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Ricky’s picks for this week’s ATP 250 tournaments in Gijon and Florence

Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain in action. EPA-EFE/CAROLINE BLUMBERG

By Ricky Dimon

We are arriving at the middle of October, the time of year when much of the focus is on Nitto ATP Finals qualification. Novak Djokovic clinched his spot by triumphing in Astana this past weekend, meaning only three of the eight places remain (more if someone withdraws). Djokovic joins a current field of Carlos Alcaraz, Rafael Nadal, Casper Ruud, and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

There aren’t a ton of points up for grabs this week with just a pair of ATP 250s on the schedule, but Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Pablo Carreno Busta, and Matteo Berrettini can still boost their chances with good results. Rublev and Carreno Busta are the top two seeds in Gijon, while Auger-Aliassime and Berrettini lead the way in Florence.

Gijon Open

Where: Gijon, Spain
Surface: Indoor hard
Prize money: 612,000 Euros
Top seed: Andrey Rublev

By 250-point standards, the first-ever Gijon Open boasts a stellar field. Along with Rublev and Carreno Busta, Roberto Bautista Agut, Tommy Paul, Andy Murray, and Dominic Thiem are also playing. This could be a good opportunity for Thiem to really start picking up momentum in his comeback from a wrist injury. The Austrian’s two nearest seeds are Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Francisco Cerundolo—not exactly forces on indoor hard courts. In a much tougher top quarter of the draw, Rublev could open against Ilya Ivashka before possibly meeting Paul in the quarterfinals.

In the bottom half of the bracket, Murray has a manageable path that begins with Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on the other side of the net. Bautista Agut is a potential quarterfinal foe for Murray, although the Spaniard will likely have a tough second-rounder on his hands in the form of Sebastian Korda. Carreno Busta, the Montreal champion, has a favorable draw and should be able to treat the home crowd to a deep run this week—potentially even all the way to the title.

Quarterfinal picks: Tommy Paul over Andrey Rublev, Dominic Thiem over Francisco Cerundolo, Andy Murray over Roberto Bautista Agut, and Pablo Carreno Busta over Constant Lestienne

Semifinals: Paul over Thiem over Carreno Busta over Murray

Final: Carreno Busta over Paul

Matteo Berrettini of Italy celebrates. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

UniCredit Firenze Open

Where: Florence, Italy
Surface: Indoor hard
Prize money: 612,000 Euros
Top seed: Felix Auger-Aliassime

Berrettini is No. 15 in the race to Turin, so even 250 points would be a significant help in his effort to make a late charge. The Italian could climb to 12th with a title and especially because both Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev questionable due to injury, 12th is very much in contention. With motivation, a favorable draw, and home-court advantage, Berrettini has every reason to thrive this week in Florence. His nearest seed is Aslan Karatsev, who is in a massive slump, so the second seed should cruise into the semifinals. Maxime Cressy and Alexander Bublik are possible opponents at that stage.

Auger-Aliassime has a more difficult road at the top of the bracket, where he could face Brandon Nakashima in the quarterfinals and either Lorenzo Musetti, Jenson Brooksby, or David Goffin in the semis. It isn’t a great draw for Italians Musetti and Lorenzo Sonego, as they will have to go head-to-head in round two if Sonego wins his opening match against Bernabe Zapata Miralles.

Quarterfinal picks: Felix Auger-Aliassime over Brandon Nakashima, Lorenzo Sonego over David Goffin, Maxime Cressy over Alexander Bublik, and Matteo Berrettini over Tim van Rijthoven

Semifinals: Auger-Aliassime over Sonego and Berrettini over Cressy

Final: Berrettini over Auger-Aliassime

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