Scouting Report: 15 Things To Watch In Montpellier, Cordoba & Pune
After a thrilling Australian Open, players will compete this week on three different continents at ATP 250 events.
Gael Monfils is the top seed at the Open Sud de France, which will take place on indoor hard court in Montpellier, Diego Schwartzman leads the way at the Cordoba Open on clay, and Benoit Paire will go for his first ATP Tour title of the season on outdoor hard at the Tata Open Maharashtra in Pune.
1) Former Champs: Top seed Gael Monfils and former World No. 7 Richard Gasquet are the former champions competing in Montpellier this year. Monfils triumphed at this event in 2010 and 2014, while Gasquet lifted the trophy in 2013, 2015 and 2016.
2) #NextGenATP Canadians: Canadian #NextGenATP stars Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime are both in the field, with Shapovalov seeded third — giving him a first-round bye — and Auger-Aliassime seeded fifth. Both men are looking to bounce back from opening-round losses at the Australian Open. They are also playing doubles together at this French ATP 250 event.
3) Sinner Shining: Jannik Sinner was World No. 550 one year ago this week. Now at No. 82, the 18-year-old Italian, who won the 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals, continues to try to make his mark. Sinner will play fellow 2019 Milan competitor Mikael Ymer, whom he defeated in straight sets at the Allianz Cloud.
5) Krawietz & Mahut Top Seeds: Kevin Krawietz and Nicolas Mahut, competing together for the first time, are the top seeds in the doubles draw. Other teams to watch include second seeds Jean-Julien Rojer/Horia Tecau, third seeds Jurgen Melzer/Edouard Roger-Vasselin and fourth seeds Jamie Murray/Neal Skupski.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN CORDOBA
1) Diego The Top Seed: Diego Schwartzman will pursue his first ATP Tour title of the season in Cordoba. The home favourite has lifted a trophy in each of the past two seasons, and he will begin his tournament against Leonardo Mayer or Jaume Munar. Schwartzman reached the quarter-finals at this event last year.
2) Londero Returns: Last year, Juan Ignacio Londero arrived at the Cordoba Open without a tour-level match win. But the Argentine enjoyed a dream week in front of his home fans, winning his first ATP Tour title. Londero is back in the draw again this year as the eighth seed.
3) Guido Goes For Glory: Guido Pella led Londero 6-3, 4-2 in last year's final before his countryman rallied for the title. Pella will try to go one step further this year, as the second seed starts his run against Thiago Monteiro or Corentin Moutet in the second round.
4) Garin Wild Card: Third seed Cristian Garin received one of the three wild cards. The Chilean won his first two ATP Tour titles in Houston and Munich last year. The other two wild cards are both from Argentina: Pedro Cachin and Francisco Cerundolo.
5) Gonzalez/Martin Top Seeds: Maximo Gonzalez and Fabrice Martin, a new team in 2020, lead the doubles field. Gonzalez and Martin, who face Pablo Andujar and Horacio Zeballos in the first round, started their partnership off on a high note by triumphing at the Adelaide International, where they defeated three teams that competed in the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN PUNE
1) Paire Leads The Way: Benoit Paire, the World No. 21, is the top seed at this Indian ATP 250 event. The Frenchman has a 14-7 record at this tournament dating back to when it was located in Chennai, reaching the semi-finals four times.
2) 40 & Counting: One year ago, then-39-year-old Ivo Karlovic made history in Pune, becoming the oldest player since 43-year-old Ken Rosewall at 1977 Hong Kong to reach a tour-level final. Back in India as a 40-year-old, Karlovic will begin his tournament against Cedrik-Marcel Stebe.
3) Kwon Rising: Soonwoo Kwon, 22, enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2019, cracking the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time — reaching a career-high of No. 81 — and making his first ATP Tour quarter-final in Los Cabos. The South Korean is the fourth seed in Pune, and he will face home favourite Prajnesh Gunneswaran or German Yannick Maden in his first match.
4) Paes’ ATP Indian Farewell: Former doubles World No. 1 Leander Paes will play his final ATP Tour event in India this week, partnering Aussie Matthew Ebden. The wild cards will face second seeds Divij Sharan and Artem Sitak in the first round. The 46-year-old Paes is pursuing his first tour-level title since 2015 Auckland.
5) Indian Wild Cards: All three singles wild cards are from India, led by 2018 Newport finalist Ramkumar Ramanathan. Arjun Kadhe owns one tour-level win, while Sasikumar Mukund will play his first tour-level match against Japan’s Taro Daniel, who is fresh off capturing an ATP Challenger Tour title in Burnie, Australia.