Scouting Report: Felix Leads Estoril Field, Zverev In Munich
Auger-Aliassime is the top seed at the Millennium Estoril Open, where sixth seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas is preparing for his title defence. Zverev leads the field on home soil at the BMW Open by American Express in Munich, where defending champion Nikoloz Basilashvili returns as the fourth seed.
ATPTour.com looks ahead at 10 things to watch this week.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN ESTORIL
1) Felix Back In Form: After a stellar start to the season in which he won his first ATP Tour title in Rotterdam and helped Canada claim the ATP Cup, Auger-Aliassime cooled. But he began to rediscover his top form in Barcelona, advancing to the quarter-finals with wins over Carlos Taberner and Frances Tiafoe before a three-set loss to Diego Schwartzman. Making his main-draw debut in Estoril, the 21-year-old will be eager to build on that progress as he pursues his first tour-level trophy on clay.
2) Thiem Steps Up Comeback: Dominic Thiem has made incremental progress in his first two events back from a right-wrist injury. After a straight-sets loss in an ATP Challenger Tour event in Marbella, he took a set off John Millman at the Serbia Open last week. The Austrian will seek the first victory of his comeback against France's Benjamin Bonzi, with eighth seed Sebastian Korda a possible second-round opponent and Auger-Aliassime a potential third-round matchup. This will be the 28-year-old's Estoril debut.
3) Foki Returns: After reaching his first ATP Tour final at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, 22-year-old Alejandro Davidovich Fokina returns to action in Estoril. His career-high ATP Ranking of No. 27 earned him the fourth seed and a first-round bye as he seeks to improve upon a semi-final run last year in Estoril. He also advanced to the last four at the Portuguese ATP 250 in 2019 aged 19.
4) Defending Champ Ramos-Vinolas: Sixth seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas won a third-set tie-break to defeat Cameron Norrie for the 2021 Estoril title, and will open his title defence against Aussie Jordan Thompson.The Spaniard dropped just one set in last year's title run and has claimed all four of his ATP Tour trophies on clay.
5) Borges, Sousa Represent Portugal: Wild cards Nuno Borges and Joao Sousa will be the home favourites in the singles draw. Borges, a former college star in the United States at Mississippi State University, is competing in his second ATP Tour event. The 25-year-old reached the Estoril second round as a qualifier last season. Borges also claimed a Challenger crown earlier this month in Barletta, Italy.
Sousa, currently the World No. 85, reached a career-high of No. 28 in 2016. He seeks a second tour-level title this season following his February triumph in Pune.
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FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN MUNICH
1) Zverev Leads Field: Zverev headlines the field at the Munich ATP 250 event as he bids to win his third title at the tournament. The World No. 3, who is competing at his second clay-court event of the season (Monte Carlo SF), lifted the trophy in 2017 and 2018, but has not been beyond the quarter-finals in Munich since. The German will face one of two #NextGenATP players — Dane Holger Rune or qualifier Jiri Lehecka — in his first match and is seeded to meet American Reilly Opelka in the semi-finals.
2) Ruud Returns To Munich: Casper Ruud has often produced his best level on clay throughout his career, winning six of his seven ATP Tour titles on the surface, including a victory in Buenos Aires this year. The Norwegian will be making his fourth appearance in Munich, where his best result came in 2021, when he made the semi-finals. The second seed will open his campaign against Slovakian Alex Molcan or qualifier Norbert Gombos.
3) #NextGenATP Stars In Action: Brandon Nakashima and Rune will both make their Munich debuts. American Nakashima is competing in his first clay-court event of 2022 and meets eighth seed Botic van de Zandschulp in the first round. The 18-year-old wild card Rune, who won an ATP Challenger Tour event on clay in Italy earlier this month, opens against fellow #NextGenATP player Lehecka, who battled through two tough qualifying matches to reach the main draw.
4) Former Winners: In addition to Zverev, the former Munich champions in the field are Nikoloz Basilashvili (2021), Cristian Garin (2019) and Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber (2016). Basilashvili is the fourth seed, Garin the fifth seed and Kohlschreiber a wild card. Basilashvili begins his tournament against Ilya Ivashka or Mackenzie McDonald. Garin, who reached the semi-finals on the Houston clay in April, faces Serbian Filip Krajinovic, while World No. 132 Kohlschreiber opens against Daniel Altmaier.
5) Mektic/Pavic Headline Doubles Draw: Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic are the top seeds in the doubles draw as they aim to lift their first trophy of the season. The Croatians will face stiff competition from second seeds John Peers and Filip Polasek and Germans Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies. Krawietz and Mies, the home favourites, captured the title in Barcelona on Sunday. The Germans won the Roland Garros trophy together in 2019 and 2020.