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Tennis News • Ricky’s Picks For This Week’s Tournaments In Stockholm, Moscow, And Antwerp

Alex De Minaur of Australia hits a return to Taro Daniel of Japan on the second day of the US Open Tennis Championships the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, USA, 28 August 2018. The US Open runs from 27 August through 09 September.  EPA-EFE/JOHN G. MABANGLO



By Ricky Dimon


Only three weeks remain on most players’ 2018 calendars, as the European indoor hard-court swing that annually wraps up each season is underway in Stockholm, Moscow, and Antwerp. The top eight, of course, will continue their campaigns through the Nitto ATP Finals in mid-November, and a couple of last-gasp efforts to clinch spots at the O2 Arena are in full effect. Hopefuls include John Isner and Fabio Fognini, who are the top seeds in Stockholm.



Intrum Stockholm Open

Where: Stockholm, Sweden

Points: 250

Top seed: John Isner

2017 champion: Juan Martin Del Potro (not playing)


The NextGen ATP Finals do not take place until next month, but a smorgasbord of up-and-coming talent is on display in the bottom half of the draw. Stefanos Tsitsipas, who owns an opening-round bye as the No. 3 seed, could meet Alex de Minaur in the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Hyeon Chung and Taylor Fritz will square off right away on Tuesday. Chung, Fritz, and Denis Kudla are potential quarterfinal adversaries for Fognini.


In the top half, real opportunities await Sweden’s own Ymer brothers. Elias won his first-round match on Monday now runs into an ice-cold Jack Sock, while Mikael is kicking off his week against a vulnerable and volatile Ernests Gulbis. Isner and Denis Shapovalov are the favorites to make semifinal showings, but Lucas Pouille and Marius Copil could provide some early tests for the No. 1 seed


Semifinal picks: Denis Shapovalov over Marius Copil and Stefanos Tsitsipas over Taylor Fritz

Final: Tsitsipas over Shapovalov



VTB Kremlin Cup

Where: Moscow, Russia

Points: 250

Top seed: Marco Cecchinato

Defending champion: Damir Dzumhur


You will not find a much more imbalanced 250-point draw than this one—not in the past and not in the future. The bottom half boasts Daniil Medvedev, Karen Khachanov, Nick Kyrgios, and Andrey Rublev. Either Kyrgios or Rublev will exit right off the bat because they are going head-to-head in the opening round. Both Medvedev and Khachanov are in red-hot form and will likely collide in an all-Russian semi.


The other side is totally wide open, mainly because seeds Marco Cecchinato and Filip Krajinovic are thoroughly underwhelming. Cecchinato is starting to play more on hard courts and has therefore naturally improved, but he is still close to hopeless on this surface. Krajinovic has been injured for much of the 2018 campaign and continues to slump. Among those who may be able to capitalize are Martin Klizan, Benoit Paire, defending champion Damir Dzumhur, and Shenzhen runner-up Pierre-Hugues Herbert.


Semifinal picks: Damir Dzumhur over Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Karen Khachanov over Daniil Medvedev

Final: Khachanov over Dzumhur



European Open

Where: Antwerp, Belgium

Points: 250

Top seed: Kyle Edmund

Defending champion: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga


With David Goffin out injured, it will be the Frenchmen who basically assume home-court advantage in Antwerp whenever lone Belgian Ruben Bemelman loses. Five players from France find themselves in the main draw, with four capable of making some considerable noise. Gael Monfils is going up against Bemelmans in round one, while fellow injury-plagued showman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has a tough opener on his hands in the form of Guido Pella. Elsewhere in the bottom half, Gilles Simon is on a collision course for the quarterfinals with second-seeded Diego Schwartzman.


Veteran Frenchman Richard Gasquet is already through to the second round as the No. 4 seed. He could not have asked for a friendlier path to the weekend, unlikely to endure any kind of trouble before potentially running into top-seeded Kyle Edmund in the semis. The Brit also has a favorable draw, so it is hard to see anything other than an Edmund-Gasquet semifinal showdown.


Semifinal picks: Richard Gasquet over Kyle Edmund and Milos Raonic over Diego Schwartzman

Final: Gasquet over Raonic


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @TennGrand.

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