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Ricky’s Preview and Picks for This Week’s ATP 250s in Montpellier, Singapore, and Cordoba

Diego Schwartzman of Argentina is the top seed at the Cordoba Open.


By Ricky Dimon

The Australian Open came and went without any complete disasters amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and now the tour keeps trudging ahead with a busy week to end the month of February. While the Australian Open in February is anything but typical, this upcoming week is a normal one when it comes to the second month of the year. There are three 250-point tournaments being played, in Montpellier and Singapore on indoor hard courts and in Cordoba on clay.

Open Sud de France

Where: Montpellier, France
Surface: Indoor hard
Prize money: 262,170 Euros
Points
: 250

Top seed: Roberto Bautista Agut
2020 champion: Gael Monfils (not playing)

Draw analysis: Amazingly enough, only one Frenchman is seeded in Montpellier. Normally this tournament is stacked from top to bottom with representatives from the host nation, but that isn’t the case this time around. The good news for the French contingent is that its best hope this week has a very realistic shot at the title. Ugo Humbert lifted two ATP trophies last year and remains in fine form. Humbert’s draw is not the easiest, but he should like his chances against Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarterfinals and Jan-Lennard Struff in the semis if that’s how things shake out. A more intriguing bottom half of the bracket features David Goffin, Hubert Hurkacz, Jannik Sinner, Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Lucas Pouille, and Sebastian Korda. Tsonga and Korda are going head-to-head in round one, while Sinner and Murray are on a collision course for the second round.

Semifinal picks: Ugo Humbert over Jan-Lennard Struff and Jannik Sinner over Sebastian Korda

Final: Humbert over Sinner

Singapore Tennis Open

Where: Singapore, Singapore
Surface: Hard
Prize money: $300,000
Points
: 250

Top seed: Adrian Mannarino
Defending champion: Inaugural event

Draw analysis: The first-ever Singapore Open is not going to be one for the history books in terms of field quality. Adrian Mannarino’s No. 35 ranking is good for the top seed, and he is followed by John Millman, Alexander Zverev on the list of first-round bye recipients. Radu Albot, Soonwoo Kwon, and Lloyd Harris also enjoy their rare distinctions of being seeded at a main-tour tournament. Needless to say, this title is complete up for grabs; plenty of unseeded floaters will have a shot at it, too. Among them are Alexei Popyrin, Michael Mmoh, and Maxime Cressy. Ernests Gulbis is also making his way back to the main tour, but—like Tsonga—probably can’t be considered a serious contender at this point.

Semifinal picks: Alexander Bublik over Adrian Mannarino and Lloyd Harris over 

Final: Bublik over Harris

Cordoba Open

Where: Cordoba, Argentina
Surface: Clay
Prize money: $393,935
Points
: 250

Top seed: Diego Schwartzman
2020 champion: Cristian Garin (not playing)

Draw analysis: Three weeks later than usual, the Golden Swing is finally here! Stop one is in Cordoba, where plenty of Argentines are kicking off their 2021 clay-court campaigns. The charge is led by No. 1 seed Diego Schwartzman and 2019 champion Juan Ignacio Londero. They could go head-to-head in the quarterfinals. The other Argentines are Federico Delbonis, Federico Coria, Francisco Cerundolo, and a back-from-suspension Nicolas Kicker. If that isn’t enough, the host nation can also root for up-and-coming Serb Miomir Kecmanovic—who just announced his new partnership with coach David Nalbandian. Kecmanovic is in a wide-open bottom half of the draw where the No. 2 seed is a struggling Benoit Paire. It’s hard to see Paire going deep, so someone like Coria, Thiago Monteiro, Jaume Munar, Roberto Carballes Baena, or Thiago Seyboth Wild could take advantage.

Semifinal picks: Diego Schwartzman over Daniel Elahi Galan and Thiago Monteiro over Jaume Munar

Final: Schwartzman over Monteiro

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