Four of the world’s top 10 ATP Tour players lead the field at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, with defending champion Gael Monfils joined by Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and David Goffin for the first 500 of the season.
ATP Rotterdam tennis is live from 10-16 February with play starting around 11am local/10am GMT
ATP Rotterdam 500 fast facts:
Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Venue: Rotterdam Ahoy
Surface: Hard (indoors)
Financial commitment: €2,155,295
Defending champion: Gael Monfils
Projected quarterfinal: Daniil Medvedev (1) vs Andrey Rublev (7) (3-0)
A semifinalist in Rotterdam last year before losing to eventual champion Monfils, Medvedev has won three of his seven ATP Tour career titles so far on indoor hard courts. He should be tough to beat in Rotterdam, particularly after a strong start to the season, going 7-2 with a semifinal run at the ATP Cup and a fourth-round finish at the Australian Open.
Medvedev opens against Vasek Pospisil, into the draw as the result of a special exemption as the big-serving Canadian is into the semifinals of the Open Sud de France in Montpellier at the time of writing. Since returning from his latest surgery last July, Pospisil has been looking extremely dangerous and while he has to make a quick turnaround from Montpellier to Rotterdam, he is also clearly in the groove on indoor hard courts, so Medvedev absolutely cannot afford a slow start.
Filip Krajinovic, also an excellent indoor player with a run to the Paris Masters final on his resume as well as a semifinalist (at least) in Montpellier this week could await in the second round, and the bottom section is also stacked. Seventh seed Andrey Rublev has compiled a stunning 11-1 record so far in 2020, winning back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide and making the round of 16 in Melbourne; he’s also a good indoors player, winning the Kremlin Cup in Moscow last autumn.
Rublev looks extremely dangerous, but his first-round opponent is Nikoloz Basilashvili, the current world no. 27 who has won both their matches so far. Whoever wins that one could face the mercurial Alexander Bublik in the second round.
Semifinalist: Medvedev (10/3 @ Ladbrokes to win the tournament)
Projected quarterfinal: Gael Monfils (3) vs Fabio Fognini (5) (4-4)
Monfils’s opponents on the way to the Rotterdam title in 2019 included Goffin, Stan Wawrinka and Medvedev, so the French player had an extremely impressive run to the eighth ATP Tour title of his career, and the fifth on hard courts.
The Rotterdam victory was instrumental in Monfils making his way back into the top 10, and after a solid fourth-round finish in Melbourne, he is into the semifinals of Montpellier at the time of writing, so is making a decent start to 2020.
Monfils will open against Joao Sousa, who is currently on a six-match losing streak, but the intriguing match in prospect is a second-round clash with compatriot Gilles Simon, who has won seven of their nine encounters although they have not met since 2017.
Fifth seed Fabio Fognini is making his Rotterdam debut, and has been handed a very tough opener against powerful Russian Karen Khachanov, with another good indoors player, Dan Evans, waiting in the second round.
Semifinalist: Khachanov (14/1 @ Ladbrokes to win the tournament)
Projected quarterfinal: Roberto Bautista Agut (6) vs David Goffin (4) (3-3)
Runner-up in Rotterdam in 2015, David Goffin is the fourth player in the ABN AMRO WTT draw who will be making a quick transition from Montpellier – the Belgian is in the semifinals, alongside Monfils, Krajinovic and Pospisil.
The Belgian has made a strong start to 2020 with a win over Rafael Nadal at the ATP Cup, although his Australian Open campaign was cut short by Rublev in the third round, but he has a tough first-round opponent in Robin Haase, a powerful ballstriker who will have the support of the crowd. Goffin leads their head-to-head 6-1, but Haase has often taken him the distance. The winner of that one could face Moldova’s Radu Albot – or perhaps, intriguingly, 18-year-old Jannik Sinner, the victor at last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals.
Sixth seed Roberto Bautista Agut is back in Rotterdam for the first time in four years, after an 8-1 start to the season. The very consistent Spaniard has only won one of his titles on indoor hard courts, but should be more than equal to a qualifier in the first round and Adrian Mannarino or Pablo Carreno Busta in the second. He’s on a three-match losing streak vs Goffin, however.
Semifinal: Bautista Agut (12/1 @ Paddy Power to win the tournament)
Projected quarterfinal: Denis Shapovalov (8) vs Stefanos Tsitsipas (2) (3-1)
This might just be the most packed and unpredictable quarter of the draw and should produce some excellent matches from the first round on.
World no. 6 Tsitsipas, who shone so brightly on indoor hard courts at the end of 2019 to win the Nitto ATP Finals, starts off against big-serving Pole Hubert Hurkacz, who won his first six matches of 2020 and should be more than capable of posing problems for the second seed. The winner of that one faces either Benoit Paire or Aljaz Bedene.
Eighth seed Denis Shapovalov suffered a first-round defeat to compatriot Pospisil in Montpellier last week and also went out in the first round of the Australian Open, coming into Rotterdam on a three-match losing streak which might continue as he is set for a duel of one-handed backhands with Grigor Dimitrov in the first round. Dimitrov was a Rotterdam finalist in 2018 but also suffered a first-round defeat in Montpellier, to Gregoire Barrere.
The winner of that one will be facing either Shapovalov’s compatriot Felix Auger-Aliassime, who was ousted in the second round of Montpellier last week, or big-serving Jan-Lennard Struff. It would not be a big surprise to lose Shapovalov, Tsitsipas and Auger-Aliassime in the first round in Rotterdam, which opens up opportunity for Hurkacz, Struff, Paire or Dimitrov.
Semifinalist: Dimitrov (20/1 @ Paddy Power to win the tournament)
Medvedev d. Khachanov
Bautista Agut d. Dimitrov
Medvedev d. Bautista Agut