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Tennis • Ricky’s Preview And Picks For This Week’s ATP Events In Metz And St. Petersburg

Photo by @Formula_TX via Twitter

Medvedev’s epic summer ends with epic U.S. Open final loss to Nadal

By Ricky Dimon

Daniil Medvedev will not get more than 10 days of rest following his brutal but extremely successful hard-court summer, as the Moscow native will bounce back from a runner-up run at the U.S. Open by playing at home in Russia this week. Medvedev is joined in the St. Petersburg field by Karen Khachanov Borna Coric, and U.S. Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini. In Metz, meanwhile, a strong French contingent includes Benoit Paire, Lucas Pouille, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet, and defending champion Gilles Simon. Not too shabby for a pair of 250-point tournaments as the European indoor hard-court swing begins!

Moselle Open

Where
: Metz, France
Surface: Indoor hard
Top seed: David Goffin
Defending champion: Gilles Simon

A whole host of players are taking their talents from Pouille’s wedding this past weekend (including Pouille, himself) to the indoor hard courts of Metz. Two of them—Pouille and David Goffin—have opening-round byes to give themselves extra recovery time from whatever shenanigans took place. Goffin’s draw is not easy, as he could kick off his campaign against Pablo Carreno Busta before possibly running into Simon. Paire and Gasquet are in line for a second-round meeting, with the winner potentially to face Winston-Salem champion Hubert Hurkacz in the quarters.

Pouille awaits either Antalya champion Lorenzo Sonego or a qualifier for his opener. It is a favorable draw for the fourth seed, although Fernando Verdasco is always dangerous. The bottom half of the bracket is also home to Tsonga, Nikoloz Basilashvili, Jan-Lennard Struff, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, and Ugo Humbert.

First-round upset chance: Pierre-Hugues Herbert over (8) Jan-Lennard Struff. Struff leads the head-to-head series 4-1, but they have not faced each other since 2017 and Herbert won their only previous indoor hard-court encounter. The eighth-seeded German is coming off a successful but long summer and it remains to be seen how much he has left in the tank for the fall swing. Herbert should benefit from home-court advantage in France.

Semifinal picks: Hubert Hurkacz over David Goffin and Ugo Humbert over Fernando Verdasco

Final: Hurkacz over Humbert

St. Petersburg Open

Where
: St. Petersburg, Russia
Surface: Indoor hard
Top seed: Daniil Medvedev
2018 champion: Dominic Thiem (not playing)

Medvedev might be here just for the appearance fee. And who can blame him? The fourth-ranked Russian is one of the biggest names and biggest draws in tennis right now following his ridiculous summer that featured four consecutive finals, including the Cincinnati title. There is no reason (other than money) for him to playing a 250-point tournament so soon after those efforts, and he has already officially qualified for his debut appearance in the Nitto ATP Finals. If Medvedev stumbles early, Berrettini and a similarly in-form Andrey Rublev are more than capable of capitalizing.

On the other side of the draw, Khachanov and Coric are vulnerable as the two competitors with first-round byes. Coric has been struggling physically and Khachanov may have other things on his mind following the recent birth of his first child. Unseeded threats Thomas Fabbiano, Alexander Bublik, and Jannik Sinner all won plenty of matches this summer and could make some noise.

First-round upset chance: Jannik Sinner over (6) Mikhail Kukushkin. Sinner is coming. And soon. The Italian just turned 18 and he is already up to No. 128 in the world. His summer exploits include an epic Wimbledon qualifying loss to Alex Bolt, a Challenger title in Lexington (beat Bolt in the final), and successful qualification at the U.S. Open followed by an entertaining four-set setback against eventual quarterfinalist Stan Wawrinka. Kukushkin is in fine form right now, but he is 1-4 in his last five matches at this event and his one win during this stretch has come via retirement.

Semifinal picks: Andrey Rublev over Adrian Mannarino and Thomas Fabbiano over Jannik Sinner

Final: Fabbiano over Rublev

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

St. Petersburg Open

Singles draw: click here

Doubles draw: click here

Order of play: click here

Moselle Open

Singles draw: click here

Doubles draw: click here

Order of play: click here

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