© Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

Former champion Dominic Thiem returns to Lyon seeking his 18th tour-level title.

Thiem On Lyon Collision Course With #NextGenATP Sinner

Sinner vs Karatsev, Auger-Aliassime vs Sonego highlight first-round action

Top seed Dominic Thiem learned his path to a second Open Parc d'Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes-Lyon trophy on Saturday, and the journey will be anything but straightforward after landing in a loaded section of the ATP 250 draw.

The Mutua Madrid Open semi-finalist will be seeking his 18th tour-level title after taking a wild card into Lyon. Thiem, the 2018 champion, will start in the second round after a bye and awaits the winner of Frenchman Corentin Moutet and Britain’s Cameron Norrie for his opening match. He owns a 1-0 ATP Head2Head record against both players.

View Lyon Singles Draw

Further down the draw, Thiem’s section is loaded with experienced clay-courters and in-form players, led by sixth seed Jannik Sinner. The 19-year-old Italian drew one of the trickiest first-round opponents in the field: an unseeded Aslan Karatsev. The Russian defeated Sinner in their only previous meeting on his way to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships trophy earlier this year, and they will meet on clay for the first time in Lyon.

Also in Thiem’s section, third seed Diego Schwartzman and eighth seed Karen Khachanov loom as potential semi-final opponents. Schwartzman lifted his fourth tour-level title at the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires and will start against either former World No. 7 Richard Gasquet or a qualifier. Khachanov will face French wild card Benjamin Bonzi in his opening match.

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Second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas anchors the bottom half of the draw, and the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters champion could face off against a former Lyon champion in the second round. After a bye, the Greek wild card will take on the winner of Tommy Paul and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who delighted French fans with a victory in the inaugural edition of this event in 2017. Home favourite Gael Monfils, seeded fifth, also landed in Tsitsipas’ section and will take on Lloyd Harris in the first round.

Fourth seed David Goffin could face #NextGenATP Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarter-finals, but the young Canadian will have to win a popcorn first-round encounter against Italian Lorenzo Sonego in order to get there. Fellow 20-year-old Sebastian Korda could be Auger-Aliassime’s second-round opponent, should the American move past his own tricky first-round clash against Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert.