Emma Raducanu has been drawn to face Polona Hercog of Slovenia within the opening spherical of the Transylvania Open as she makes her return to competitors on the WTA 250 occasion in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
Raducanu, who’s seeded third, will likely be contesting her second event since profitable the US Open after shedding in her first match at Indian Wells to Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus.
She has been drawn in the identical half as the house favorite Simona Halep, the highest seed, whom she might doubtlessly face within the semi-final.
After deciding to not proceed her teaching partnership with Andrew Richardson after her triumph in New York, Raducanu’s seek for a brand new coach continues and he or she will likely be competing in her first match since she began a trial interval with Esteban Carril. The Spaniard beforehand labored with Johanna Konta and performed a pivotal function in her breaking by way of and reaching the highest 10.
As Raducanu appears to safe her first WTA tour win, her draw presents a great alternative to piece collectively some matches in what might be her penultimate occasion of the season. Hercog, a former prime 40 participant who’s ranked 123rd, is most at residence on clay courts and though she possesses a depraved topspin forehand and uncommon really feel on the ball, she has had a mean 12 months on tour. The opposite seed in her part is one other teen born in 2002, Marta Kostyuk, who’s seeded sixth and ranked 53rd.
Cluj can even mark Raducanu’s first skilled event in Romania, her father’s residence nation and the place her grandmother nonetheless lives. Romanian is one in all three languages Raducanu speaks, along with English and Chinese language Mandarin.
She had beforehand expressed her pleasure about competing in entrance of Romanian crowds for the primary time however that chance has been scuppered after the event introduced that it will likely be performed behind closed doorways. This follows a choice from the Romanian authorities to mandate no spectators at sporting occasions from Monday. The event’s capability had already been lowered from 10,000 to 1,500 per day.
Whereas most tournaments around the globe had been held with out spectators for a lot of months after the excursions returned from the pandemic hiatus, Cluj is now a uncommon spectator-free occasion on the calendar.
“We did our very best to be ready with the most secure potential occasion in these particular circumstances, following all the principles and the protection procedures, and we had been assured in our potential to ship it,” mentioned the event organisers. “Now we’re extremely unhappy to not have you ever, our mates, within the stands.”
In the meantime, Ashleigh Barty, the world No 1, won’t defend her WTA Finals title in Guadalajara, Mexico, after deciding to finish her 2021 season, citing the continued quarantine restrictions in Australia. Barty’s withdrawal means Iga Swiatek and Garbiñe Muguruza have certified, becoming a member of Aryna Sabalenka, Barbora Krejcikova, Karolina Pliskova and Maria Sakkari. Paula Badosa, Ons Jabeur and Anett Kontaveit will battle for the ultimate two spots.
“It was a tough determination. However I have to prioritise my physique and my restoration from our 2021 season and deal with having the strongest pre-season for the Australian summer time,” Barty mentioned. “With the continuing challenges of travelling again to Queensland and quarantine necessities, I’m not prepared to compromise my preparation for January.”
On the ATP Tour, Cameron Norrie will compete for the primary time since his victory at Indian Wells when he faces Marton Fucsovics within the first spherical of the Erste Financial institution Open, an ATP 500 event in Vienna, Austria.
Norrie’s victory has catapulted him into competition for the ATP Finals in Turin and this event might be essential. Regardless of rising to a brand new career-high of No 16, Norrie is unseeded in one of many highest high quality males’s attracts of the 12 months. Ought to he win his opening match in opposition to Fucsovics, he might face Felix Auger-Aliassime, who’s seeded sixth, within the second spherical.
A wildcard within the draw, Andy Murray will begin in opposition to one in all Norrie’s largest rivals for the ATP Finals, Hubert Hurkacz, who’s the latest member of the highest 10 and has overwhelmed Murray twice since August.