The ATP World Tour has dual 500 level tournaments this week with Roger Federer and Marin Cilic among the top players in Dubai, and Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev the top seeds in Acapulco, Mexico. Here is your look at all the action, which also includes a 250 stop on clay in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Top seed Kei Nishikori comes off the semis in Rotterdam, he’ll be the favorite against Benoit Paire and Hubert Hurkacz/Corentin Moutet in the first 2 rounds. Marseille champion Stefanos Tsitsipas should await in the quarters presuming the Greek remains in the draw and battles past fatigue to defeat Matt Ebden and Robin Haase/Egor Gerasimov. I’ll back Nishikori at that stage as he should be fresher.
Rotterdam champion Gael Monfils has a brutal match out of the gate against Marin Cilic. Cilic hasn’t been his best lately though, and with Monfils in good form I’ll back the upset. Le Monf should then edge Marcos Baghdatis or Mohamed Safwat in round 2. A quarterfinal battle would then await against Daniil Medvedev, a steadily rising Russian who needs to defeat Ricardas Berankis and Denis Kudla/Matteo Berrettini to get to the QF stage. Medvedev over Monfils is my pick for section 2.
The third section should see Borna Coric get past Marseille finalist Mikhail Kukushkin, as the veteran should be dealing with fatigue. Aljaz Bedene is coming off of clay so Tomas Berdych is the favorite in that match, with Berdych over Coric in a highlight worthy round 2 clash. Roberto Bautista Agut is my pick for winner of the section, RBA won Doha to start the year, and though he’s cooled off a bit he should get past Ramkumar Ramanathan, and Nikoloz Basilahvili/Karen Khachanov before edging Berdych in the quarters.
Section four is all about Roger Federer, he’ll face two veterans first up with Philipp Kohlschreiber in round 1 and Fernando Verdasco or Thomas Fabbiano in round 2. Milos Raonic could be his first major test, Raonic opens with J.L. Struff, Marton Fucsovics/Damir Dzumhur will follow. Fucsovics has had a good run of play in recent tournaments though, and I’ll back him to upset Raonic and reach the quarters before falling to Federer.
Medvedev d. Nishikori
Federer d. Bautista Agut
I’ll back some surprises in Dubai this week with Medvedev lifting his second title of the season, with upsets of Nishikori and Federer in consecutive matches.
Medvedev d. Federer
Rafael Nadal returns to the tour, facing off with Mischa Zverev first up. Nick Kyrgios or Andreas Seppi will follow, and Stan Wawrinka is favored to reach the quarterfinals and face Rafa. Wawrinka faces Ryan Harrison and Gerardo Lopez Villasenor/Steve Johnson to reach that stage. Nadal vs Wawrinka should be a great clash, and Rafa will be favored to reach the semis.
John Isner has made two consecutive semifinals, he’ll open against Adrian Mannarino who he defeated in Delray Beach the previous week, he’ll face an American next, either Sam Querrey or Taylor Fritz. John Millman or Peter Gojowczyk will be up in the quarters. I have Isner winning the section against Gojowczyk after the German gets past Federico Gaio and Millman/Marcel Granollers.
A great week in Delray Beach sets Mackenzie McDonald up to make a run in Acapulco. He’ll open with Emilio Nava, Jordan Thompson/Frances Tiafoe will follow, with Cam Norrie or Yoshihito Nishioka up in the quarters. I’ll back Norrie over Nishioka, then Marius Copil/Diego Schwartzman, with McDonald over Norrie to reach the semis.
Alexander Zverev and Alex De Minaur are on a collision course in the final section, ADM opens with Nicolas Jarry, Dusan Lajovic/Feliciano Lopez will be up in round 2. Zverev opens with Alexei Popyrin, with Tennys Sandgren/David Ferrer in round 2. Zverev over De Minaur is my pick to advance into the semis.
Nadal d. Isner
Zverev d. McDonald
Nadal d. Zverev
ATP Sao Paulo
Top seed Joao Sousa should fall to Casper Ruud or Thiago Monteiro in round 2, Ruud should be setup to reach the quarters facing Paolo Lorenzi at that stage. The veteran Lorenzi takes on Juan Ignacio Londero first up, with Hugo Dellien/Pedro Martinez Portero up in round 2. Lorenzi over Ruud is my prediction for the first section.
Federico Delbonis is set to get past Lorenzo Sonego/Leonardo Mayer to reach the quarters in section 2. Delbonis will face Jaume Munar after Munar defeats Pedro Sakmoto, and Pedro Sousa/Christian Garin. Munar over Delbonis is my pick for section 2.
Guido Pella has a great shot at winning this tournament. Pella opens with Roberto Carballes Baena or Max Marterer, if he wins that he should defeat Taro Daniel in the quarters after Daniel defeats Marco Trungelliti, and Thiago Seyboth Wild/Elias Ymer.
Pablo Cuevas will start his tournament with a shot at revenge against Rio finalist Felix Auger Aliassime, FAA defeated Cuevas in Rio, but Cuevas should win this time, then defeat Albert Ramos/Facundo Bagnis to reach the quarters. Rio champ Laslo Djere has to defeat Alessandro Giannessi and Malek Jaziri to reach the quarters, with Cuevas favored to win the section.
Lorenzi d. Munar
Cuevas d. Pella
Two clay court specialist veterans should face off in the final, with Cuevas my pick to lift the trophy at week’s end, capping off the Golden Swing.
Cuevas d. Lorenzi