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Ricky’s Picks And Previews for This Week’s ATP Tennis From Lyon & Geneva • Oh, And Federer Returns

Roger Federer talking to the media during a virtual press conference at the ATP 250 Tennis Geneva Open tournament, in Geneva, Switzerland, 17 May 2021. EPA-EFE/GENEVA OPEN

By Ricky Dimon

This was supposed to be the week immediately preceding Roland Garros, but the season’s second Grand Slam was postponed by seven days as a result of the ongoing coronavirus issues in Paris. That is actually great news for this week’s 250 tournaments in Lyon and Geneva, because players can participate and still get a full week off prior to the French Open. The result is a pair of stellar fields, headlined by Roger Federer’s return in Geneva. Federer is joined in a 28-man field by Denis Shapovalov, Casper Ruud, and Grigor Dimitrov. In Lyon, title contenders include Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Jannik Sinner, and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon

Where: Lyon, France
Prize money
: 419,470 Euros
Top seed: Dominic Thiem
2019 champion: Benoit Paire (not playing)

This should be a fun one from start to finish, because an incredibly deep field for a 250-point event means the unseeded contingent is formidable. Both Aslan Karatsev and Lorenzo Musetti are unseeded, and they have respective first-round showdowns on their hands against Sinner and Auger-Aliassime. Another dangerous floater is an in-form Cameron Norrie, who will go up against Thiem in the second round. Thiem could have to face either Sinner or Karatsev in the quarterfinals, as well, so it is not an easy draw for the top seed.

Tsitsipas has a more favorable path at the bottom of the bracket. The Greek awaits either Tommy Paul or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the last 16 and his nearest seed is a struggling Gael Monfils. Auger-Aliassime and David Goffin are potential semifinal foes for Tsitsipas, but neither one of those challengers is playing great at the moment.

Semifinal picks: Jannik Sinner over Diego Schwartzman and Stefanos Tsitsipas over Felix Auger-Aliassime

Final: Tsitsipas over Sinner

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in action during his men’s singles quarterfinal match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Italy, 15 May 2021. EPA-EFE/ETTORE FERRARI

Gonet Geneva Open

Where: Geneva, Switzerland
Prize money
: 419,470 Euros
Top seed: Roger Federer
2019 champion: Alexander Zverev (not playing)

Federer made a brief comeback two months ago in Doha but has not played since. It was a mixed bag for the 20-time Grand Slam champion in the Middle East, where he battled past Dan Evans but then lost to eventual champion Nikoloz Basilashvili from match point up. Federer will begin his second tournament of the season against Pablo Andujar, who is no stranger to clay but should not be a serious threat if the top seed is anywhere close to 100 percent. Things could get tougher in the quarters against either Marin Cilic or Marton Fucsovics, but Cristian Garin’s withdrawal could end up being a big boost for Federer.

In the bottom half of the bracket, Shapovalov has to be considered the favorite based on his performance against eventual champion Rafael Nadal in Rome (lost from two match points up). Dimitrov and Fabio Fognini are obviously talented enough to hang with the Canadian, but they have no semblance of consistency at the moment. Shapovalov’s QF and SF opponents could end up being Thiago Monteiro (or Laslo Djere) and Reilly Opelka, respectively. Opelka is coming off an improbable run to the Rome semis.

Semifinal picks: Casper Ruud over Roger Federer and Denis Shapovalov over Grigor Dimitrov

Final: Shapovalov over Ruud

Denis Shapovalov of Canada reacts during his match against Dusan Lajovic of Serbia at the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament, in Madrid, Spain, 02 May 2021. EPA-EFE/RODRIGO JIMENEZ

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

Editors Note • Sorry, we are Roger Federer Fans for life. Roger to win in Switzerland.