Scouting Report: 15 Things To Watch In Acapulco, Dubai & Santiago
Thirteen of the Top 20 players in the FedEx ATP Rankings will be in action this week, spread across the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC in Acapulco, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and the Chile Dove Men+Care Open in Santiago. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is competing in Dubai, and World No. 2 Rafael Nadal is in Acapulco.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN ACAPULCO
1) Rafa Going For No. 3: Top seed Rafael Nadal has won the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC twice, in 2005 and 2013. He will try this week to win a tour-level title for the 17th consecutive year. The Spaniard plays countryman Pablo Andujar in the first round.
2) Defending Champ: Nick Kyrgios went on a memorable run in Acapulco last year, including victories over Nadal and 2018 Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev. Kyrgios is 6-2 on the season, and he will play his first match since the Australian Open against 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals competitor Ugo Humbert.
3) FAA Has Momentum: Felix Auger-Aliassime reached his fourth and fifth ATP Tour finals in Rotterdam and Marseille in the past two weeks. The Canadian is still pursuing his maiden tour-level crown, and he will try to lift the trophy at this ATP 500 event. The #NextGenATP star, who is the fourth seed, will begin his tournament against lucky loser Alex Bolt of Australia.
4) Zverev Back Again: Could this be the year Zverev breaks through in Acapulco? Two years ago, he reached the semi-finals. Last year, he fell in the championship match. The second seed, chasing his 12th ATP Tour title, will try to get off to a good start to this edition of the tournament against qualifier Jason Jung.
5) Zverev Brothers In Doubles: Zverev and his brother, Mischa Zverev, won the Acapulco doubles title last year, and they are back to defend their trophy. The top seeds are Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah, the second seeds are Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo, and third seeds Marcel Granollers/Horacio Zeballos are fresh off a title at the Rio Open presented by Claro.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN DUBAI
1) Novak Leads The Way: World No.1 and four-time Champion Novak Djokovic returns to Dubai for the first time since 2016 with a 13-0 record in 2020. Djokovic, fresh off leading Team Serbia to ATP Cup glory and winning a record-extending eighth Australian Open title, is the top seed at this event for the seventh time.
2) Stefanos Shining: Second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas arrives in Dubai after winning his fifth ATP Tour title last week in Marseille without dropping a set. It was the first time that the Greek has retained a tour-level title. Tsitsipas, the reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion, reached the final in Dubai last year.
3) Titlists All Around: There have been 13 tour-level singles tournaments played so far this year, and six of them have been won by players in the Dubai draw. Djokovic (Australian Open), Andrey Rublev (Doha, Adelaide), Gael Monfils (Montpellier, Rotterdam, currently on a nine-match winning streak) and Tsitsipas (Marseille) are the 2020 champions in the field.
4) Musetti Magic: Italian Lorenzo Musetti, 17, used his qualifying wild card well, winning both of his matches in straight sets to reach the main draw. He is the first player born in 2002 to qualify for an ATP Tour event. Musetti is the lone #NextGenATP player in the main draw.
5) Defending Champs The Top Seeds: Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury are the top seeds in the doubles draw, fresh off their Australian Open title. Ram and Salisbury earned their first trophy together in Dubai last year, and they did not drop a set. They will face a star-studded team in the first round in Djokovic and former singles World No. 3 Marin Cilic.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN SANTIAGO
1) Welcome Back, Chile: This is the inaugural edition of the Chile Dove Men+Care Open. Previously, Chile hosted another ATP Tour event in Santiago from 1993-2000 and 2010-11, and that same tournament was held in Vina del Mar from 2001-09 and 2012-14.
2) Home Favourite: Cristian Garin hopes to give home fans plenty to cheer about as the top seed. He grew up watching Fernando Gonzalez and Nicolas Massu at the tournament in Vina del Mar, and in 2013, he made an impressive tour-level debut at that event as a 16-year-old, defeating Dusan Lajovic to become the fifth player aged 16 years and under to win a tour-level match since 2000. Garin has won nine consecutive matches, lifting titles this year in Cordoba and Rio de Janeiro.
3) Ruud Rising: Casper Ruud will attempt to win his second title of the 2020 'Golden Swing'. The 21-year-old triumphed at the Argentina Open to become the first player from Norway to win an ATP Tour title. Ruud is the second seed.
4) Two Chilean Wild Cards: This ATP 250 has awarded home favourites Alejandro Tabilo and Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera wild cards into the main draw. Both men own one tour-level win, and Tabilo is at a career-high World No. 166.
5) Demoliner/Middelkoop Top Seeds: Marcelo Demoliner and Matwe Middelkoop are the top seeds in the doubles draw. They have won two ATP Tour titles together in the past four months, triumphing last October in Moscow and earlier this month in Cordoba.