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Alcaraz, Tiafoe On Collision Course In Barcelona

Tsitsipas, Sinner in same half of draw; Djokovic may play Wawrinka in Banja Luka
April 15, 2023
Carlos Alcaraz practises in front of his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.
Javier Mendez/ATP Tour
Carlos Alcaraz practises in front of his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. By ATP Staff

Carlos Alcaraz arrives at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell as the top seed and defending champion, but the Spaniard will have to pass some tough early tests if he wants to repeat his 2022 triumph at the clay-court ATP 500.

View Draws: Barcelona | Banja Luka | Munich

The World No. 2 opens his campaign against Ilya Ivashka or Nuno Borges at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona-1899. His fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut is a potential third-round opponent while fifth seed Frances Tiafoe, fresh from winning his maiden clay-court ATP Tour title in Houston, is seeded to meet Alcaraz in the quarter-finals.

Alcaraz fell to Tiafoe in straight sets on his Barcelona main-draw debut in 2021, but charged to the title in Catalunya a year later by completing semi-final and championship-match wins on the same day. The 19-year-old is playing his first event since he enjoyed a successful ‘Sunshine Double’ in March, when he lifted his third ATP Masters 1000 title in Indian Wells before reaching the semi-finals in Miami.

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Casper Ruud, a nine-time tour-level titlist on clay, is also in the top half of the Barcelona draw. The third seed opens against an American, Mackenzie McDonald or Ben Shelton. Sixth seed Karen Khachanov is a potential quarter-final opponent for Ruud as he looks to bounce back from his third-round exit at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.

Second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas headlines the bottom half of the draw, where the Greek will take on Pedro Cachin or Gijs Brouwer first up. Alex de Minaur, who held two match points before losing to Alcaraz in the 2022 semi-finals, is a potential quarter-final opponent for Tsitsipas.

Jannik Sinner is the highest-ranked player in a stacked third quarter of the draw. The fourth seed, a 2021 semi-finalist, plays Diego Schwartzman or Wu Yibing in his opening match. Seventh seed Cameron Norrie and ninth seed Lorenzo Musetti are potential quarter-final opponents for the 21-year-old.

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Djokovic May Face Opening Wawrinka Test In Banja Luka
The Srpska Open in Banja Luka could host a heavyweight second-round clash between World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and 16-time tour-level titlist Stan Wawrinka. The Swiss must defeat #NextGenATP Frenchman Luca Van Assche to set a 27th ATP Head2Head clash against Djokovic (who leads their rivalry 20-6) at the ATP 250.

Sixth seed Jiri Lehecka against Gael Monfils headlines the first-round action at the clay-court event in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where second seed Andrey Rublev has been drawn to face Hugo Gaston or Juan Pablo Varillas first.

Former Champs Zverev & Rune In Same Half Of Munich Draw
Holger Rune enters an ATP Tour event as defending champion for the first time at the BMW Open by American Express, but two-time champion and home favourite Alexander Zverev could stand in his way in Munich.

Rune and Zverev are potential quarter-final opponents at the ATP 250, where the Dane prevailed in straight sets in the pair’s second-round meeting last season. The second seed in Bavaria is Taylor Fritz, who will face former World No. 3 Dominic Thiem in the third round should both players reach that stage.

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