Farmers Classic and Stanford 2011: Looking Ahead to Next Week's Action

Jack Johnson@johnsonjack91Correspondent IJuly 23, 2011

Fish and Del Potro are the top two seeds at the Farmers Classic
Fish and Del Potro are the top two seeds at the Farmers ClassicAl Bello/Getty Images

Next week's action at the Farmers Classic and Stanford will be a marker for who is heading into the 2011 US Open in good form.

Although it may be too early to predict who can win the final Grand Slam of the year, wins at these tournaments will help single out early favourites.

As a landmark tournament in Southern California, the Farmers Classic offers a strong field. Mardy Fish, Juan Martin Del Potro, Marcos Baghdatis and Thomaz Belluci all take to the hard court.

Fish heads into the tournament in good form. The World No. 9 is currently in the semifinals in Atlanta and plays Gilles Muller for a place in the final.

Del Potro will be the one to watch as he plays at the tournament for the first time since 2008. That year he was victorious, beating Andy Roddick in the final.

The WTA play at Stanford where an even tougher field is in store.

Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova, Marion Bartoli, Sam Stosur, Serena Williams and Ana Ivanovic are all in the draw.

It will be interesting to see how Sharapova has recovered from her loss in the Wimbledon final. The Russian has not played a  tournament since and will face strong competition from top seed Azarenka and Bartoli.

Williams will see Stanford as an opportunity to progress with her rehabilitation. Although she played Eastbourne and Wimbledon, this is the first tournament where she could have a realistic chance of winning.

Ivanovic, on the other hand will have a chance to impress her new coach, Nigel Sears, while Sam Stosur will be looking to end her recent poor run of form.