Top seed, Daniil Medvedev and defending champion, Stefanos Tsitsipas lead the field at the Open 13 Provence, live from Marseille from 17-23 February.
Medvedev and Tsitsipas are both seeking their first titles of the season, but the top seeds will be challenged by a draw that includes six of the world’s top-20 players. Also present in Marseille are former champions, Karen Khachanov and Gilles Simon, two-time former finalist, Marin Cilic, third seed, David Goffin and young guns, Denis Shapovalov, Jannik Sinner and Felix Auger-Aliassime, who is coming off a runner-up finish in Rotterdam.
Who will go away with the title? We preview the Marseille draw.
Projected Quarter Final: Daniil Medvedev (1) vs Karen Khachanov (5)
After his surprise early exit in Rotterdam last week, when he fell to Vasek Pospisil at the first hurdle, Daniil Medvedev will aim to get back to winning ways in Marseille, where he is competing for the first time since 2017. When he does begin his campaign, he will be looking to avoid a third straight defeat, having fallen to Stan Wawrinka in the fourth round of the Australian Open before his loss to Pospisil in Montpellier. Medvedev made the quarter finals in his only previous appearance at this tournament three years ago, beating Benoit Paire and Jan-Lennard Struff before falling to Lucas Pouille.
The Russian, who reached nine finals and claimed four titles in a sensational 2019, gets a first round bye in Marseille, but he could potentially face rising Italian, Jannik Sinner in a difficult second round. Sinner, who made the quarter finals in Rotterdam last week, must first get past a qualifier in the first round. Should Medvedev avoid the second round upset, he is projected to meet Karen Khachanov in the quarter finals, but Khachanov has got plenty of work to do if he is to make it that far.
Khachanov started the year well enough, going 4-1 as Russia reached the semi-finals of the ATP Cup, but he’s only 3-3 since then, and is yet to make an individual quarter final this season.
The 2018 Marseille champion faces a tough opener against Aljaz Bedene, a semi-finalist in Rotterdam, and should he get through the Slovenian, he could meet two-time winner, Gilles Simon in the second round.
Predicted Quarter Final: Daniil Medvedev vs Aljaz Bedene
Semi-Finalist: Daniil Medvedev
Projected Quarter Final: David Goffin (3) vs Felix Auger-Aliassime (7)
After falling just short in Rotterdam, Felix Auger-Aliassime continues his bid for a maiden tour-level title in Marseille this week. The Canadian teenager has now reached four finals within the last year, but he has had to settle for a runner-up finish on each occasion. Despite a brave late resistance against Gael Monfils in the Rotterdam final, where he saved four match points, he was second best for most of that match, and must now recover very quickly to have another go in Marseille.
Auger-Aliassime, who’s back in the top-20 after his efforts in Rotterdam opens against Italian, Stefano Travaglia, and could face either Mikhail Kukushkin or Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the second round.
If he gets through those two matches, he is seeded to take on David Goffin in the last eight. A semi-finalist in Marseille last year, Goffin has been handed what looks like a very kind draw. The Belgian gets a bye into the second round, where he will take on a qualifier. Goffin has already made a semi-final this season, in Montpellier, but he fell early in Rotterdam last week, losing to Jannik Sinner in the second round. Will he make a deep run in Marseille?
Predicted Quarter Final: David Goffin vs Felix Auger-Aliassime
Semi-Finalist: Felix Auger-Aliassime
Projected Quarter Final: Denis Shapovalov (4) vs Benoit Paire (6)
Things haven’t exactly gone as expected for Denis Shapovalov this season, with the Canadian arriving Marseille on the back of four straight defeats.
After a strong finish to 2019, which included a maiden career title in Stockholm, and a run to the Paris Masters final, big things were expected from the young Canadian in 2020, but he is yet to get going at all this year.
Shapovalov won two of his four singles matches at the ATP Cup, but he has posted a 1-4 win-loss record since then, and has suffered consecutive opening round defeats at the Australian Open, Montpellier and Rotterdam. He is also on a losing streak in Marseille, beaten by Julien Benneteau on debut in 2017, and losing to Mikhail Kukushkin last season. He has a bye into the second round this week, and could face Marin Cilic in a tough opening match in the second round. Cilic hasn’t quite been the same player he was a few years ago, but he did reach the fourth round of the Australian Open, and has been to the Marseille final on two occasions. The Croatian must first get past a qualifier to set up a second round meeting with Shapovalov.
Whoever gets through that section is drawn to face Benoit Paire. Mercurial Frenchman, Paire made a very positive start to the year, reaching the final in Auckland, but he has won just one match since then, and heads into Marseille on a three-match losing streak. He has a tricky opener against Gregoire Barrere, and could face either Marton Fucsovics or Alexander Bublik in the second round. With the seeded players in this quarter- Shapovalov and Paire- both struggling for form at the moment, there’s an opportunity for some of the lower-ranked players to make a quarter final, and possibly a semi-final.
Predicted Quarter-Final: Marin Cilic vs Marton Fucsovics
Semi-Finalist: Marin Cilic
Projected Semi-Final: Stefanos Tsitsipas (2) vs Hurbert Hurkacz (8)
Stefanos Tsitsipas is yet to get going at all this season, as he’s managed an ordinary 3-4 record for the year. He won just one of his three matches at the ATP Cup, and has since fallen in the third round of the Australian Open, and the second round of last week’s tournament in Rotterdam, where he was surprisingly beaten by Aljaz Bedene. Can the reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion finally put something together this week?
The defending champion has a bye into the second round, and starts his campaign against either Richard Gasquet or Swedish young gun, Mikael Ymer. Gasquet is playing just his second tournament of the season having missed the start of the year with a knee complaint. The Frenchman opened his year in Montpellier, but his injury problems persisted, and was forced to retired hurt in his quarter final against Vasek Pospisil. Youngster, Ymer is 3-4 in 2020, and has reached the second round in each of his last three tournaments. With fitness concerns hovering over Gasquet, and Ymer still finding his way on the tour, Tsitsipas should be able to progress to the quarter finals, where he is projected to meet Hubert Hurkacz.
If that tie happens, it will be a repeat of their Rotterdam opener from last week, when Hurkacz lead by a set and a break, only to fall away dramatically in the latter half of the match. Hurkacz’s route to a potential quarter final with Tsitsipas has him opening against French wildcard, Antoine Hoang, while Vasek Pospisil is a possible second round opponent for the Pole. Pospisil has played plenty of tennis in the last fortnight, and did look to be struggling in the closing stages in his second round loss to Filip Krajinovic in Rotterdam last week. Doubt he will have much left in the tank for a sustained challenge in Marseille.
Predicted Quarter Final: Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Hubert Hurkacz
Semi-Finalist: Stefanos Tsitsipas
Daniil Medvedev vs Felix Auger-Aliassime
Marin Cilic vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
Daniil Medvedev vs Stefanos Tsitsipas