Scouting Report: Berrettini Headlines Rio; Action In Delray Beach, Doha & Marseille
In an action-packed week on the ATP Tour, you will have to stay alert with four tournaments taking place across four different continents.
Matteo Berrettini will make his debut at the Rio Open presented by Claro, an ATP 500 event, while Cameron Norrie will lead the field at the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com, an ATP 250 hard-court tournament.
Canadian Denis Shapovalov is the top seed at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, an ATP 250 held in Doha and Stefanos Tsitsipas will be aiming to improve his good record at the Open 13 Provence, an ATP 250 in Marseille.
ATPTour.com looks ahead at five things to watch at each event.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN RIO DE JANEIRO:
1) Berrettini Makes Debut: Italian Berrettini has won three of his five tour-level titles on clay, but will grace the surface in Rio de Janeiro for the first time this week. The 25-year-old is the top seed at the event and will be competing for the first time since he reached the semi-finals at the Australian Open in January. The World No. 6 will start his title bid against Brazilian wild card Thiago Monteiro or a qualifier.
2) Clay-Court Stars Garin & Ruud In Action: When it comes to clay, Cristian Garin and Casper Ruud are at home. The ATP stars have 10 tour-level clay-court trophies between them on the surface, with Garin triumphing in Rio de Janeiro in 2020. Ruud, whose best result in Rio de Janeiro was a run to the semi-finals in 2017, will play Francisco Cerundolo or Benoit Paire. Garin is the fifth seed and opens against Federico Coria.
3) Schwartzman Bidding For Second Rio Title: Diego Schwartzman has fond memories in Rio de Janeiro, having captured his second tour-level crown at the ATP 500 event in 2018. The four-time ATP Tour champion will be competing in his third clay-court tournament of the season, after playing on home soil in Cordoba and Buenos Aires earlier this month.
4) Alcaraz Danger: #NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz enjoyed a standout 2021 season, soaring from outside the Top 100 to No. 32 as he captured his maiden tour-level title in Umag. The 18-year-old further showcased his potential at the Australian Open in January, when he pushed Berrettini to a fifth-set tie-break. Rio de Janeiro holds special memories for Alcaraz as it was the city where he earned his maiden tour-level win against Albert Ramos-Vinolas in 2020. Alcaraz is the seventh seed and opens against Jaume Munar.
5) Star-Studded Doubles Field: The top three seeded pairs in the doubles field — top seeds Marcel Granollers/Horacio Zeballos, second seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah and third seeds Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares — all competed in last year's Nitto ATP Final. Granollers and Zeballos were victorious in Rio de Janeiro in 2020 and Cabal and Farah lifted the trophy in 2014 and 2016.
FOLLOW THIS WEEK'S ACTION
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN DELRAY BEACH:
1) Norrie Top Seed: Cameron Norrie arrives in Delray Beach off the back of a run to the quarter-finals in Rotterdam, where he earned confidence-boosting victories against Ugo Humbert and Karen Khachanov. The 26-year-old, who reached the semi-finals in Delray Beach last season, opens against Oscar Otte or Yoshihito Nishioka.
2) Former Champions Return: Big servers Kevin Anderson and Reilly Opelka have fond memories at the ATP 250, having lifted the trophy at the tournament in 2012 and 2020, respectively. Anderson will make his ninth appearance and begins against Steve Johnson, while second-seeded American Opelka faces either wild card Jack Sock or Germany’s Daniel Altmaier in his first match.
3) Strong American Field: Home fans will have plenty of players to cheer for this week at the ATP 250 in Delray Beach, with nine Americans (not including qualifiers) in the main draw.
The 21-year-old Sebastian Korda reached the final at the hard-court tournament last season, while World No. 54 Jenson Brooksby enjoyed a standout 2021 season and will look to build on this on his debut at the ATP 250. #NextGenATP star Brandon Nakashima, a 2020 Delray Beach quarter-finalist, is another exciting talent to watch.
4) Can Kokkinakis Build On Impressive Start To 2022? Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis flourished in January, clinching his first tour-level title on home soil at the Adelaide International 2, before he teamed with countryman Nick Kyrgios to capture the Australian Open men’s doubles crown in Melbourne.
The 25-year-old, who is 8-2 on the season in singles action, will hope he can maintain his strong form in Florida. But he faces a tricky opening test against fifth seed Korda.
5) Dimitrov Receives Wild Card: Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov enjoyed a strong end to last season, reaching tour-level semi-finals on American soil in San Diego and Indian Wells. However, the former World No. 3’s year has yet to set fire yet, with the 30-year-old holding a 3-2 record in 2022.
After receiving a wild card into the event though, Dimitrov will hope a return to America will bring out his best form once again. The third seed faces Jordan Thompson or a qualifier in his first match.
After an excellent start to 2022 that saw the 22-year-old helped guide Canada to the ATP Cup title, Shapovalov suffered a shock first-round defeat to Jiri Lehecka in Rotterdam last week. But the World No. 12 will hope that was merely a blip as he tries to improve on his quarter-final run in Doha in 2021. Shapovalov will start his campaign against Alex Molcan or qualifier Christopher O'Connell.
2) Can Bublik Add To Trophy Collection? After defeats in his first four ATP Tour finals, Alexander Bublik claimed his maiden title in Montpellier two weeks ago, securing the trophy with the best win of his career against World No. 3 Alexander Zverev. The 24-year-old's hunt for more now takes him to Doha for a third consecutive year, where he will be hoping to make it past the second round for the first time. His first-round assignment is a clash against qualifier Jozef Kovalik.
3) Bautista Agut & Evans Looking To Go Deep: Roberto Bautista Agut seems to enjoy the desert conditions. The second seed won the title in 2018 and reached the final on his next trip to Qatar in 2021. With a 9-2 record at the tournament, the Spaniard will go in confident against either wild card Andy Murray or Japan's Taro Daniel.
In contrast, fourth seed Daniel Evans has only one previous main-draw victory under his belt in Doha, but the 31-year-old Briton comes in off the back of a positive start to 2022 that includes three ATP Cup singles wins and a semi-final run in Sydney. Evans will take on Egor Gerasimov in the first round.
4) Reigning Champion Basilashvili: Nikoloz Basilashvili holds an 0-5 record so far in 2022, so the Georgian will be glad to return to a tournament where he holds fond memories.
The 29-year-old defeated Roberto Bautista Agut in last year’s Qatar ExxonMobil Open final for the fourth ATP title of his career, before going on to make it five in Munich later in the season. The third seed will try to kick-start his season against #NextGenATP Lorenzo Musetti or a qualifier.
5) Mektic/Pavic Top Seeds In Doubles: Top-ranked pairing Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic are the top seeds in the doubles field and will be aiming to win their first tour-level trophy of the season, having triumphed nine times last season together. The Croatians are joined by second seeds Ivan Dodig and Michael Venus. Melbourne Summer Set and Adelaide International 2 champions Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski are the third seeds.FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN MARSEILLE
1) Tsitsipas Aiming For Third Title: Stefanos Tsitsipas has played his best tennis in Marseille over the past years, capturing the title in 2019 and 2020 at the ATP 250 event. The World No. 4, who arrives in form, after reaching the final in Rotterdam last week, starts against Hugo Gaston or Corentin Moutet.
2) Russian Threat: With three Russians inside the Top 20 of the ATP Rankings, it has become customary for players from the nation to go deep at tour-level tournaments. This week in Marseille, Andrey Rublev and Aslan Karatsev will lead the charge. The 24-year-old Rublev advanced to the last eight in the south of France in 2019, while Karatsev will make his debut.
Second seed Rublev faces Swede Mikael Ymer or 35-year-old Richard Gasquet in his first match. Karatsev will be aiming to snap his three-match losing streak against #NextGenATP Dane Holger Rune or a qualifier.
3) Home Favourites: There are eight Frenchmen in the draw (not including qualifies), with ATP Challenger Tour king Benjamin Bonzi the highest-ranked at No. 68. Bonzi, who won six ATP Challenger Tour trophies in 2021, features alongside former Top 10 stars Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gilles Simon, who have both received wild cards.
Tsonga is a three-time champion in Marseille (2009, 2013, 2017), while Simon lifted the trophy in 2007 and 2015.
4) Felix On Fire: The Canadian arrives in Marseille off the back of the best week of his career, after he captured his first tour-level title in Rotterdam. The 21-year-old held a 0-8 record going into the championship match against Tsitsipas, but he rose to the occasion, downing the Greek in straight sets to triumph. Auger-Aliassime has a strong pedigree in Marseille, having advanced to the final at the ATP 250 in 2020. The third seed faces Tsonga or Simon in his opening match.
5) Herbert/Mahut In Doubles Action: Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut are the top seeds at the ATP 250 event and will be aiming to win their second tour-level title of the season as a team, after triumphing in Montpellier earlier this month. They will face competition from second seeds Ben McLachlan and Raven Klaasen, third seeds Matwe Middelkoop and Andreas Mies and fourth seeds Jonny O'Mara and David Vega Hernandez. ATP singles star Andrey Rublev is also in action in the doubles, teaming with Denys Molchanov.