Rio Rematch for Alcaraz & Berrettini? Murray Aiming For Daniel Revenge In Doha
Matteo Berrettini and Carlos Alcaraz produced an all-time classic at the Australian Open in January, the Italian holding off a barnstorming comeback from the young Spaniard to win in five sets in the third round in Melbourne.
The pair will have the chance to go at each other again at the Rio Open presented by Claro, if both men can reach the quarter-finals of the ATP 500 event. However, they will face tricky tests before then, with Berrettini starting against Brazilian wild card Thiago Monteiro or qualifier, while Alcaraz faces Jaume Munar.
The second seed in Brazil is Casper Ruud, and the Norwegian will open up against either Benoit Paire or Buenos Aires semi-finalist Francisco Cerundolo. A repeat of Sunday’s Buenos Aires final is a possibility in the semi-finals, should both Ruud and third seed Diego Schwartzman make it that far. Schwartzman opens his title bid against Chinese qualifer Juncheng Shang or Spaniard Pedro Martinez.
Sixth seed Lorenzo Sonego will be looking to channel past experiences in his opening match in Brazil with World No. 56 Laslo Djere. The Italian beat the Serb in a tight three-set match to claim his second ATP Tour title at the Sardegna Open in 2021.
Murray seeks Daniel revenge in Doha
Andy Murray will have the chance to banish some demons at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, as he takes on his Australian Open conqueror Taro Daniel in the first round. The Japanese player defeated the former World No. 1 in straight-sets in the second round in Melbourne, but the Brit is a four-time finalist and two-time champion in Doha.
The winner of the Murray-Daniel clash will face second seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the second round. The Spaniard has a strong record in Qatar, winning the Doha trophy in 2018 and reaching the final last year.
The man that beat him in that final, Nikoloz Basilashvili, also faces a tough opener against one of two young players in fine form, #NextGenATP Lorenzo Musetti or Elias Ymer. There is also the intriguing possibility of a quarter-final meeting between top seed Denis Shapovalov and Montpellier champion Alexander Bublik in Doha.
FOLLOW THIS WEEK'S ACTION
Kokkinakis Faces Korda Exam
Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis broke new ground earlier this season when he won his first tour-level title on home soil in Adelaide. The 25-year-old, who also lifted the Australian Open men's doubles title with countryman Nick Kyrgios, will look to extend his winning form in at the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com, but faces a tough start against American Sebastian Korda.
Cameron Norrie, who is the top seed in Delray Beach, described his first-round defeat to Korda at the Australian Open as his ‘worst match in eight months’. The Brit could face a rematch with the 21-year-old American in the quarter finals in Delray Beach. The 26-year-old Norrie will be hoping to build on his first two wins of 2022, claimed while reaching the quarter-finals in Rotterdam last week.
Reilly Opelka won his second ATP Tour title at Delray Beach in 2020 and the second seed will be hoping to start solidly in Florida against either Daniel Altmaier or fellow American Jack Sock. Wild card Sock won the title himself at the ATP 250 in 2017.
An American-dominated second quarter of the draw could also produce a quarter-final match up between fourth seed Tommy Paul and 21-year-old Jenson Brooksby. Paul starts against Sam Querrey or a qualifier, while Brooksby faces a qualifier.
Tsitsipas, Rublev, Felix In Strong Marseille Field
World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas will face a home favourite in the second round of the Open 13 Provence in Marseille. The Greek awaits the winner of Frenchmen Hugo Gaston and Corentin Moutet as he bids to reclaim a title he won in 2019 and 2020.
Felix Auger-Aliassime will also come up against a partisan crowd as he is drawn to play either three-time Marseille champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Gilles Simon. The Canadian will be high on confidence following his title success in Rotterdam, where he defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.
Second seed Andrey Rublev faces either Richard Gasquet or Mikael Ymer in the second round. The Russian faces a potential semi-final with fourth seed Aslan Karatsev, should they both advance to that stage. Karatsev begins against #NextGenATP Dane Holger Rune or a qualifier.