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Ricky’s Tennis preview and picks for this week’s ATP events in Montpellier, Pune, and Cordoba

Alexander Zverev returns to action in Montpellier. EPA-EFE/DEAN LEWINS

By Ricky Dimon

Tennis never stops. The Australian Open came to an epic conclusion on Sunday and now the February swing is already underway. We have a trio of tournaments this week on three different surfaces: outdoor hard, indoor hard, and clay.

Here are my picks for Montpellier, Pune, and Cordoba.

Open Sud de France

Where: Montpellier, France
Surface: Indoor hard
Top seed: Alexander Zverev
Defending champion: David Goffin

Montpellier boasts an impressive field led by Alexander Zverev, Roberto Bautista Agut, and Gael Monfils. Zverev and Monfils are on a collision course for the semifinals in the top half of the draw, but the German could have a tough opener on his hands possibly in the form of Ilya Ivashka. Also in the field are veteran Frenchmen Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gilles Simon, and Richard Gasquet. Neither one, however, can be expected to do much damage at this point in time. The host nation should invest its hopes this week in Monfils, Ugo Humbert, and Adrian Mannarino.

Semifinal picks: Alexander Zverev over Soonwoo Kwon and Roberto Bautista Agut over Filip Krajinovic

Final: Zverev over Bautista Agut

Tata Open Maharashtra

Where: Pune, India
Surface: Hard
Top seed: Aslan Karatsev
Defending champion: Jiri Vesely

Much unlike Montpellier, Pune will likely go down as one of the weakest tour-level events of the year. All you needed to know is that Gianluca Mager and Jiri Vesely have first-round byes; Daniel Altmaier and Stefano Travaglia are seeded. At least Aslan Karatsev is in the field, and he has to be considered an overwhelming title favorite. Second seed Lorenzo Musetti has not been playing well since the 2021 French Open and he has never excelled on hard courts in the early stages of his career. Emil Ruusuvuori or Kamil Majchrzak could capitalize in the bottom half of the bracket.

Semifinal picks: Aslan Karatsev over Radu Albot and Emil Ruusuvuori over Kamil Majchrzak

Final: Ruusuvuori over Karatsev

Diego Schwartzman fires up for Cordoba. EPA-EFE/JASON O’BRIEN

Cordoba Open

Where: Cordoba, Argentina
Surface: Clay
Top seed: Diego Schwartzman
Defending champion: Juan Manuel Cerundolo

The Golden Swing is here. It defines the dog days of February, with tournament after tournament left and right but not many big names to speak of. It is true that the quality could come closer to matching the quantity this time around, but that still remains to be seen. Dominic Thiem was supposed to begin his comeback from a wrist injury this week in Cordoba, but he is now out. Juan Martin Del Potro is scheduled to return next week in Buenos Aires, but there is no guarantee there. With Thiem having withdrawn, Diego Schwartzman and Cristian Garin are the cream of the crop in Cordoba. Watch out for youngsters Holger Rune and Sebastian Baez, as well.

Semifinal picks: Cristian Garin over Diego Schwartzman and Holger Rune over Pedro Martinez

Final: Garin over Rune

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.