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Ricky’s Preview And Picks For This Week’s ATP Tennis in Zhuhai And Chengdu • Andy Murray Playing

Photo by @ChengduOpen via Twitter

By Ricky Dimon

The Andy Murray comeback tour continues as the Asian swing gets started this week in Zhuhai and Chengdu. Murray is in action at the Zhuhai event, which is making its debut on the ATP schedule after taking over from Shenzhen. The 32-year-old Scot is joined in the field by victorious Laver Cup participant Stefanos Tsitsipas, Roberto Bautista Agut, St. Petersburg runner-up Borna Coric, Gael Monfils, and Roberto Bautista Agut. In Chengdu, John Isner, Felix Auger-Aliassime, and U.S. Open semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov are among those taking the court.

Huajin Securities Zhuhai Championships

Where: Zhuhai, China
Prize money: $931,335
Top seed: Stefanos Tsitsipas
Defending champion: Inaugural event

Asian-swing tournaments are often wide open, especially at the 250-point level, and this one is no exception. Murray can make some real noise if a lot of things go right, but his draw is a difficult one. The world No. 413 will play a second consecutive ATP match against Tennys Sandgren, having fallen to Sandgren 7-6(8), 7-5 in the Winston-Salem first round to conclude his hard-court summer. Murray’s path to the semis could also include Coric and Alex de Minaur, while Bautista Agut and Kyrgios are in the other section of the bottom half.

Monfils probably has the best draw of anyone. Following a first-round bye, the recent U.S. Open quarterfinalist will open with Cameron Norrie for possibly facing either Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Miomir Kecmanovic, or Casper Ruud. Tsitsipas is on a collision course with Metz semifinalist Lucas Pouille for the quarterfinals. The seventh-ranked Greek has not won an ATP tournament match since Washington, D.C.

Semifinal picks: Gael Monfils over Lucas Pouille and Alex de Minaur over Roberto Bautista Agut

Final: de Minaur over Monfils

Chengdu Open

Where: Chengdu, China
Prize Money: $1,096,575
Top seed: John Isner
2018 champion: Bernard Tomic (not playing)

Isner indicated earlier in the summer that he may shut down his season after the U.S. Open. Instead, the 6’10’’ American suited up for the Laver Cup and now finds himself in Asia. Isner should be able to win his Chengdu second-rounder against either Egor Gerasimov or Zhe Li before potentially running into Team World teammate Denis Shapovalov. Fernando Verdasco, Pablo Carreno Busta, and Metz semifinalist Benoit Paire are also part of the top half.

It will be especially interesting to see how Auger-Aliassime and Dimitrov fare. Auger-Aliassime has been a disaster since losing at home in Montreal to Karen Khachanov, seemingly bogged down by the wright of a such a long season. The Canadian may have a tough opener on his hands, too, against either Hyeon Chung or Joao Sousa. Dimitrov knows a thing or two about ending slumps, having just made a run to the U.S. Open semis from completely out of nowhere. The Bulgarian does not have an easy draw, opening with an in-form Dan Evans prior to a potential date with an even more red-hot Taylor Fritz.

Semifinal picks: Benoit Paire over Denis Shapovalov and Taylor Fritz over Hyeon Chung

Final: Fritz over Paire

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

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