ATP Montpellier draw preview, predictions and tips

andrew hendrie:

Four of the world’s top 20 are back in action as the Open Sud de France gets underway in Montpellier, France between February 3-9, 2020.

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ATP Montpellier Tournament Information


Dates: February 3-9, 2020
Established: 2010
Level: ATP 250
Surface: Indoor Hard
Prize Money: €524,695
Singles Draw: 32
Most titles: Richard Gasquet (3)
Defending champion: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

ATP Montpellier Seeds


1. ?? Gael Monfils
2. ?? David Goffin
3. ?? Denis Shapovalov
4. ?? Grigor Dimitrov
5. ?? Felix Auger-Aliassime
6. ?? Pablo Carreno Busta
7. ?? Filip Krajinovic
8. ?? Ugo Humbert

ATP Montpellier Ranking Points


Winner: 250
Runner-up: 150
Semi-finals: 90
Quarter-finals: 45
Second Round: 20
First Round: 0

ATP Montpellier Draw Preview


First quarter

Projected quarter-final: Gael Monfils (1) vs Pablo Carreno Busta (6) – H2H: Monfils leads 3-1

Frenchman have won the Open Sud de France title in Montpellier in seven of the last nine editions and Monfils is the leading hope for the hosts this week. Coming off a fourth round showing at the Australian Open, losing to Dominic Thiem, Monfils has a bye in the opening round and will face the winner of compatriot Adrian Mannarino or the rising Alexei Popyrin for a spot in the quarter-finals.

Carreno Busta reached the third round in Melbourne before running into Rafael Nadal and has a decent draw to make the quarter-finals, facing Norbert Gombos in the opening round before a second round duel with either Dennis Novak or a qualifier. Monfils has won the last three meetings between the pair, and should they clash again in the quarter-finals, he’s the heavy favourite to advance.

Predicted semi-finalist: Monfils

Second quarter

Projected quarter-final: Grigor Dimitrov (4) vs Filip Krajinovic (7) – H2H: Dimitrov leads 4-0

Grigor Dimitrov (AAP Image/Scott Barbour)

Looking to bounce back from a disappointing Australian Open campaign, Dimitrov should fancy his chances of at least making the quarter-finals in Montpellier. The Bulgarian was bounced in the second round in Melbourne by American Tommy Paul after blowing several match-winning leads in the fifth set – and as a result, took a wildcard into the Open Sud de France this week in order to find some form.

After a bye in the first round, Dimitrov will face the winner of Joao Sousa or Gregoire Barrere for a place in the quarter-finals, either of whom he would be expected to beat.

Krajinovic, who lost to Roger Federer at the Australian Open, doesn’t have quite as smooth a path to the last eight. If he gets past a qualifier in the first round, Krajinovic takes on the winner of rising stars Jannik Sinner or Mikael Ymer, who impressed in Melbourne against Karen Khachanov.

It’s Dimitrov’s section to lose, but Sinner or Ymer could throw a spanner in the works.

Predicted semi-finalist: Dimitrov

Third quarter

Projected quarter-final: Denis Shapovalov (3) vs Ugo Humbert (8) – H2H: Level at 1-1

Both Shapovalov and Humbert are looking to bounce back from opening round Australian Open exits, with the Canadian losing to a very in-form Marton Fucsovics and the Frenchman going down to local favourite John Millman.

Shapovalov meets the winner of countryman Vasek Pospisil or Aljaz Bedene after a first round bye, while Humbert – who won his maiden ATP title in Auckland to launch 2020 – has a tough first round against Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez, and if he survives that, would square off against a fellow Frenchman – either Gilles Simon or record three-time Montpellier champion Richard Gasquet.

It’s an extremely open section and Shapovalov will do well to make it out, with either one of Humbert, Simon and Gasquet a great chance to progress to the semi-finals.

Predicted semi-finalist: Simon

Fourth quarter

Projected quarter-final: David Goffin (2) vs Felix Auger-Aliassime (5) – H2H: Never played

Apart from a great semi-final encounter with Andrey Rublev, it hasn’t been a good start to the season for Auger-Aliassime, who lost three of his four ATP Cup matches and was eliminated in the opening round of the Australian Open by qualifier Ernests Gulbis.

Auger-Aliassime has a bye in the first round and could run into the big-serving Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who finished runner-up last in Montpellier, in the second round.

Meanwhile, Goffin – who earned a great win over Rafael Nadal in the ATP Cup but lost in the third round of the Australian Open to Rublev – faces the winner of Henri Laaksonen or Alexander Bublik for a spot in the quarter-finals. Bublik is always capable of the upset, but Goffin should be able to navigate himself to at least the last eight – where Auger-Aliassime or good friend Herbert (who he beat in five sets in Melbourne) will most likely be waiting.

Predicted semi-finalist: Goffin

Semi-finals

Monfils def. Dimitrov
Goffin def. Simon

Final

Monfils def. Goffin

*****

The Open Sud de France is live from Montpellier between February 3-9, 2020.