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Tennis • Ricky’s Preview And Picks For This Week’s ATP 10s In Moscow, Antwerp, And Stockholm

By Ricky Dimon

The ATP Tour is heading from Asia back to Europe for its final stops on the 2019 season, beginning the home stretch in Stockholm, Antwerp, and Moscow. Danill Medvedev is scheduled to get back on the court in front of the home fans in Moscow, while Fabio Fognini, Grigor Dimitrov, Gael Monfils, David Goffin, and Andy Murray are also in action this week.

VTB Kremlin Cup

Where: Moscow, Russia
Surface: Indoor hard
Top seed: Daniil Medvedev
Defending champion: Karen Khachanov

Will Mevedev stay in the draw? Maybe so, as he participated in the most recent 250-point event at home in Russia (St. Petersburg) and won it with ease. He also did not expend too much energy en route to the Shanghai title, refusing to drop a single set the entire way. Moreover, Medvedev won’t have to play in Moscow until Thursday and his week will begin against one of two wild cards ranked outside the top 500. A potential quarterfinal clash could come against the winner of a difficult first-rounder between Andrey Rublev and Alexander Bublik.

Could anyone else in the draw stop Medvedev? Karen Khachanov cannot be discounted, although as the No. 2 seed he would not meet the world No. 4 until the title match. And it may happen, too, because Khachanov’s draw is not especially tough. He could run into Andreas Seppi in the QFs and perhaps Adrian Mannarino in the SFs.

First-round upset possibility: Andreas Seppi over (5) Christian Garin. Now this is an upset (only on paper, of course) that definitely should happen. Garin is at his best on clay, whereas Seppi is a grizzled veteran who has excelled on all surfaces throughout his career. The Italian won a Challenger title and reached the Zhuhai quarterfinals last month.

Semifinal picks: Daniil Medvedev over Jeremy Chardy and Adrian Mannarino over Karen Khachanov

Final: Medvedev over Mannarino

European Open

Where: Antwerp, Belgium
Surface: Indoor hard
Top seed: Gael Monfils
Defending champion: Kyle Edmund

With Alexander Zverev and Matteo Berrettini enjoying big weeks in Shanghai, Goffin has plenty of work to do if he wants to make a return trip to the Nitto ATP Finals. A first title on home soil in Belgium would go a long way in that effort. Seeded second, Goffin should not have much trouble in the early stages of this week before possibly running into either Murray or Diego Schwartzman in the semis. Murray’s draw is a favorable one and he will likely cruise through two rounds before facing Schwartzman in the quarters.

The top half of the bracket is similarly intriguing, headlined by Stan Wawrinka’s first appearance since the U.S. Open. Also in the mix are Monfils, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Frances Tiafoe, Feliciano Lopez, and wild card Jannik Sinner. Among the potential second-round showdowns are Monfils vs. Sinner, Wawrinka vs. Lopez, Tiafoe vs. Jan-Lennard Struff, and Tsonga vs. Gilles Simon.

First-round upset possibility: Lorenzo Sonego over (6) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Like Millman vs. Carreno Busta, the odds of an upset are somewhat long. That being said, Tsonga is extremely inconsistent at this point in his career. Sonego is an all-court player, so it is no sure thing that he is going to be outclassed indoors.

Semifinal picks: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga over Jan-Lennard Struff and David Goffin over Andy Murray

Final: Goffin over Tsonga

Intrum Stockholm Open

Where: Stockholm, Sweden
Surface: Indoor hard
Top seed: Fabio Fognini
2018 champion: Stefanos Tsitsipas (not playing)

Joachim Johansson—yes, that Joachim Johansson—played his way into the Stockholm qualifying draw but ended up withdrawing due to injury. Thus it is up to a much different generation to carry the Swedish flag this week. Both Elias Ymer and Mikael Ymer have wild cards into the main draw, and the latter could make some real noise based on current form. Mikael has captured two straight Challenger titles and has won 12 consecutive matches. However, his path through the Stockholm bracket is not an easy one. It starts with Joao Sousa and could potentially resume with Fernando Verdasco in round two and Denis Shapovalov in the quarters.

The most intriguing first-rounder pits Pablo Carreno Busta against John Millman, with both men playing stellar tennis at the moment. Whoever wins could be on a collision course with Dimitrov for the quarterfinals, while a deep third section of the bracket is home to Taylor Fritz, Dan Evans, Radu Albot, and Yoshihito Nishioka.

First-round upset possibility: John Millman over (5) Pablo Carreno Busta. It probably won’t happen, but at the same time it definitely isn’t out of the question. Both men are in fine form and they have split their two previous meetings. Millman’s fall swing already includes a runner-up performance in Tokyo as a qualifier.

Semifinal picks: Denis Shapovalov over Reilly Opelka and Pablo Carreno Busta over Taylor Fritz

Final: Carreno Busta over Shapovalov

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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