The 2019 Tianjin Open in China and Linz Open in Austria are both set to begin on October 7. The stakes are higher than usual, with the race to Shenzhen for the WTA Finals heating up. The second week of October will determine who qualifies for the Finals event, with four spots still open.
The Tianjin Open and Linz Open are both categorised under the WTA International tournaments, meaning both events will offer up 280 WTA ranking points to the winner. These are absolutely vital points seeing as the race to Shenzhen is pretty close.
The Tianjin Open will see the strongest turnout of players this time around, with five Grand Slam champions competing in the event. World No. 4 Naomi Osaka will be joined by seven-time Slam winner Venus Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Sloane Stephens.
Garbine Muguruza has withdrawn from the tournament while Caroline Garcia who won the title last year, beating Karolina Pliskova will also return for the competition.
Osaka is coming off a good form, having won the event in Osaka just a couple of weeks back and at the time of writing, in the quarter-finals of the China Open. Having won the Australian Open title earlier, she would like to finish off on a high by making it to the WTA Finals. Victoria Azarenka is struggling to win her singles matches losing in the first round of the US Open, and has not played anywhere since. She is not in line to qualify for the Finals though; she currently sits at 50 in the world rankings. But she is always a threat to reckon.
Venus too is not coming into the event in the best of forms. She lost her first round of the Wuhan Open at the end of last month, while also losing out in the US Open in the second round to Elina Svitolina.
The Linz Open will take place in Austria simultaneously with the Tianjin Open. Petra Kvitova will be participating in the event, as confirmed by the tournament director Sandra Reichel. Kvitova has previously played in this event and even won the title in 2011 and returns as the No. 1 seed and the favourite in the event.
While Maria Sharapova too had registered for this tournament, she has since pulled out of it due to Injury concerns to her shoulder. Even though Sharapova’s withdrawal is a letdown, the event will still feature eight of the top 32 players in the world.
Coco Gauff, the 15-year-old American who made ripples in the tennis world is also set to play the qualifiers for the main draw of the Linz Open. Having already had three wildcards this season, she is not eligible for another one.
The tournament was won by Camila Giorgi of Italy last year, and she is coming back to defend her title again this year. She will also be joined by Belinda Bencic, who is the second seed. Bencic has had an excellent year and while she lost to Kvitova at the China Open, she will also be gunning for a jump in her WTA rankings going into the season-end.
Anastasija Sevastova, Donna Vekic and Danille Collins are some of the other players in action in Linz.
The Linz Open too will offer 280 WTA ranking points to the winner, making it an important event leading up to the Finals in Shenzhen.