunday after the main draw was made, some shuffling took place. No.3 seed Cibulkova moved to Kerber's place on the top line of the draw and will face Lucie Safarova, while Daria Gavrilova was elevated to the No.9 seeded position.
5) Kvitova returns to Aegon Classic
Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova accepted a wildcard to compete at the Aegon Classic Birmingham as the Czech continues her comeback from a hand injury suffered in a home invasion in December. Following a second round defeat at Roland Garros, Kvitova admitted that she had "no idea" what her grass court tuneup schedule would be as she and her team had to monitor the progress in her hand, but her entry in Birmingham is a good sign.
6) Another Grand Slam finalist returns in Mallorca
Also playing her first match of 2017 in Mallorca is 2013 Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki, who has been sidelined with a shoulder injury to begin the season. The German opens against No.5 seed Kiki Bertens.
7) New champions to be crowned?
At least one of the two events on tap this week will crown a new winner, as defending Birmingham champion Madison Keys withdrew before the event began. In Mallorca, defending champion Caroline Garcia is the No.3 seed, and opens against 2016 semifinalist Jelena Jankovic.
8) Pavlyuchenkova looking to break new ground
Despite reaching the last eight at Wimbledon a season ago and owning 10 career titles, Mallorca Open top seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has never before reached a final on grass on the WTA Tour. The World No.18 will try to do that this week as she opens her quest for her third title of the season against wildcard Sara Sorribes Tormo.
9) Carla comes to home turf
Local favorite Carla Suárez Navarro leads the Spanish contingent in Mallorca - a semifinalist in Birmingham last year, the Spanish No.2 changed it up and is making her debut at the Mallorca Open as the No.4 seed.
10) Anett on the rise
Ricoh Open champion Anett Kontaveit is in the draw in Mallorca as she looks to continue her blistering summer. A deep run in her second grass court event of the season could see the looming Estonian secure a seed at Wimbledon on her own merit - much to the delight of the game's top names.