Former world number one Jelena Jankovic has been announced as one of the players who has committed to playing the Ricoh Open (formerly known as the Topshelf Open) which begins on June 6th. Her best result at this tournament came in 2007 where she finished runner-up to former world number five Anna Chakvetadze of Russia. The tournament became a combined ATP/WTA event in 1996 when the women joined the men who have been playing there since 1990.
German Anke Huber won the inaugural edition of the women's event. The tournament has also seen the likes of Martina Hingis, Mary Pierce, Roberta Vinci and Simona Halep lift the trophy ever since. Other players confirmed to take part in 2016 include world number ten Belinda Bencic and Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens.
Focus on Jankovic
The second-highest ranked Serb definitely did not have the brightest start to 2016. Currently on a 6-9 win-loss record, she has only managed to win back-to-back matches once this year at the BNP Paribas Open where she defeated big hitters Carina Witthoeft and CoCo Vandeweghe before succumbing to world number three Agnieszka Radwanska in the round of 16. As a result of failing to defend runner-up points from last year, her ranking took a dip, dropping six places to 26th. Things did not go better for Jankovic in Miami where she had to retire in her opening match due to a right shoulder injury.
Her other results include two losses on Fed Cup duty to Garbiñe Muguruza and Carla Suárez Navarro and a heart-breaking second round loss to German Laura Siegemund in the second round of the Australian Open, despite being ahead for most of the match. In her first match of the year at the Brisbane International, she fell at the first hurdle to Vinci.
Last year, Jankovic enjoyed her best grass court season since 2007. Compiling a 8-3 record, she won back-to-back matches at all her three tournaments and recorded the landmark upset at the Wimbledon Championships by prevailing over defending champion and world number two Petra Kvitova in the third round in three sets.
She also made the semifinals here in Rosmalen and the round of 16 of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham. Could playing in Rosmalen this year spark the great results that we’ve seen in 2015 once again on her least favorite surface?
2016 grass court season
Similar to 2015, the 2016 grass court season will maintain its newly-extended five-week schedule. The Ricoh Open will be held alongside the Aegon Open Nottingham and followed by the consecutive Premier-level tournaments in Birmingham (Aegon Classic Birmingham) and Eastbourne (Aegon International Eastbourne). A new tournament, the Mallorca Open, also played on grass will be held in the city of Mallorca, Spain in the same week as the Aegon Classic.
Conventionally, the third Grand Slam of the year, the Wimbledon Championships will conclude the grass court swing. Defending champions of each tournament are Ana Konjuh (Nottingham), Camila Giorgi (Rosmalen), Angelique Kerber (Birmingham), Bencic (Eastbourne) and Serena Williams (Wimbledon).