Ahead of the final Grand Slam of the season at the end of August, the WTA tour returns to Toronto this week at the National Bank Open.
While the world’s top two players are both absent, there is still a stacked field – with seven major champions and newly crowned Olympic bronze medalist Elina Svitolina all in action.
Here’s a rundown of the major names set to compete at this year’s competition:
Andreescu is the defending champion at the Canadian Open after Serena Williams retired in the final back in 2019.
The 21-year-old then followed this up the same year with an emphatic victory over Williams in the US Open to claim her first major title.
This season, Andreescu’s form has been less than stellar. First-round defeats in each of the last two Grand Slams have seen her slip to eighth in the world rankings.
Despite this, the Canadian enjoys playing on hard court surfaces and will have home crowd support in Toronto.
The Belarusian is up to third in the world rankings now, though she suffered a disappointing defeat to Croatia’s Donna Vekic in the second round of the Olympics.
Yet, the 23-year-old did reach the semi-finals of Wimbledon this year and with six career hard court titles to her name, expect Sabalenka to be well in the mix this week.
Gauff missed the Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19, though she has admitted she was almost entirely asymptomatic.
Nonetheless, her last competitive game was over a month ago and the American may well be treating this tournament as match practice more than anything.
The 17-year-old has been in exceptional form this year, however, and has climbed to 24th in the world rankings.
Halep has been struggling with a calf problem for the past few months and missed the French Open, Wimbledon and the Olympics because of this injury.
Her last competitive match was at the Italian Open in May, which has seen her drop from third to 13th in the world rankings.
The Romanian has won this tournament twice though and is more than talented enough to make an immediate return to form.