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Ricky’s Preview and Picks for this Week’s ATP Tennis Tournaments in Estoril and Munich

Alexander Zverev of Germany

By Ricky Dimon

The European clay-court swing continues with a bit of an off week in between two furious stretches of tennis. We just saw Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, and Belgrade come and go with star-studded fields and competitive matches pretty much from start to finish. Soon the schedule will be graced with additional Masters 1000 tournaments in Madrid and Rome. This week it’s Estoril and Munich that are taking center stage. Although the two fields are not exactly stacked relative to the other clay-court events, there is plenty on offer. Denis Shapovalov, Kei Nishikori, Frances Tiafoe, and Carlos Alcaraz headline the Estoril draw, while Alexander Zverev and Aslan Karatsev are among those in action in Munich.

Estoril Open

Where: Estoril, Portugal
Points: 250
Top seed: Denis Shapovalov
2019 champion: Stefanos Tsitsipas (not playing)

Barcelona champion Rafael Nadal may be resting this week, but a strong Spanish contingent is taking its talents to Portugal. Most of the Spaniards are in the top half of the bracket, where Fernando Verdasco and Albert Ramos-Vinolas will go head-to-head in the first round. An in-form Jaume Munar qualified for the main draw and is a real threat to make a deep run. Munar could meet either Alejandro Davidovich Fokina or Pablo Andujar in the last 16. Things probably won’t be easy for the top-seeded Shapovalov, who hasn’t been in great form and isn’t at his best on clay.

On the other side of the bracket, Alcaraz successfully played his way into the field of 28 with a pair of weekend victories. The 17-year-old Spaniard has a blockbuster opener on his hands against Marin Cilic. Whoever wins the Alcaraz-Cilic contest will be on a collision course with Nishikori for the quarterfinals and with second-seeded Cristian Garin in the semis.

Semifinal picks: Albert Ramos-Vinolas over Jaume Munar and Cristian Garin over Carlos Alcaraz

Final: Garin over Ramos-Vinolas

Cristian Garin of Chile.

BMW Open

Where: Munich, Germany
Points: 250
Top seed: Alexander Zverev
2019 champion: Cristian Garin (not playing)

Zverev knows a thing or two about success in 250-point tournaments at home in Germany. He has won four such titles, including two last fall in Cologne and two already at this Munich event (2017 and 2018). The world No. 6 will now try to make amends for last year’s quarterfinal loss to Cristian Garin, who went on to lift the trophy. With Garin playing in Estoril this time around, the door is definitely open for Zverev to capture another title. He is in a weaker top half of the draw, too. Either Filip Krajinovic or Jan-Lennard Struff could be tough in the semis, but for the most part Zverev should roll.

The bottom half of the bracket is noticeably deeper. It is home to Karatsev, Casper Ruud, Nikoloz Basilashvili, and Sebastian Korda, among others. Karatsev is the hottest player in Munich, but he is coming off a grueling week in Belgrade (lost to Matteo Berrettini in the final in a third-set tiebreaker after upsetting Novak Djokovic on Saturday). The Russian may not be in peak shape for Munich. Ruud is the most consistent clay-courter in this section, so the Norwegian should be in line for a strong result.

Semifinal picks: Alexander Zverev over Jan-Lennard Struff and Casper Ruud over Thiago Monteiro

Final: Zverev over Ruud

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