Matteo Berrettini headlining the ground in Rio de Janeiro; Action in Delray Beach, Doha and Marseille | ATP tour
In an action-packed week on the ATP Tour, you’ll need to stay alert with four tournaments taking place on four different continents.
Matteo Berrettini will make his debut at the Rio Open presented by Claro, an ATP 500 event, while Cameron Norrie will lead the field at the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com, a hard-court ATP 250 tournament.
Canadian Denis Shapovalov is the top seed at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, an ATP 250 held in Doha and Stefanos Tsitsipas will be aiming to improve his good record at the Open 13 Provence, an ATP 250 in Marseille.
ATPTour.com provides five things to look out for at every event.
See the prints: Rio de Janeiro | Delray Beach | Doha | Marseilles
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN RIO DE JANEIRO:
1) Berrettini makes his debut: Italy’s Berrettini has won three of his five clay-court level titles but will grace the surface in Rio de Janeiro for the first time this week. The 25-year-old is the top seed at the event and will be competing for the first time since reaching the Australian Open semi-finals in January. The world No. 6 will start his title run against Brazilian wild card Thiago Monteiro or a qualifier.
2) Clay stars Garin and Ruud in action: On the clay side, Cristian Garin and Casper Ruud are at home. The ATP stars have 10 tour-level clay trophies between them, with Garin triumphing in Rio de Janeiro in 2020. Ruud, whose best result in Rio de Janeiro was a run to the semi-finals in 2017, will play Francisco Cerundolo or Benoit Pair. Garin is the fifth seed and opens against Federico Coria.
3) Schwartzman bids for Rio’s second title: Diego Schwartzman has fond memories in Rio de Janeiro, having won his second tour-level crown at the ATP 500 event in 2018. The four-time ATP Tour champion will be competing in his third clay-court tournament of the season, having played at home in Cordoba and Buenos Aires earlier this month.
4) Danger of Alcaraz: #NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz had a stellar 2021 season, rising from outside the Top 100 to No. 32 as he won his maiden tour-level title at Umag. The 18-year-old showed his potential again at the Australian Open in January, when he pushed Berrettini to a fifth-set tie-break. Rio de Janeiro holds special memories for Alcaraz as it is the city where he scored his first tour-level win against Albert Ramos-Vinolas in 2020. Alcaraz is the seventh seed and opens against Jaume Munar.
5) Double starry field: The top three seeded pairs in doubles – seeds Marcel Granollers/Horacio Zeballos, second seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah and third seeds Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares – all competed in the last year’s Nitto ATP final. Granollers and Zeballos won in Rio de Janeiro in 2020 and Cabal and Farah lifted the trophy in 2014 and 2016.
FOLLOW THIS WEEK’S ACTION
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH AT DELRAY BEACH:
1) Norrie Top Seed: Cameron Norrie arrives in Delray Beach after a run to the quarter-finals in Rotterdam, where he picked up thrilling wins over Ugo Humbert and Karen Khachanov. The 26-year-old, who reached the semi-finals in Delray Beach last season, opens against Oscar Otte or Yoshihito Nishioka.
2) Return of former champions: Great servers Kevin Anderson and Reilly Opelka have fond memories at the ATP 250, having lifted the trophy at the tournament in 2012 and 2020, respectively. Anderson will make his ninth appearance and start against Steve Johnson, while second-seeded American Opelka will face Jack Sock or Germany’s Daniel Altmaier in his opener.
3) Strong American field: Home fans will have plenty of players to cheer on at this week’s ATP 250 in Delray Beach, with nine Americans (non-qualifiers) in the main draw.
Sebastian Korda, 21, reached the hard-court tournament final last season, while world number 54 Jenson Brooksby has had a stellar 2021 season and will look to build on it on his ATP 250 debut. #NextGenATP 2020 Delray Beach quarter-finalist Brandon Nakashima is another exciting talent to watch.
Maxime Cressy, Marcos Giron, Johnson, Denis Kudla, Tennys Sandgren and Sock are also in the game, alongside Opelka.
4) Can Kokkinakis build on an impressive start to 2022? Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis flourished in January, picking up his first home tour-level title at the Adelaide International 2, before teaming up with compatriot Nick Kyrgios to claim the Open men’s doubles crown from Australia to Melbourne.
The 25-year-old, who is 8-2 this season in singles action, hopes he can maintain his strong form in Florida. But he faces a tricky opening test against fifth seed Korda.
5) Dimitrov receives a Wild Card: Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov had a strong end to last season, reaching the tour-level semifinals on American soil in San Diego and Indian Wells. However, the former world No.3’s year has yet to spark fire, with the 30-year-old holding a 3-2 record in 2022.
After receiving a wild card for the event, Dimitrov hopes a return to America will bring out his best form once again. The third seed faces Jordan Thompson or a qualifier in his opener.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR IN DOHA:
1) Shapovalov leads the pack: Denis Shapovalov arrives in Doha as the top seed in only his second appearance at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open.
After a great start to 2022 that saw the 22-year-old help Canada win the ATP Cup title, Shapovalov suffered a shock first-round loss to Jiri Lehecka in Rotterdam last week. But the world number 12 will hope that was just a blow as he tries to improve his quarter-final run in Doha in 2021. Shapovalov will start his campaign against either Alex Molcan or qualifier Christopher O’Connell.
2) Can Bublik add to the trophy collection? After defeats in his first four ATP Tour finals, Alexander Bublik clinched his maiden title in Montpellier two weeks ago, claiming the trophy with the best win of his career against world number 3 Alexander Zverev. The hunt for the 24-year-old now brings him to Doha for the third consecutive year, where he hopes to pass the second round for the first time. His first-round assignment is a matchup against qualifier Jozef Kovalik.
3) Bautista Agut & Evans seek to go further: Roberto Bautista Agut seems to enjoy the desert conditions. The second seed won the title in 2018 and reached the final on his next trip to Qatar in 2021. With a 9-2 record at the tournament, the Spaniard will go with confidence against wild card Andy Murray or the Japanese Taro Daniel.
By contrast, fourth seed Daniel Evans has only one main draw win to his name in Doha, but the 31-year-old Briton comes on the heels of a positive start to 2022 that includes three ATP Cup singles wins and a semi-final. -final race in Sydney. Evans will face Egor Gerasimov in the first round.
4) Defending Champion Basilashvili: Nikoloz Basilashvili holds a 0-5 record so far in 2022, so the Georgian will be happy to return to a tournament where he has fond memories.
The 29-year-old beat Roberto Bautista Agut in the Qatar ExxonMobil Open final last year for the fourth ATP title of his career, going on to claim five in Munich later in the season. The third seed will attempt to kick off his season against #NextGenATP Lorenzo Musetti or a qualifier.
5) Duplicate Mektic/Pavic Top Seeds: Top-ranked couple Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic are the top seeds in the doubles and will be aiming to claim their first trophy of the season at tour level, having triumphed nine times last season together. The Croatians are joined by second seeds Ivan Dodig and Michael Venus. Melbourne Summer Set and Adelaide International 2 champions Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski are the third seeds.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN MARSEILLE
1) Tsitsipas aims for a third title: Stefanos Tsitsipas has played his best tennis in Marseille in recent years, winning the title in 2019 and 2020 at the ATP 250 event. last, started against Hugo Gaston or Corentin Moutet.
2) Russian threat: With three Russians in the Top 20 of the ATP rankings, it has become customary for the country’s players to go further in tour-level tournaments. This week in Marseille, Andrey Rublev and Aslan Karatsev will lead the charge. Rublev, 24, qualified for the quarter-finals in the south of France in 2019, while Karatsev will make his debut.
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The second seed Rublev will face Sweden’s Mikael Ymer or Richard Gasquet, 35, in his first game. Karatsev will be aiming to snap his three-game losing streak against #NextGenATP Dane Holger Rune or a qualifier.
3) House favourites: There are eight Frenchmen in the draw (not including qualifying), with ATP Challenger Tour king Benjamin Bonzi the highest ranked at No. 68. Bonzi, who won six ATP Challenger Tour trophies in 2021, features alongside former Top 10 stars Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gilles Simon, who both received wild cards.
Tsonga is a triple champion in Marseille (2009, 2013, 2017), while Simon lifted the trophy in 2007 and 2015.
4) Felix on fire: The Canadian arrives in Marseille after the best week of his career, having won his maiden tour-level title in Rotterdam. The 21-year-old held an 0-8 record heading into the league game against Tsitsipas but rose to the occasion, beating the Greek in straight sets to triumph. Auger-Aliassime has a solid pedigree at Marseille, having qualified for the ATP 250 Finals in 2020. The third seed faces either Tsonga or Simon in his opening match.
5) Herbert/Mahut in doubles: France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut are the top seeds for the ATP 250 event and will be aiming to claim their second title of the season as a team, having triumphed in Montpellier earlier this month. They will face competition from second seeds Ben McLachlan and Raven Klaasen, third seeds Matwe Middelkoop and Andreas Mies and fourth seeds Jonny O’Mara and David Vega Hernandez. ATP singles star Andrey Rublev is also in doubles action, teaming up with Denys Molchanov.