The final Grand Slam of the year, the US Open, is done and dusted. After bidding adieu to the glitz and glamor of New York, the women's tour now heads to Europe once again, where this week's WTA 250 event, the Luxembourg Open, is scheduled.
With a strong field comprising a host of stars across singles and doubles, the 25th edition of the BGL Luxembourg Open is taking place after an absence of one year. The tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Reigning gold medalist Belinda Bencic, Belgium's Elise Mertens and former French Open winner (as well as defending Luxembourg Open champion) Jelena Ostapenko are the top three seeded players. Ekaterina Alexandrova, Tokyo silver medalist Marketa Vondrousova, Liudmila Samsonova, Zhang Shuai and Alize Cornet are the next seeded players.
With the main draw action starting on Monday, here's a look at the how the tournament could play out over the next week.
Top half: Belinda Bencic and Jelena Ostapenko look to start the tail end of the season on a good note
Top seeds - (1) Belinda Bencic, (3) Jelena Ostapenko, (7) Liudmila Samsonova and (8) Alize Cornet
Expected semifinal: Belinda Bencic vs Jelena Ostapenko
Analysis: Belinda Bencic looked high on confidence after winning the gold medal at this year's Olympics and progressing to the US Open quarterfinals without dropping a set. However, she ended up losing to eventual champion Emma Raducanu rather meekly.
Here at the Luxembourg Open, after an opening round bye, Bencic will start her campaign against either Zarina Diyas or Anna Karolina Schmiedlova. Both Diyas and Schmiedlova are capable players, but may not be able to cause an upset here.
Bencic's quarterfinal opponent is expected to be Luidmila Samsonova. The Swiss was beaten by Samsonova in the Berlin final a couple of months ago, and would be hoping to exact revenge here.
Meanwhile defending champion Jelena Ostapenko, who ended up withdrawing from the US Open, will start her title defense at the Luxembourg Open against qualifier Julie Niemeier. She should be expected to progress to the second round, where she could meet either wildcard Anna-Lena Friedsam or qualifier Arianne Hartono.
Awaiting Ostapenko in the quarterfinals is likely to be Alize Cornet, who beat Anastasia Potapova in her first-round match on Monday.
Predicted semifinal: Belinda Bencic def. Jelena Ostapenko
Bottom half: Elise Mertens looks for another successful outing
Top seeds - (2) Elise Mertens, (4) Ekaterina Alexandrova, (5) Marketa Vondrousova and (6) Zhang Shuai.
Expected semifinal: Elise Mertens vs Ekaterina Alexandrova
Analysis: The bottom half of the Luxembourg Open draw is headed by Elise Mertens. After an opening-round bye, Mertens is set to play the winner of the match between Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Lesia Tsurenko.
The Belgian's quarterfinal opponent could possibly be Tokyo silver medalist Marketa Vondrousova.
After an early defeat at the US Open, Vondrousova will be looking to bounce back with a strong run in Luxembourg. Her first-round match, against Alison van Uytvanck, could be close, as the latter is known to cause an upset from time to time.
Should Vondrousova win that one, she will go up against qualifier Jana Fett, who beat another qualifier Ekaterina Makarova on Monday.
US Open doubles winner Zhang Shuai, meanwhile, plays Marie Bouzkova in her opening round match. Bouzkova could spring a surprise though, as Zhang is likely to be tired after her victorious doubles run in New York.
Ekaterina Alexandrova, who is having a rather subpar season, is the next highest seed here and she beat Stefanie Vogele in the first round. Alexandrova's next opponent is rising teen phenom Clara Tauson, with a victory in that match potentially setting up a quarterfinal against Bouzkova.
Predicted semifinal: Elise Mertens def. Marie Bouzkova
Elise Mertens def. Belinda Bencic