Scouting Report: 10 Things To Watch In Antwerp & Cologne
The ATP Tour will be fully indoors this week, with ATP 250 events in Antwerp and Cologne.
The European Open will feature home favourite David Goffin trying to become the tournament’s first Belgian champion. Former World No. 3s Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic, second seed Pablo Carreno Busta and third seed Karen Khachanov also seek glory in Antwerp.
Alexander Zverev will try to win his second Cologne title in as many weeks as the top seed at the bett1HULKS Championship. Last week’s finalist at the same venue, Felix Auger-Aliassime, is in the field. Second seed Diego Schwartzman and third seed Denis Shapovalov will try to make their mark in Germany.
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FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN ANTWERP
1) Goffin In Belgium: Longtime Belgian No. 1 David Goffin reached the semi-finals in the first edition of the European Open in 2016, but he has not achieved better in his two appearances since. Will this be the year that Goffin triumphs on home soil? The four-time ATP Tour champion seeks his first title since 2017 Tokyo. He will begin his run against Italian wild card Luca Nardi or a qualifier.
2) Carreno Busta Shining: Pablo Carreno Busta is playing some of his best tennis, recently reaching the semi-finals at the US Open and the quarter-finals at Roland Garros. The Spaniard, who is making his Antwerp debut, will face Ugo Humbert or Kimmer Coppejans in the second round.
3) Grigor's Debut: Former World No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov, the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion, is competing in Antwerp for the first time. The fourth seed will play former World No. 4 Kei Nishikori or Spaniard Pablo Andujar in his opening match. Dimitrov is pursuing his first ATP Tour title since 2017.
4) Ugo Back For More: Last year in Antwerp, Humbert reached his third ATP Tour semi-final. The French lefty pushed eventual champion Andy Murray to the brink in an exciting three-setter. Humbert was World No. 70 at the time. Now, the 22-year-old is at a career-high World No. 38 and seeking his second tour-level title after lifting the trophy in Auckland this January.
5) Doubles Teams Vying For London: Two teams in the hunt for a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals lead the way in the European Open doubles draw. Second seeds John Peers/Michael Venus and fourth seeds Jamie Murray/Neal Skupski are pursuing their first appearances at The O2 as a team.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN COLOGNE
1) Will Zverev Repeat? Alexander Zverev won his third title on home soil on Sunday and he will go for the Cologne double this week. The German, who beat Felix Auger-Aliassime in the bett1HULKS Indoors final, will play Fernando Verdasco or John Millman in his opener. Last week, he defeated Verdasco in straight sets in the second round.
2) Top 10 Diego: Argentine Diego Schwartzman will be playing his first tournament as a member of the world’s Top 10. The second seed, who reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Rome and his maiden Grand Slam semi-final at Roland Garros, will play qualifier Dennis Novak or Serbian Danilo Petrovic in the second round.
3) Charging Canadians: Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov, both of whom had big weeks last week, will try to make their mark in Germany. Auger-Aliassime has already enjoyed success in Cologne, reaching his sixth ATP Tour final at the ATP 250. Shapovalov, who made his first major quarter-final at the US Open, reached the semi-finals at last week’s St. Petersburg Open.
4) Sinner's Surge: Reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner will try to continue his rise in Cologne. The Italian is appearing for the first time since making his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final at Roland Garros. Sinner faces a tough test in the first round against sixth seed Hubert Hurkacz.
5) Three Major-Winning Teams: Three doubles teams set to compete in Cologne have won Grand Slam titles together: top seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo, second seeds Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic, and two-time Roland Garros champions Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies. Marach and Pavic are no longer partners — Marach competes with Raven Klaasen and Pavic plays with Bruno Soares — but they are reuniting for this event. Fourth seeds Jurgen Melzer and Edouard Roger-Vasselin are fresh off their victory at the St. Petersburg Open.