The ATP Tour returns to clay this week with Stefanos Tsitsipas leading the field at the Hamburg European Open, an ATP 500 event. The Greek reached the final in Germany last year, and will be joined by ATP stars Pablo Carreno Busta and Jan-Lennard Struff.
There are also two ATP 250 tournaments taking place, with one on clay at the Nordea Open in Bastad, and the other on grass at the Hall of Fame Open in Newport. Casper Ruud and Lorenzo Musetti will be in action in Bastad, while Alexander Bublik will be joined by a plethora of Americans in Newport at the last grass-court tour-level event of the season.
ATPTour.com looks at what you should watch at these three events.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN HAMBURG
1) Tsitsipas Leads The Way: The top seed in Hamburg is World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas, who is pursuing his third clay-court ATP Tour title of the season in Germany. The Roland Garros finalist reached the championship match (l. to Rublev) in Hamburg last year and will look to bounce back after his first-round defeat to Frances Tiafoe at Wimbledon. Tsitsipas will also feature in the doubles with his brother Petros Tsitsipas.
2) Super Carreno Busta: Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta is enjoying one of his best-ever clay-court seasons, having won the AnyTech365 Andalucia Open title (d. Munar) in Marbella and reaching the semi-finals at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (l. to Nadal). The 29-year-old holds a 13-4 record on the surface this year and will be the second seed in Hamburg. Carreno Busta has had success at the ATP 500 event before, reaching the semi-finals in 2019.
3) Ramos-Vinolas Success: Albert Ramos-Vinolas won his third ATP Tour title on clay at the Millennium Estoril Open (d. Norrie) in May. The 33-year-old has slightly struggled since and will be aiming to snap a seven-match losing streak against either Federico Delbonis or a qualifier in the first round.
4) Home-Favourite Struff: Jan-Lennard Struff will lead the German charge on home soil. The World No. 45 equalled his best Grand Slam performance last month as he reached the fourth round at Roland Garros. He will begin against Laslo Djere and is joined in the draw by three other countrymen, including Philipp Kohlschreiber.
5) Basilashvili Goes For Third Title: Nikoloz Basilashvili has loved his time in Hamburg in recent years, having lifted the title in 2018 and 2019. The Georgian, who lost a four-set thriller to Andy Murray at Wimbledon in June, will begin his quest for a third title against either Corentin Moutet or Aljaz Bedene.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN BASTAD
1) Ruud Top Seed: Norway’s Casper Ruud will lead the field at the Nordea Open as the top seed. The 22-year-old is currently at a career-high No. 14 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, having won the Gonet Geneva Open (d. Shapovalov) in May. He will face either Radu Albot or talented #NextGenATP Dane Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune in his first match.
2) Clay-Court Specialist Garin In Action: Cristian Garin had never won a match on the lawns of Wimbledon before his run to the fourth round this year. The Chilean will look to build on this in Bastad at the ATP 250 tournament on a surface he is far more acquainted with. Garin has won all five of his ATP Tour titles, including the Chile Dove Men+Care Open (d. Bagnis) in March, on clay in Santiago.
3) Former Champions: With Fabio Fognini and Pablo Cuevas both competing in Sweden this week, there are two former champions in the draw. Italy’s Fognini defeated Richard Gasquet in 2018 with Cuevas overcoming Joao Sousa in 2014. The former begins against either Facundo Bagnis or Roberto Carballes Baena with the latter facing Norbert Gombos.
4) Rising Musetti: #NextGenATP star Lorenzo Musetti has gone from strength to strength in the last year. He has risen from outside the Top 250 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, currently at No. 63. Having reached the semi-finals at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon (l. to Tsitsipas), the 19-year-old is in fourth position in the ATP Race To Milan. He will look to claim a maiden tour-level title in Scandinavia.
5) Swedish Stars: The last Swedish man to claim the title on home soil was former World No. 4 Robin Soderling in 2011. Brothers Mikael Ymer and Elias Ymer have both been handed wild cards and will carry the hopes of the home supporters. The former is currently the World No. 98 and starts against eighth seed Emil Ruusuvuori.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN NEWPORT
1) Return Of Bublik: The former finalist, Alexander Bublik, returns to Newport seeking to go one step further and win his first ATP Tour title. The Kazakhstani lost to four-time champion John Isner in 2019. Bublik is the top seed at the last grass-court tour-level tournament of the season.
The Hall of Fame Open kicks off tomorrow with the qualifying rounds 👍 It’s not too late to snatch up tickets for the week!
— Tennis Hall of Fame (@TennisHalloFame) July 10, 2021
2) American Hopes: Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson are part of a contingent of seven Americans that will be competing on home soil at the Hall of Fame Open. Johnson, currently No. 72 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, has had success in Newport before, winning the title against Ramkumar Ramanathan in 2018.
3) Big Servers Take Wild Cards: Big servers Ivo Karlovic and Kevin Anderson have taken wild cards into the ATP 250 event. Croatia’s Karlovic lifted the trophy in 2016 but has played just three tour-level tournaments this year. Anderson, whose best result this season was a run to the quarter-finals at the Millennium Estoril Open, is competing in Newport for the first time since 2008.
4) Nishioka’s Debut: It will be the first appearance for Japanese star Yoshihito Nishioka in Newport. The 25-year-old is the second seed and will be aiming to bounce back after his second-round defeat to Aljaz Bedene at Wimbledon.
5) Sock Is Back: Jack Sock will compete at a tour-level event for the first time this year after also being handed a wild card. The World No. 229 last played a tour-level match at Roland Garros in September, when he came through qualifying to reach the second round. Sock has twice reached the semi-finals (2014, 2015) in Newport.