Scouting Report: 10 Things To Watch In Antalya & Delray Beach
An executive summary of what every fan should know about the coming week on the ATP Tour
With less than 24 hours to go until the start of the 2021 ATP Tour season, excitement is building for the opening tournaments of the year at the Antalya Open and the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com. The ATP 250 events represent the first opportunity for players to earn FedEx ATP Rankings points in 2021, with many of the ATP Tour’s biggest names aiming to end the year at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin and the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.
Top 10 star Matteo Berrettini leads the way in Antalya, where he will be joined by David Goffin and Fabio Fognini. The hard-court event, included on the 2021 ATP Tour calendar on a single-year license, features four Top 25 players. In the pick of the first-round matches, Goffin will open his 2021 season against doubles partner Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
Chile’s Cristian Garin and John Isner headline the field in Delray Beach. Garin will be making his debut appearance at the ATP 250, while Isner will be seeking his first title in his eighth visit to the tournament. The top two seeds are joined in South Florida by former champions Frances Tiafoe and Sam Querrey.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN ANTALYA
1) Headline Act: After competing at just six events in 2020 due to a hernia/groin injury and the suspension of the ATP Tour, Berrettini will be keen to start 2021 on a strong note in Antalya. The top seed will aim to earn his first ATP Tour trophy on hard courts after past success at clay (2) and grass (1) events. Berrettini opens his 2021 season against Turkish wild card Ergi Kirkin.
2) Goffin’s Title Bid: The World No. 15 will attempt to extend his unbeaten 5-0 ATP Head2Head series record against Herbert in his first-round match. Goffin, who is bidding to earn his first ATP Tour crown since the 2017 Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo, has experience of starting the year well. Last year, the Belgian defeated Rafael Nadal in his first tournament of the season at the ATP Cup.
3) Forza Fabio: Berrettini is not the only Italian talent in the top half of the Antalya draw. Fognini will aim to meet his countryman in the semi-finals of the ATP 250 with a strong start to the year in Turkey. The 33-year-old, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on both his ankles in May 2020, is aiming to secure his first trophy since the 2019 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.
4) Alex In Antalya: Following the return of the ATP Tour in August 2020, Alex de Minaur played five hard-court events through the remainder of the year. The Aussie compiled an 11-5 record, with four of those losses coming against eventual tournament champions. Last year’s Antwerp runner-up, who owns three ATP Tour hard court titles, will face Malek Jaziri of Tunisia in his first match of the year.
5) Mektic/Pavic Make Team Debut: In their first event as a pair, Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic headline an impressive doubles draw in Antalya. Mektic and Pavic both enjoyed successful 2020 ATP Tour campaigns with their previous partners, culminating in appearances at the Nitto ATP Finals. Second seeds Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek feature in the bottom half of the draw alongside third seeds Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin. Singles rivals Goffin and Pierre-Hugues Herbert, the 2019 Doha champions, could meet Chardy and Martin in the quarter-finals.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN DELRAY BEACH
1) Top Seed: Garin has finished his past two ATP Tour campaigns with multiple clay-court titles. As the top seed, he will attempt to capture his maiden ATP Tour crown on hard courts in Delray Beach. The four-time tour-level titlist will meet Argentine Tomas Martin Etcheverry or a qualifier in his opening match. Garin shares the top quarter of the draw with 2016 champion Querrey.
2) Isner Seeks More Home Success: The 35-year-old Isner is no stranger to success on American soil, having won 13 of his 15 ATP Tour trophies in his home country. But Isner is yet to experience that feeling in Delray Beach. Across seven previous main draw appearances, the four-time semi-finalist is yet to reach the championship match. Isner will attempt to change that statistic this year.
3) Past Champions: Former champions Tiafoe (2018) and Querrey (2016) will aim to capture their second titles at the ATP 250 this year. Tiafoe and Querrey feature in opposite halves of the draw. Tiafoe will face a qualifier in his opening match, while Querrey will meet countryman Mackenzie McDonald.
4) America’s #NextGenATP Star: With an impressive finish to 2020, which included a run to the Round of 16 at Roland Garros and a title run on the ATP Challenger Tour in Eckental, Sebastian Korda is the highest-ranked #NextGenATP American in the FedEx ATP Rankings. The World No. 119’s bid to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan will begin in Delray Beach when he faces Soonwoo Kwon of South Korea in the first round..
5) American Doubles Success: Since 2009, nine of the 12 editions of the doubles event have been won by all-American teams. Despite the retirement of legendary doubles pair Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, who return to Delray Beach this year as part of the ATP Champions Tour, there are still six all-American teams who can extend that record in 2021. Jackson Withrow, the 2018 titlist (w/Sock), returns to Delray Beach alongside Nathaniel Lammons.