Coral previews Mercedes Cup and Aegon Open grass tennis tournaments
With the clay court season now over, following Stan Wawrinka and Serena Williams’ success at the French Open, tennis’ top players now turn to grass in preparation for Wimbledon.
Top male stars such as Rafael Nadal, Marin Cilic and Gael Monfils will take part in the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart, at a competition that was held on clay for the previous 98 years until 2015.
Meanwhile, high-profile Women players such as Agnieszka Radwanska will take to the Nottingham courts for the Aegon Open – the first WTA event to be held here since 1973.
Men’s event: Mercedes Open
In Germany, Nadal in particular will be looking to push on from disappointment at Roland Garros, as he crashed out in the quarters to eventual runner-up Novak Djokovic, which was only his second ever defeat at the tournament.
The Spaniard is a two-time winner of the Stuttgart Open, although when it was on his favoured clay surface, and will face a potentially tricky tie in the second round. He will meet either 2014 runner-up Lukas Rosol or Marcos Baghdatis, where he will begin his campaign due to earning a bye.
Czech Davis Cup winner Rosol (11/10 for victory) has shocked Nadal before on grass, in the second round at Wimbledon in 2012, and he is up against former top 10 player Baghdatis (odds-on 4/6 favourite) first up.
Another Spaniard to be given a bye is veteran Feliciano Lopez, 33, who is in the form of his life and at his highest ever world ranking of 13. The third seed will face one of Sergiy Stakhovsky (8/11) or Sam Groth (evens).
US Open champion Cilic is up against a qualifier, while talented Frenchman Monfils will take on the winner of Andreas Haider-Maurer (1/3) and wildcard German teenager Maximilian Marterer (9/4).
Elsewhere in the first round, there is an interesting battle between home hope Benjamin Becker (4/5) and Andreas Seppi (10/11), and the likes of Bernard Tomic, Dustin Brown, Jerzy Janowicz, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Viktor Troicki are also in action.
Women’s event: Aegon Open
Female players will take part in this tournament, upgraded from an ITF event, for the first time in over 40 years when Billie Jean King was champion. It takes place two weeks before the Men’s edition here.
Highlighting the event in 2015 is Polish world number 13 Radwanska, who is the top seed in Nottingham. She will face an easy route to the quarters, where she will likely face former world number five Daniela Hantuchova (4/9), who is up against Magda Linette (13/8) first.
British hopes and wildcards Johanna Konta (8/11) and Katy Dunne are also in action, with the former to duel with seventh seed Magdalena Rybarikova (evens).
Other top names to look for include second seed Zarina Diyas (1/3), who faces an interesting first round battle with Francesca Schiavone (9/4), and Alison Riske (3/10), who is up against Zheng Saisai (12/5).