Hurkacz Top Seed As Metz Draw Revealed

In a strong field, former champions, upcoming talent and home favourites will compete at the Moselle Open in Metz, with the draw conjuring up some exciting matches at the ATP 250 indoor-hard event.

Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz leads the draw as the top seed and will begin his quest for his third tour-level trophy of the season against either French wild card Lucas Pouille, who won the title in 2016, or a qualifier. The 24-year-old could face former World No. 1 Andy Murray in the quarter-finals.

Murray opens against sixth-seeded Frenchman Ugo Humbert, who will be aiming to snap a three-match losing streak. Humbert lifted his first ATP 500 trophy at the NOVENTI OPEN in Halle in June and will look to regain his best form on home soil in northern France.

Fourth seed Alex de Minaur is also in the top half and is making his debut in Metz. The five-time tour-level champion will meet World No. 77 Arthur Rinderknech or American Marcos Giron his opening match and is seeded to face Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Karen Khachanov in the last eight.

At the bottom of the draw, second seed Pablo Carreno Busta begins against Winston-Salem finalist Mikael Ymer or Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff. The Spaniard is currently 14th in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin and needs a strong finish to the season to qualify for the 2021 Nitto ATP Finals.

The 30-year-old faces a tricky draw though, with potential clashes against third seed Gael Monfils and Cagliari champion Lorenzo Sonego waiting ahead. Monfils triumphed in Metz in 2009 and could face three-time winner Gilles Simon in the last eight. The 35-year-old’s first assignment is a meeting with Italian Marco Cecchinato or a qualifier.

In other first-round clashes, Singapore winner Alexei Popyrin takes on Pedro Martinez, with the pair landing in Carreno Busta’s quarter, while eighth seed Nikoloz Basilashvili plays Gianluca Mager, with Monfils in their section.

Read more: https://www.atptour.com/en/news/metz-draw-2021-sunday

Karatsev Top Seed As Nur-Sultan Draw Revealed

The ATP 250 Astana Open returns for a second instalment and the Kazakh capital will host another stellar line-up in Nur-Sultan. A quick glance down the draw sheet and you come across Grand Slam pedigree, local talent and emerging stars.

Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev leads the title charge as the top seed. The World No. 25, champion in Dubai earlier this season, opens his account in the second round against either 2020 Astana Open semi-finalist Emil Ruusuvuori or the in-form Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi.

Earlier in the season Karatsev was entrenched inside the Top 8 of the FedEx ATP Race to Turin after reaching the Australian Open semi-finals and claiming the ATP 500 title in Dubai. But he has since fallen to 12th position in the Race and needs a strong finish to the season to claim a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Further down the track, Karatsev could meet the resurgent Andreas Seppi, who recently reached the US Open third round. Seppi must overcome local wild card Timofey Skatov at the first hurdle. Winston-Salem Open champion Ilya Ivashka, drawn to face a qualifier, also lands in Karatsev’s quarter of the draw.

Home hopes will be boosted by the gregarious Alexander Bublik arriving as the No.2 seed in the bottom half. The world No.34 will look to bring his vast repertoire of shot-making to the court to tackle either Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco or Miomir Kecmanovic in the second round.

Look out for a possible quarter-final between Bublik and flamboyant Frenchman Benoit Paire. The No. 6 seed will duel with Belarusian Egor Gerasimov in the opening round.

Defending champion John Millman, in the top half of the drawm will be seeking another deep run in Nur-Sultan. A qualifier will look to halt the Australian in a quarter of the draw including world No. 37 Filip Krajinovic and Kazakh stalwart Mikhail Kukushkin.

Millman’s title defence is projected to come under threat in the semi-finals with Karatsev a possible opponent for a compelling final-four clash.

No.3 seed Dusan Lajovic lands in the third quarter alongside compatriot Laslo Djere and Next Gen Italian Lorenzo Musetti.

The main draw of the Astana Open begins on Monday 20 September.

Read more: https://www.atptour.com/en/news/karatsev-top-seed-as-nur-sultan-draw-revealed

Millan Relives Astana Open Breakthrough: 'It Was Massive For Me'

John Millman is confident of producing his best form as he attempts to defend a title at ATP Tour level for the first time in the Astana Open in Nur-Sultan this week.

The Australian, who practised with Italians Lorenzo Musetti and Andreas Seppi prior to Saturday’s draw, made history as the inaugural Astana Open champion in 2020. The 32-year-old defeated Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 7-5 6-1 in the final after posting victories over Fernando Verdasco, Tommy Paul and Frances Tiafoe on the way to the decider.

Millman, who reached the US Open quarter-finals in 2018, has claimed 12 ATP Challenger level titles. But he said breaking through on the main tour was a highlight of his career.

“It was massive for me. It is a really challenging thing to do and it is something that I had set as a goal for the past few years,” he said. “There have been plenty of good players who have not been able to break through and lift a title at the ATP level.

“I felt like I had put myself in a position a couple of times. I’d been in a couple of finals before, so to go through and achieve a goal was really special. It was, mentally, a really challenging year for everyone, so to be able to do it like that, I was proud of it, because it really tested your resilience. The triumph was the culmination of a lot of hard work and resilience.”

No. 43 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, Millman is seeded fifth for the 2021 Astana Open and will open the tournament against a qualifier. Aslan Karatsev, a semifinalist at the Australian Open in February, is the top seed for the ATP 250 tournament carrying prize money of $541,800.

Millman has been hindered by injuries prior to major events in a testing season in which he has compiled a record of 14 wins from 34 matches. The Brisbane native was forced to withdraw from the French Open due to a back injury and then suffered bone bruising in a foot at the Olympics in a further blow, with the injury troubling him in the lead-in to the US Open.

“That was really challenging. You want to be peaking at the Grand Slams,” he said.

But the right-hander reached quarter-finals in Munich in April and in Washington D.C. in August and has trained well in Nur-Sultan over the past week.

He believes his game is suited to the indoor hard courts of the Astana Open. “I won’t lie. It has been a really challenging year for me,” he said.

“When I have been fit, I feel like I’ve played some pretty good tennis. Maybe the results don’t show that, but when I was fit, I felt great.

“But it is a nice feeling being back here. You know your surroundings. They do an incredible job here. It is good to be back where I had some nice memories last year.”

Read more: https://www.atptour.com/en/news/millan-set-to-defend-astana-open-title-2021

Scouting Report: Murray, Musetti, Medvedev In Action

After a one-week break following the conclusion of the US Open, the ATP Tour resumes this week, with two ATP 250 events in Metz and Nur-Sultan beginning Monday and the Laver Cup in Boston kicking off Friday.

Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz, Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta and former World No. 1 Andy Murray are among those in action at the Moselle Open, with Alexander Bublik and Aslan Karatsev leading the field at the Astana Open.

At the Laver Cup, Team Europe will look to extend its dominance over Team World, after winning the three previous editions of the tournament. Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Felix Auger-Aliassime are just a few of the players competing in Boston.

ATPTour.com looks at five things you should watch at each event.

View Metz Draw | View Nur-Sultan Draw

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN METZ
1) Hurkacz Leads The Field: The top seed in Metz is Hurkacz, who is aiming to win his third tour-level title of the season, after triumphing on hard in Delray Beach, before capturing his first ATP Masters 1000 crown in Miami. The Pole fell in the first round on his debut at the indoor-hard event in 2019 and arrives on the back of a second-round exit to Andreas Seppi at the US Open. The 24-year-old will face French wild card Lucas Pouille, who won the title in 2016, or a qualifier in his opening match.

2) Former Champions In Action: Alongside Pouille, two other Frenchmen in the draw have tasted success at the Moselle Open and will look to replicate that again. Former World No. 6 Gilles Simon has clinched the title three times, dropping just one set en route to the crown in 2018, while third seed Gael Monfils triumphed in 2009. Simon faces Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the first round with Monfils, who will aim to build on his run to the third round at Flushing Meadows, starting against Marco Cecchinato or a qualifier.

3) Murray Accepts Wild Card: Having competed in Cincinnati, Winston-Salem and at the US Open in North America, 34-year-old Murray will return to tour-level action in Metz after accepting a wild card into the ATP 250 event. The Scot has competed in seven tour-level tournaments this season, with his best result a run to the third round at Wimbledon. The World No. 116 will face sixth-seeded Frenchman Ugo Humbert in the first round.

.@andy_Murray show ✨ pic.twitter.com/ejtBULT4Ga

— Moselle Open (@MoselleOpen) September 18, 2021

4) Carreno Busta Targeting More Success: The second seed reached the quarter-finals at the Moselle Open in 2019 and will look to go further this week as he targets his third tour-level title of the season. The Spaniard, who defeated Novak Djokovic to win the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, has lifted trophies in Marbella and Hamburg this year and begins against Winston-Salem finalist Mikael Ymer or Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

5) Kontinen and McLachlan Team: In the doubles draw, Henri Kontinen and Ben McLachlan lead the field as the top seeds as they compete together for the first time, facing Matt Reid and Ken Skupski in the first round. Tomislav Brkic and Nikola Cacic are the second seeds, while Oliver Marach and Philipp Oswald are seeded third. Australians Luke Saville and John-Patrick Smith are the fourth seeds.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN NUR-SULTAN
1) Bublik Holds Home Hopes: Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik will look to regain his form on home soil in Nur-Sultan, having suffered a slight blip following a strong start to the season, in which the 24-year-old reached finals in Antalya and Singapore. The second seed opens against Miomir Kecmanovic or Fernando Verdasco and could face Dusan Lajovic in the semi-finals.

2) Karatsev Aiming For Strong Finish: Karatsev currently sits in 12th place in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin and will need a strong finish to the season if he is going to qualify for the 2021 Nitto ATP Finals. The top seed, who won his maiden tour-level title in Dubai in March, fell to #NextGenATP American Jenson Brooksby in a five-set thriller at the US Open earlier this month. The 28-year-old will face Emiil Ruusuvuori or Benjamin Bonzi in his opening match.

3) Musetti Making Debut: #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti will make his debut in Nur-Sultan as he continues his push to qualify for the 2021 Next Gen ATP Finals on home soil. The 19-year-old, who has reached semi-finals in Acapulco and Lyon this year, is in sixth place in the ATP Race To Milan, after reaching the second round at the US Open.

4) Reigning Champion Returns: Australian John Millman has fond memories in Nur-Sultan, having lifted his first tour-level title at the first edition of the event last year. The 32-year-old reached the quarter-finals in Washington last month and returns this week to Kazakhstan to try and defend his title, starting against a qualifier.

5) Ivashka Arrives In-Form: Ilya Ivashka, currently at a career-high No. 53 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, arrives in form after cruising to his first ATP Tour title in Winston-Salem, before reaching the third round at the US Open. The 27-year-old has won eight of his last nine matches and will aim to improve this record in Metz.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH AT THE LAVER CUP
1) Medvedev Makes Debut: Medvedev will return to action less than two weeks after winning his maiden major title at the US Open earlier this month as he makes his debut at the Laver Cup. The Russian, who defeated Novak Djokovic in the final at Flushing Meadows, has compiled an 18-2 record since Wimbledon.

2) Tsitsipas and Zverev Return: In 2019, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev both competed for Team Europe as they defeated Team World to win the title for the third time. The pair will reunite this week in Boston as they aim to extend their dominance over Team World. Zverev arrives in form, having captured his fifth ATP Masters 1000 crown in Cincinnati, before enjoying a run to the semi-finals at the US Open.

3) Canadians Competing For Team World: Canada’s Denis Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime will look to lead Team World to a first victory at the Laver Cup, with the latter full of confidence after he reached his first major semi-final at Flushing Meadows. It will be the third time Shapovalov has competed at the event, after starring in 2017 and 2019.

Team World aims to flip the script. #LaverCup 2021 pic.twitter.com/TrEI5WPdgi

— Laver Cup (@LaverCup) September 13, 2021

4) Others To Watch: Fresh off his rise into the Top 5 of the FedEx ATP Rankings, Andrey Rublev is part of Team Europe’s squad, with Matteo Berrettini and Norway’s Casper Ruud in action, too. Big-serving Americans Reilly Opelka and John Isner will compete for Team World alongside Diego Schwartzman and Nick Kyrgios.

5) Borg & McEnroe Lead The Teams: Former World No. 1 Bjorn Borg and seven-time major champion John McEnroe will captain the teams again for a fourth time. Borg will hope Team Europe can replicate their dominant form this week, after Zverev secured its third-straight victory in the final match of the 2019 event.

Read more: https://www.atptour.com/en/news/metz-nur-sultan-2021-scouting-report

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